From high drama to sci-fi dystopias, Vincenzo “Vinnie” Marranghino has shot it all. Known around school for his infectious laugh and epic moustache, the winner of the 2017 LFS Cinematography Award, sponsored by Panalux, sat down with us to discuss his journey to, through and after film school.
“I've always been drawn to photography and I knew I wanted to be a cinematographer. My father worked as a journalist and camera operator for a national TV channel. I was interested in how a feeling encapsulated in an instant could be prolonged over time, and that led me to think about cinema.”
Originally meant to move to the United States after his BA, for which he earned a distinction for a thesis on the semiotics of photography, Vinnie’s father suffered a stroke and he decided to pursue filmmaking at home in Europe. With no on-set experience at the time, Vinnie opted for the London Film School to learn and practice many of the key aspects of filmmaking from the ground up. His theory of this approach to studying film is clear, “I believe you should throw yourself into any possible production. Be an eager learner. Watch films, read about them. Make every experience count. Every little step is a step closer to what you want to achieve.”
Learning and honing his craft over the course of two years, Vinnie has travelled extensively with his work, shooting in countries such as Turkey, South Korea, Guatemala, China and the USA, “I've been to places that I couldn't even imagine visiting because of the people I worked with at the LFS”.
Winning the Panalux prize for shooting Oscar Zhang’s graduation film, 'Following', his first as a cinematographer, Vinnie says the experience was far from a walk in the park. He states, “We shot 3 full cards of material of a kid riding a motorbike… he only learned how to ride after that. The whole experience was kind of surreal. Apart from a few members of the crew who were LFS colleagues, the rest of the crew was local. Sometimes things were lost in translation. The shoot was tough but we all believed in the story and knew it would all be worth it. It really was and I am very proud of the finished product.”
When we asked how he navigates difficult shoots, Vinnie was clear on the importance of teamwork and trusting your colleagues but also in self-belief and motivation: “There are a few people who I work with very often and they have been a gift to me. I think that trusting them has helped every production I was on. I also learned to ask myself if what you are doing is the best thing for the film and the shoot, I think that's very important”.
Since graduating, Vinnie has spent time in Guatemala shooting his first feature as a cinematographer; fellow LFS graduate Sebastian Lojo’s 'Los Fantasmas'. He has also been in meetings for commercial work and is in preproduction on another short written by another LFS colleague, Julien Testa.
The Panalux prize will no doubt bring great exposure to Vinnie’s work, as it gave him “a vague idea that probably I was on the right track”.
We asked for Vinnie’s last words of advice for those thinking about trying their hand at filmmaking and his answer was pure and simple: “Work, work, work.”
You can contact Vinnie and check out his work at http://www.vmcinematography.com. You won’t be disappointed!
Photo courtesy of (top to bottom): Niwa Den (2018), Zhannat Alshanova (2018), Vincenzo Marranghino (2018)
Written by Adam Robinson