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Thomas Hutteau’s Future Looks Bright in the Film Industry

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Currently based out of Manhattan, New York, French filmmaker Thomas Hutteau has become a prominent figure in the filmmaking business. He is a Cinematographer, or what some would refer to as the Director of photography and Steadicam operator. His first feature film Memories of the Years, was screened at the Saint Andre des Arts in Paris in 2019. Since then, he’s worked on several different projects, from commercials and music videos to short films and feature films.

The filmmaker attended ESRA, an International Film School in France, where he majored in photography. Having no prior connections to this industry, he chose this school in particular because he knew it was the best way to learn about film. “I knew this path would lead me to hands-on training and internships,” he shares. “I needed to learn about the intricacies of filmmaking and gain technical skills.”

Along with his passion for film and photography, he gathers inspiration from the people he meets on set. “Every day is completely different,” he explains. “The set, the people, and the content created, it’s all new.” Thomas’s day consists of reading screenplays and determining how to make a director’s vision become a reality. “I spend a lot of time thinking about lighting, angles, framing, and how I can capture the mood on camera,” he explains. “I also spend a great deal of time in post-production editing the film.”

Because Thomas works closely with so many different directors, he must collaborate and understand several different creative approaches to capture their vision. “I spend a lot of time researching locations, lighting, and prospective film sites,” he explains. “I then have to think about the equipment I will need for those takes.” The Cinematographer then visits locations and takes test shots to show the images to the director, giving his professional input on angles, film stock, framing, equipment, lighting, and techniques he will use to create the desired atmosphere of the film.

There seems to be a lot of creative control. “Yes, there are times when I need to approve everything from costumes to make-up and hair, as well as the palette used on the set,” Thomas explains. “Some directors have everything figured out, while others require more input, it just depends on the director.” He continues, “I’ve even been invited to some casting rehearsals.” Most of the time, there are others in the production crew to talk shop with regarding decisions.

Talking shop is how Thomas continues to discover more about the industry and make connections. “I’ve formed lifelong relationships with people on set,” he shares. “Not just connections.” He continues, “It seems like I form a new friendship at every job, which I am very grateful for.” They say that this industry is all about who you know. “Yes, that’s correct, but working closely with other individuals in a creative capacity just facilitates these kinds of relationships, he explains. “People in the crew and onset usually share the same hopes and ambitions as you, so it’s effortless to connect on that level.”

“My overall long-term goal is to just work on full-length films,” Thomas shares. “My desire to work on feature films is what brought me to this industry.” That’s not to say he doesn’t want to shoot commercials or music videos. “Music videos are really fun,” he emphasizes. “I love being in the presence of an artist or musician and helping them convey a certain message and style.” Thomas sees his future as a Cinematographer continuing to grow as he helps other creatives achieve their artistic vision. 

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