Living the dream

Meet The New Wave / JP Caldeano

Living the dream

Meet The New Wave / JP Caldeano

Filmography (so far):
Features: Goitacá (2016), Hush Hush (2016, second unit DP), Guardians (2016, second unit DP). Shorts: Quetzal (2016), Pas De Deux (2015)

When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?
I've always been the creative one in the family. I came to London when I was 23 to learn about filmmaking. I was happy being a runner on a big film and to go back to tell my parents I worked on something big. When I worked at ARRI I met amazing people who always supported my craziness and showed me most of the things I know today. My first time on a film set was when my friend Mike Rosário took me to a 007 Stage at Pinewood. Since then it became an obsession for life to be a cinematographer.

Where did you train?
I worked at ARRI UK for about eight years, first as a camera floor technician, then as crew support technician, and had the pleasure to work with the best professionals in the industry. Missing the creative side, I went to do a masters degree in cinematography at the MET Film School at Ealing Studios, where my mentors included Nic Morris BSC, Robin Vidgeon BSC, Mike Fox BSC, Philip Sindall ACO and the late Sue Gibson BSC.

What are your favourite films and why?
City Of God (2002, dir. Fernando Meireles, DP César Charlone) and Blood Diamond (2006, dir. Edward Zwick, DP Eduardo Serra)... I love their magical contrast and colourful cinematography. Prisoners (2013, dir. Denis Villeneuve, DP Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC) is simply stunning – the acting, composition, everything is very well executed.

What's the best advice you were ever given and from whom?
Anthony Dod Mantle once said to me, “JP, you can have a small location...but if you have good actors, nice lighting and a good script... then you can have an amazing story.” Also, my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Who are you DP/industry heroes?
Remi Adefarasin OBE BSC is a great human being. He showed me around the set of Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism and took me through his lighting. He has a huge sense of humour. His cinematography on Elizabeth (1998, dir. Shekhar Kapur) is stunning.

Anthony Dod Mantle DFF ASC BSC gave me advice without knowing it while I was working for ARRI. For him it was probably a simple two-minute conversation in the corridor, but for me it was much more than that. Slumdog Millionaire (2008, dir. Danny Boyle), Rush (2013, dir. Ron Howard), 127 Hours (2010, dir. Danny Boyle) and Dogville (2003, dir. Lars von Trier) have been very inspirational films for me.

Eduardo Serra AFS ASC, not simply because he is Portuguese, but I think he is an amazing professional with movies such as Blood Diamond and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (2011, dir. David Yates).

César Charlone ABC shot my favourite films of all times City Of God (2002, dir. Fernando Meireles), and The Constant Gardner (2005, dir. Fernando Meireles).

"When I worked at ARRI I met amazing people who always supported my craziness and showed me most of the things I know today."

- JP Caldeano


Have you won any awards or received any nominations?
I've had the normal official selection in a dozen of festivals, and had three films at Cannes but didn't receive any awards or nominations yet.

What's your proudest moment?
Being invited by DP George Richmond BSC to be camera operator on a Carlsberg commercial alongside Tim Wooster and an amazing crew. They’re exceptional talents, and being trusted by them was an honour and a reward in itself.

What have been your best/worst moments on set?
Best: I once worked with a female director who was worried about not finishing her film due to weather conditions. She was funding the project and was stressed. We went away for ten minutes to chat about what shots we could lose to make it work. I think I acted a bit like a psychologist to calm her down and bring her confidence up. In the end we hugged and cried together under a tree and both said, “We can do this!” Then we laughed and went back to finish the film, which turned out to be a success. We promised each other that we would never reveal this to anyone. So I won't mention any names.
Worst: I was shooting Goitacá in the jungle in Brazil, and got an allergic reaction on my foot after being bitten by massive mosquitos about 30 times. I could barely walk, but I kept shooting.

Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?
Working on a scene that involved drugs and gangsters, I decided to try to lighten the mood of the crew by cutting out a section of a porn magazine, which was used as one of the props. I attached this to the clapper loader's back, which he wasn't aware of, and this caused a lot of amusement amongst the crew.

Hush Hush
Hush Hush

Away from work, what are your greatest passions?
My family, the beach and friends.

What one piece of kit could you not live without?
My light meter.

What's the weirdest place you've ever shot in?
México City, it was scary in the beginning after hearing all the gang stories, but at the same time it was exciting.

Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?
Give me lemons and I can make the best Caipirinha.

What are your current top albums?
Radiohead “OK Computer”. Foo Fighters “One by One”. Everything by Ludovico Einaudi and Hans Zimmer.

Can you tell us your greatest extravagance?
Investing in property.

Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?
Serious. Articulate. Perfectionist.

If you weren't a DP, what would you be doing now?
Possibly being a lifeguard, because I love being on the beach.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I would love to shoot a big blockbuster feature film before I hit 40, or at least be a camera operator on a big feature.