Martin Žiaran, ASK

ASK master class - visuality and functionality of pictures

Martin Žiaran is one of the most successful Slovak cinematographers of today. In 2015, he won ASK Kamera Prize, awarded biannually, in the Live-action Film category for his work on The Cleaner, a film directed by Peter Bebjak. A Czech film Hany earned him a prize at Goldeneye, an international festival of movie and TV cinematographers, in Tbilisi, as well as the Czech Film critics' Award for Best Cinematography. Hany was filmed using three 25-minute shots, which looks like one single shot. This master class is co-organized with ASK (Association of Slovak Cinematographers)

"Although it might seem obvious, it is not. The visual concept should be based on the director's and that's why I think the middle course is the best. When preparing a film, it is good if the director sits down with the cinematographer to figure out what the visual should look like."

Martin Žiaran started out as an assistant cinematographer in the Slovak Television. Later on, he started to study cinematography at the Academy of Performing Arts under supervision of Professor Ján Ďuriš. He received several awards for short films, including Monštrancia, Darkroom, Voices, Cheese, Z ulice. During his studies he collaborated on several feature films as the second cinematographer – Quartetto, Zima kúzelníkov, Prachy dělaj člověka.

"The topic is important. It is essential for my work, too. It is the basis of everything. I have to like the script. Both topic and the literary adaptation have to catch my interest. If a script is attractive for me in this way, it also becomes inspiring. And that is an important moment in its realization. It has to be inspiring for me visually. It does not have to explicitly state that a certain shot has to be taken in a car with the sun setting in the background. But I like when the mood is described, it can appear in the dialogue. If the mood can be deduced from the dialogue, it becomes the basis for the visual concept."

The first feature film, on which Žiaran worked alone as cinematographer, was Apricot Island directed by Peter Bebjak. He also cooperated with Bebjak on several television series such as Odsúdené, Ako som prežil, Nevinní or Doktor Ludsky. Their latest common film was The Cleaner, for which Martin Žiaran won the prize ASK Kamera 2015. At the moment, they are working together again on a project entitled The Line. Žiaran have also worked with one of th most famous Czech directors - Jan Hřebejk on TV series Případ pro exorcistu and also feature film The Teacher