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The universal appeal of cinematographer Tigran Mutafyan
This lauded cinematographer has a list of diverse acclaimed films to prove his truly universal appeal and ability.

Cinematographer Tigran Mutafyan has a way of looking at things that other professionals in the film community respect and admire. That might seem like a somewhat redundant statement as a DP's role is centered on visual storytelling but there's more than this obvious factor that makes Tigran so sought after.

This Armenian born talent has an element to his approach that is universal in its appeal. While possessing his own signature style, he is simultaneously able to manifest imagery which translates to international audiences, as proven by his work in award-winning productions like ZoyaThis MuchCara, and others. His abilities have been utilized by Chinese filmmakers as well as American artists like will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. His peers and his employers often refer to Tigran with the moniker visual storyteller because it aptly refers to his ability to do so much more than simply capture images. Simply put, this cinematographer is able to retain his own style but tailor it to perfectly complement any tale that he is part of telling.

It's indisputable that filmmaking is an international endeavor in current times. Studios take great pains to include aspects that appeal to a worldwide box office of cultural diversity. Understanding and possessing this idea at a foundational level is optimal for any film professional. Filmmaker Eddie Liu's credits include The Mummy (Brendan Frasier), Mission Impossible IIIThe Forbidden Kingdom, and The Karate Kid (2010).

Concerning Mutafyan's work as DP on his film Dragon Scale, Liu declares, "I have found my cinematographer and partner in creating great valuable movies for the Chinese and International audiences. Among the top cinematographers I've worked with, Tigran is the best; so talented yet so humble, and on a constant quest to push himself to new levels." Currently in postproduction but soon to be released, Dragon Scale is a POV film that required some very inventive camera work.

The cinematographer describes, "There is a scene in which the hero's state changes dramatically. Following an attempted poisoning, he tries to escape. I wanted to make this a long shot to convey his very weak condition while passing through obstacles. I decided to follow the hero as he is attacked by a duo of bad guys and then fights over a bike, eventually escaping…all in a single shot. The stairs where very small so I asked the camera operator to start the shot from the second floor and pass the camera to me on the first floor in order to continue the rest of the shot. The distance was so high that I couldn't get the camera from the second floor. I asked the stunt people if they could help to pass the camera from the camera operator on the second floor to me. Because the stunt people couldn't keep the right framing, we put the camera on ropes and controlled it like a marionette. The stunt team was from JC stunt team (Jacky Chan) and they did great job safety and timing wise."

A cinematographer can sometimes be asked to perform miracles. Such was the case when Tigran served as DP on the film Super Density, released on Youku (China's version of Netflix) in 2018. One of the film's prominent locations was in a real museum. At the end of the day's shooting, the director informed his cinematographer that they had forgotten to capture one important shot which takes place in the daytime. The catch? The production had one hour to clear out before the real life museum opened its doors for business! Lacking the time to bring the full lighting back, Tigran improvised by using different diffusion papers and clothes and created a fake perspective for the background, placing it close to the character but faking this as the windows and other shapes on the background. LED lights were added to brighten it up and create a sense of daytime.

Awards are part of the recognition that directs attention to exemplary work. There have been many of these for productions which Tigran has been a part of including: This Much (Best Cinematography at Rahway International Film Festival and nominated for Best Cinematography at Women's Independent Film Festival), Cara (awards at the Best Shorts Competition, IndieFEST Film Awards, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards), and others. While these accolades have increased his notoriety with the public, Tigran Mutafyan's reputation within the film community is well established and continues to find him employed amongst the most creative artists in the industry.

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