Angénieux, world-renowned optical manufacturer and flagship of the French industry for over eighty years, will pay tribute to a great name of photography during an exceptional evening opened by Thierry Frémaux, Delegate General of the Cannes Film Festival and presented by French journalist Charlotte Lipinska.

The PIERRE ANGÉNIEUX TRIBUTE ceremony is a unique event during which the experts of the world’s image – without whom cinema would not exist – are celebrated. Angénieux has been an official partner of the Cannes Film Festival since 2013. For the tenth year of the Pierre Angénieux Tribute, the prominent Barry Ackroyd, whose career spans over thirty years, from the author’s film to the mainstream films, was chosen to receive this prestigious tribute.

Barry Ackroyd Photo by Francois Duhamel.

A documentary and shoulder-camera enthusiast, he has lit twelve Ken Loach films, won multiple awards and nominations, including the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography for Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker in 2008, and collaborated four times with Paul Greengrass. He succeeds Philippe Rousselot (AFC*, ASC*) in 2013, Vilmos Zsigmond (HSC*, ASC) in 2014, Roger A. Deakins (BSC*, ASC) in 2015, Peter Suschitzky (ASC) in 2016, Christopher Doyle (HKSC*) in 2017, Edward Lachman (ASC) in 2018, Bruno Delbonnel (AFC, ASC) in 2019, Agnès Godard (AFC) in 2021 and Darius Khondji (AFC, ASC) in 2022.

Additionally, to the tribute that will be given to him on Friday, May 26, Barry Ackroyd will give a Masterclass on Thursday, May 25 in the morning, moderated by journalist Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)

Barry Ackroyd was born in 1954 in Oldham, an industrial town in northern England, where he grew up. He says his life changed when he saw Andrzej Wajda’s film Kanal (about the Warsaw uprising) on television in 1956. “It just opened up my mind. It’s like falling in love. As an 11 or 12 year old, your heart starts racing.” Then, as a teenager, he saw Ken Loach’s Kes (1969) on its original release and recognised its characters as kindred spirits. (« I was like children in the film ») and the film impresses him strongly. Twenty years later, he met Ken Loach and became his regular cinematographer for twelve films, first by shooting some of his documentaries, then in what will be Ackroyd’s first fiction feature film, Riff-Raff (1991), until The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Their intuitive relationship was rewarded with a special ‘Best Duo’ award at the 2002 Camerimage Film Festival and with a European Film Award for Ackroyd’s contribution to The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Encouraged by his art teacher, Ackroyd originally intended to become a sculptor but while studying Fine Arts at Portsmouth Polytechnic, he discovered the 16mm film which made him fork towards the image.

His career as cinematographer began on television, which he never really left, mainly in documentaries. The first one, in 1986, is Jim Henson’s documentary Inside the Labyrinth, starring David Bowie. He kept on working on documentaries, especially with Nick Broomfield, but also on feature films for Carine Adler, Steven Poliakoff, Dominic Savage and others. He prioritized the use of the hand-held camera, the obtrusive grain of the 16mm, naturally-lit. To give the actors a little more freedom during the scenes, he tends to avoid putting in place specific marks or lights that could influence the movements and natural reactions of the actors in the scene but favors the many cameras.

He collaborated twice with the writer-director pairing of Jimmy McGovern and Charles McDougall on the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster and the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland drew the attention of Paul Greengrass to hire him on United 93. For the latter, Ackroyd met the challenge of filming a 20-minute large-scale action scene in almost pitch darkness. Their collaboration then continues with Green Zone (2010), Captain Phillips (2013) and Jason Bourne (2016). The near-simultaneous release of United 93 and The Wind that Shakes the Barley brought Ackroyd to Kathryn Bigelow’s attention. They collaborated for the first time on The Hurt Locker in 2008, then on Detroit in 2017 and on a film for television in 2011, The Miraculous Year.

In addition to paying tribute to an already established career of a director of photography, Angénieux wants to highlight the promising work of a young talent in cinematography. This is why since 2018 the ANGÉNIEUX SPECIAL ENCOURAGEMENT is given to a young hope in the field of cinematography. Thus, during this exceptional evening, the young Egyptian director of photography Haya Khairat will be given a special endowment allowing her to use the best of Angénieux technology for the images of her next project. Cinematographer, photographer and director Khairat was born in 1995 and studied at the Cairo High Institute of Cinema.

Featured Photo by Mark Mainz.