May 27, 2017

Chressanthis headed to Russia and Mongolia

By Bob Fisher James Chressanthis, ASC will be traveling to Vladistock and Moscow, in Russia, and to Mongolia in September and October, where he will be screening his extraordinary documentary “No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo and Vilmos” at American embassies and other venues, including film festivals. The documentary that Chressanthis produced and directed chronicles the lives and careers of legendary cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs, ASC and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC. The screenings are part of the American Documentary Showcase, a cooperative venture sponsored by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State and the University Film & Video Association. Chressanthis produced and directed this remarkable documentary as an act of passion. His narrative cinematography credits include “The Ghost Whisperer” television series, and the award-winning telefilms “Four Minutes,” “Living Proof, 3: The Dale Earnheart Story,” “The Reagans” and “The Music Man.” Chressanthis met Kovacs and Zsigmond during the dawn of his career. Kovacs taught a workshop at AFI while Chressanthis was a student there. He subsequently interned with Zsigmond during the production of “The Witches of Eastwick” in 1987. Chressanthis began producing the documentary in 2007 on the 50th anniversary of Kovacs and Zsigmond arriving in the United States as political refugees in the wake of the Russian army brutally crushing an uprising against the communist regime in Hungary, their native land.

He conducted some 70 interviews with filmmakers, including Karen Black, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Barbara Streissand, family members, journalists and critics, and artfully weaved their insights with commentaries by Zsigmond and Kovacs sharing memories and scenes from a cross-section of their films. “No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo and Vilmos” premiered at The Cannes Film Festival in 2008. It subsequently played at other festivals around the world and aired nationally on PBS stations in 2009. In addition to the screenings and question and answer sessions at the embassies and film festivals, Chressanthis will conduct workshops with filmmakers in Mongolia and Russia. Project Director Betsy McLane says that “No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo and Vilmos” was one of 26 documentaries out of some 150 contenders chosen for the 2010 Showcase.

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About Bob Fisher

Bob Fisher was born and raised in Brooklyn. He earned a journalism degree from Long Island University, and began his career as a cub reporter at the New York Herald Tribune. Fisher was drafted into the U.S. Army in mid-1958. He served for two years as a journalist at an army base in Anniston, Alabama.That experience gave him a different view of the world. Several weeks before he was scheduled to complete his military obligation, Fisher answered an ad for a six-month job in Los Angeles writing a book based on interviews with members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Fisher had no idea what cinematographers did. The attraction was getting to see Los Angeles. Fisher estimates that he has subsequently written between 3,000 and 4,000 magazine articles about cinematographers and other narrative and documentary filmmakers. He is one of seven living honorary members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Four of the others are astronauts.

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