Internationally renowned cinematographer Colin Akoon lends his creative vision to the upcoming film "The Body Tree"
Online PR News – 17-May-2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Canadian cinematographer Colin Akoon, who is known for his work on the films “Incident(s) at Paradise Bay,” “The Gay Who Wasn’t Gay Enough” and the feature documentary “The Flying Stars,” recently wrapped production on the upcoming thriller film “The Body Tree.”
Riddled with suspenseful twists and turns, the film follows a group of young Americans who travel to Siberia to honor their murdered friend, but their trip to the mysterious country quickly turns from an intended memorial into a fight to stay alive when they realize that the murderer may be among them.
Directed by Thomas Dunn, the writer and director behind the film “The Ungodly,” which earned a nomination for the Best Film Award from the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival, "The Body Tree" brings together an all-star cast comprised of Erica Dasher from "Jane by Design," Emma Dumont from the NBC series "Aquarius" and Costa Ronin from FX’s “The Americans.”
Produced by FishCorb Films ("Murder on the 13th Floor," "Dark Desire," "Our Little Secret") in collaboration with Invada Films ("All at Once") "The Body Tree" is expected to be released in the U.S. this summer. “The Body Tree,” a Russian co-production, is slated to have a theatrical release in Russian-speaking territories slated for later this year as well.
“When I began hiring crew for my newest film, ‘The Body Tree,’ my primary focus was to bring on the best cinematographer possible. The film was unusual in that it was an ensemble piece with as many as eleven characters, sometimes in the same room exchanging rapid-fire dialogue,” says Thomas Dunn.
“I was looking for a director of photography with an exceptional eye, a unique visual sense and a strong work ethic. Colin’s abilities stood out. From our initial meet-and-greet before he was hired to our ongoing meetings to discuss concept, to our weeks of principle photography, Colin had a clear sense of the style, tone and ‘feel’ of the film I wanted to make... In short, he is a rare talent.”
An expert when it comes to creating the perfect shots and lighting to set the emotional tone of a story, Akoon’s work as the cinematographer of “The Body Tree” endowed the film’s visual story with palpable intensity as the characters find themselves in progressively dangerous situations. His brilliant use of the camera drives the pace of urgency within the story keeping us engaged throughout the film.
"Thomas Dunn put together a very talented cast of young actors, and directed their performances superbly. The resulting film is a great character piece that transcends the cliche of the ‘cabin in the woods’ horror genre" says Akoon.
“We had a cast of almost a dozen actors, that’s a lot of coverage to accomplish in a short number of days. Despite all the challenges I believe we made an engaging character driven thriller full of great performances by a fantastic cast of actors.”
As the cinematographer behind several other dramatic thrillers such as award-winning director Mateo Guez’s "Together Alone" and Lorne Hiltser’s "The Incident(s) at Paradise Bay," which was awarded at the Las Vegas Film Festival and was chosen as an Official Selection of the Cincinnati Film Festival, the Milledgeville Film Festival and others, Akoon's adept skill at creating the kind of visual language that keeps us on the edge of our seats is known throughout the international entertainment industry.
“Good cinema for me is when the lights go down and the projector sparks, and for the next couple hours life outside the theatre is forgotten and the only reality is what’s on the screen,” explains Akoon.
Last year Akoon was tapped as the cinematographer on the music video for international rap sensation Booba's song "Validee" featuring Benash. The video, which currently has over 11 million views on YouTube, depicts Booba and Benash as two high level operatives of a Columbian drug cartel.
"The director wanted the feel of this video to be very cinematic, a mini movie in itself," explains Akoon. "We travelled to Medellin, Columbia, the home of Pablo Escobar, in search of authentic locations as backdrop to our story."
The video's opening sequence begins with a wide shot over cement stacked barrios in a valley surrounded by mountains immediately pulls us into the urban underworld of Columbia’s notorious drug dealing economy set against a backdrop of poverty. Through close-ups into the eyes of young children and scenes of long stairways lined with vagrant looking individuals with heads hung low to the cartel operatives who appear strong, ego-driven and covered in bling, Akoon achieves the perfect visual balance portraying the two worlds as one. Akoon’s highly cinematic shots and intuitive sequencing make “Validee” come across like a film story rather than a music video.
Regardless of whether he is working as the cinematographer on a feature film, commercial or any other format, Akoon's reputation for creating captivating sequences that pull us into the story as it unfolds on screen is unparalleled, so naturally, he was the first choice to head the camera department for the popular video. In fact, after the success of the Booba feat Benash video, Akoon was tapped to shoot the music videos for Booba’s hit songs “92i Veyron,” and “Comme les autres." Thanks in no small part to Akoon’s engaging cinematography, these three videos have garnered international attention and over 30 million views on YouTube.
In addition to the upcoming release of “The Body Tree,” Akoon recently wrapped production on Justin G. Dyck’s family adventure film “Forrest Fairies” and is currently in talks to shoot another film with “The Body Tree” director Thomas Dunn.