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Moving from project to project with ease, cinematographer Colin Akoon
In order to make audiences feel like they're part of a film, create a connection between them and the characters on the screen, and capture the perfect tone and aesthetic, a director needs the help of a great cinematographer. Such a director would be hard-pressed to find a more exceptionally talented candidate than Colin Akoon. Prolific and widely-acclaimed, Akoon's award-winning work makes him a much sought after director of photography.
When directors Ngardy Conteh and Allan Tong set out to make the 2014 documentary "The Flying Stars," Akoon was their natural choice as the project's cinematographer. The film tells the inspirational story of the titular Flying Stars soccer team, which is comprised of amputees from civil war-ravaged Sierra Leone.

"It was amazing to see the players in action. The speed and agility they possessed - their disabilities did not slow them down. But the camera was always on the sidelines on a long lens," Akoon said. "I wanted to put the audience on the field, right in the middle of the action. I thought it was very important, in this documentary, for the audience to experience the players' work as intimately as possible."

Because it was filmed on location in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Akoon decided to use the setting's natural lighting to further immerse audiences in "The Flying Stars."

Few cinematographers can move from one type of project to another as seamlessly as Akoon. He is a master of all trades, equally as adept when working on documentaries and dramas as he is on comedies and commercials. Some cinematographers choose to focus on one or two genres; for Akoon the excitement lies in the variety of his projects, and in finding the perfect approach to every production.

That unmatched ability to adapt to any project is what earned Akoon the director of photography position on "Space Riders: Division Earth," the hilarious series directed by Jordan Canning.

"The series is a take-off of the popular 'Power Rangers' series, where talented youths are chosen to don special powered-space suits in order to battle intergalactic crime," Akoon described. "Except on our series, two dumbfounded man-children are mistakenly chosen as the new heroes that will defend earth from numerous space villains."

A riotous send-up of that after-school cult favorite, "Space Riders: Division Earth" could not have been a more different project from the uplifting tearjerker "The Flying Stars." In addition to being a semi-improvised comedic homage to a 90s TV phenomenon, it also demanded a very different approach by Akoon in respect to both filming and lighting.

"The space age 'Zoided' suits worn by our main cast were a big factor as far as lighting considerations went - gold and silver shiny suits, respectively," he said, explaining the lighting challenges he faced and the short time in which he had to solve them.

That constant challenge might have been too much for many less-experienced cinematographer, but not for Akoon. The incredible work he did as the series' director of photography is apparent in every frame of "Space Riders: Division Earth." The series, which aired in 2014, has been compared to the Australian cult favorite "Danger 5" and has gained a wide following since it became available on Hulu.

Going where few cinematographers dare to go, Akoon has never been one to be pigeonholed in any one genre. Some people only work inside their personal comfort zone, others only work outside of it. Colin Akoon is truly unique among his peers. Nothing is outside of his comfort zone.

He is talented, experienced, adaptive and driven beyond compare - and whether you're watching a heartfelt documentary like "The Falling Stars," or a comedic series like "Space Riders: Division Earth," Akoon's skill shines through in every frame.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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