Courtesy of Focus Features, the New York Film Academy held a screening Monday evening of the new Gus Van Sant film, Promised Land, starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski. In the film, Damon plays a corporate salesman who is sent along with his partner, Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), to close a key struggling rural town in his company’s expansion plans. The job becomes complicated for the two when a respected local schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook), Damon’s love interest (Rosemarie DeWitt), and a supposed environmentalist (John Krasinski) campaign against drilling in their local town. Promised Land explores America and the environmental compromises we tend to make in the face of big business.
Following the screening, we tried something new. Our guest of honor, Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, joined us on the big screen via Skype from his home in Los Angeles. Linus was incredibly giving and patient with our new experiment, detailing his career from film school in Sweden to working with major directors like Gus Van Sant. Surprisingly, the Good Will Hunting director is very quiet on set. Gus preps so well during pre-production, that the entire crew is well prepared during production.
“We wanted to capture authentic America,” said Sandgren. “Gus gave me one image. A Stephen Shore photo and I would analyze and think about it, then come back with ideas for the look.” If Linus was basing his imagery on a Stephen Shore image, he nailed it.
Linus is currently working with Oscar Nominated Director, David O. Russell on a film to be shot in Boston.
We want to sincerely thank Linus for allowing us to pick his brain via Skype and Focus Features for providing us with the 35mm print to screen!