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Artful cinematography by Gavin Kelly

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BY BOB FISHER
Put “The Dry Land” on your must see list if you are going to be at Sundance. The film will premiere there on January 24th. Artful cinematography by Gavin Kelly will take you on an intimate journey with a stressed out soldier who returns from the battlefields of Iraq to his family and friends in a small town in Texas.

Kelly is a rising star in the galaxy of cinematographers. Woody Omens, ASC and Judy Irola, ASC were among his mentors while he earned an MFA degree in the film studies program at USC in 2004. Kelly earned an honorable mention in the 2005 American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards student film competition.

He and The Dry Land writer/ director Ryan Piers Williams share a passion for music as well as film. Kelly played the guitar with bands. During their earliest conversations, Kelly and Williams agreed to produce the film with a handheld Super 16 camera that was sometimes moving in a 360 degree arc.

It was an aesthetic as well as a budget decision. Panavision provided an Elaine camera and lenses under their New Filmmakers Program. The film has a semi-documentary feeling that puts the audience in the characters’ heads. Tones and contrast in the images feel like music.

The Dry Land has been nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the dramatic film competition. Kelly will share insights and answer questions about The Dry Land during a Fireside Chat seminar at the adjacent Slamdance Film Festival at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 22 at the Treasure Mountain Inn. The other participants are producer Vanessa Hope (Imperialists Are Still Alive) and director/ cinematographer Josh Safdie (Daddy Longlegs) whose films will also premiere at Sundance. The seminar will be moderated by Kodak’s Chris Russo.

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