“For cinematographer Jomo Fray (“NO FUTURE”), the way the camera framed Selah was key to accenting the character’s motivations. He describes the film’s visual design as “Savage formalism.” “It was ‘Savage’ in the way of Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ album,” he says of the hit track, “meaning cold, powerful, brutal and bold.” Fray captures Simone’s magnetic performance by using a Steadicam and often favoring unblinking close-ups.” 

“The meaning of colors was also important in the movie. When he came on board the project, Fray sat down with Poe, production designer Valeria De Felice and costume designer Jami Villers to discuss the film’s look and feel. “We broke down what colors mean in this world,” he explains, noting that each faction had a specific palette. “I’d go off and do color tests,” he says, so that the team could assess what the camera was seeing and make sure there was no distortion in what was being shot.”

“As the film progresses, Selah finds she and Paloma have less in common than she thought. Paloma isn’t set in her ways, and Fray uses a handheld camera to reflect her openness. The DP notes that the handheld also “sneaks in” later when shooting Selah, as she begins to lose control over her position, her leadership abilities and her emotions [with some help from editor Kate Abernathy]. Contrast lighting also supports the master-student dynamic, with darker setups for Selah as she struggles with herself to relinquish power to Paloma.

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