Fast & Dirty - Björn Charpentier (SBC) on "Beirut"

Charpentier Bjorn ( SBC)
@Bleecker Street Media, Lionsgate and Björn Charpentier.

Charpentier (SBC) started working as a cinematographer on commercials and shorts back in 2008. The transition into narrative moviemaking took place seven years later with his feature debut being "Beirut", directed by Brian Anderson (The Machinist)

After four weeks of prep, seven weeks of principal photography commenced in June 2016 for the political thriller that primarily took place in Tangier, Morocco with one day of shooting occurring in Boston. “Shooting 34 days straight was something new to me, but at the same time I always come prepared,” states Charpentier. “The movie has to be made in pre-production so we can execute the shoot more efficiently and still keep an open mind to see if we can make things better.”

Filmmaker Brad Anderson wanted a fast and dirty approach utilizing two cameras. “After we did our scouts, Brad and I talked about a shot list and storyboards; he wanted to create everything onset with the actors in the real surroundings. We knew our strong angles while the rest was created onset.”

Bjorn Charpentier
@Bleecker Street Media, Lionsgate and Björn Charpentier.

Cinematic references for colours, light and camera movement were ChinatownArgoSe7enSicario and Gone Girl. “I proposed to Brad to shoot on anamorphic in a complete handheld style together with some zoom shots like they did a lot in the ‘70s,” remarks Charpentier. “It felt right because the main character Mason Skiles is a total mess and I wanted to make him a ghost when he comes back for the first time to Beirut; we played with reflections to make Skiles more transparent and kept him in the shadows. When he is in the U.S. I even painted the light bulbs blue to make everything cold around him.”

“Everything was shot on location with the exception of the two hotel rooms, which were built with green screen behind the windows,” states Charpentier. “It was actually the same room that the art department changed over night. One was set in the U.S. and the other was the main character’s hotel room in Beirut.”

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