When asked during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about what attracted him to “Queen Sugar,” cinematographer Antonio Calvache simply states, “two words: Ava DuVernay.” The Oscar-nominated filmmaker (“13th,” “Selma”) created and directed the first two episodes of this series about three siblings (Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe) who move to Louisiana to claim an 800-acre sugar cane farm left to them by their recently deceased father. The show is executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and broadcast on her channel OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
“Queen Sugar” is the cinematographer’s first foray into episodic television (he previously lensed the Lifetime movie “Manson’s Lost Girls”), and he shot all 13 episodes of the first season. “We really wanted to tell this story in a very visual, rich style,” Calvache divulges. DuVernay, who previously directed episodes of “Scandal” and “Nine for IX,” wanted to, “make it look very cinematic” with “very intentional compositions.” The two filmed only what was necessary to tell the story, foregoing “traditional shots, lots of coverage, lots of over-the-shoulder [and] medium shots.”
Calvache is known primarily for his film work, most notably Todd Field‘s Oscar-nominated “In the Bedroom” (2001) and “Little Children” (2006). He has submitted the pilot episode, “First Things First,” for Emmy consideration. Will he receive his first nomination from the TV Academy? Check out our full interview above for more about shooting “Queen Sugar.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.