Exclusive Interview with Cinematographer Kara Stephens

26 08 2010

Kara Stephens is a cinematographer who is making quite a name for herself.  She is one of the few female DP’s out there and she was kind enough to discuss her career with me.

We started from the beginning…Kara’s childhood in Sunny Cali.

Kara’s mom understood that life is filled with changes and hiccups along the way.

What was the Santa Cruz experience like?

I know what you’re thinking – Alien?  Nope its a Banana Slug.

But I think you’ll recognize the school more with this picture.

Santa Cruz has had a long history of film/music connections.  THE LOST BOYS was mainly filmed in the City.  Hell Quentin T. doesn’t just reference the school with the shirt above, it’s also brought up in RESERVOIR DOGS.  BUT the thing that stands out the most to me is the that my favorite band PEARL JAM, has a song named Santa Cruz.  Why would the Seattle rockers like SC?  Well like we’ll find out with Kara, SURFING RULES in SC and Eddie Vedder (of PJ) is a die-hard surfer.  But instead of all those fun names how about I let Kara tell you about one of the biggest names she’s worked with.

Tom Arnold, James Cameron and AR-NULD!!

It was on the set of TRUE LIES that Kara would fall in love with a particular part of the film making process.

Not only was Russell DP on True Lies, but a little film called TITANIC.  Russell won the Oscar for Cinematography for that smallish film.  Also he was DP on the highly underrated film, THE NEGOTIATOR, which stars Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson (like how I brought it back to SLJ!!).   Well when your first film is working with Russell you tend to learn a thing or two.

What about her current project out now?

Wow James Cameron then now hanging with Richard Branson.

Lets back things up a bit and talk about Kara’s Television background more.  How about staying on the Discovery Channel line, which is what West Coast Customs show is part of.

Kara talks about the impact that the film THIRTEEN had on her career and surfing is brought up!!!

Kara explains how the buzz around the film, changed things drastically.

Kara discusses another smaller-budget film that really stood out.

Now for something on the avant-garde side of things.

Mike Kelley's new installation, Day Is Done.

The actual exhibit – DAY IS DONE by Mike Kelley.

Now lets talk about Kara’s partner in crime.   When did you meet your wife Nancy Kissam?

Kara has become Nancy’s DP on all of her projects and that included their most recent one.

Check back with PSD on Monday, as we’ll have the conclusion to our Exclusive with Kara Stephens.  We’ll talk more about her successful career and also get more in depth about being one of only a few female DPs in the world.




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