Andrea James


Sundance 2020 Documentaries: How I Shot That

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Chris O’Falt

Jan 29, 2020 1:32 pm

Shooting “Whirlybird”

Dir: Matt Yoka

Format: 2.8k ProRes 4444
Camera: ARRI Alexa Mini
Lens: Panavision PCZ 19-90mm T2.8 zoom

Cinematographer Ed Herrera: Our earliest conversations revolved around the color photographs of Nan Goldin from the 1980’s. There’s something inherently personal about Nan’s aesthetic that we wanted to capture ourselves. We had to earn a psychological sense of intimacy with our subjects. We began that process with the optics and then transitioned to a camera placement arc.

Alexa Lopez at Panavision helped me dig up dozens of wildly different lenses they had in inventory. I shot tests with everything (within the spherical realm) from uncoated modern primes to short antique zooms. we carefully analyzed the way each lens rendered portraiture from different distances.

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‘Whirlybird’ Review: An Absorbing Look at a Sky News Pioneer’s Unconventional Life

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Jude Dry

Jan 29, 2020 12:39 pm

The Tur family tale, in which a plucky young couple fall in love and raise children to a soundtrack of manhunts and forest fires, is undeniably compelling and an obvious fit for the screen. But “Whirlybird” is worth singling out for another reason: It’s a fine example of an aspirational future for trans stories, joining a new wave of films about trans people in which trans-ness is merely one part of the story, in this case even the least interesting part.

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Whirlybird’ Soars Just As High As Its Subject

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BY TONI GONZALES -January 30, 2020

The history of Los Angeles isn’t in a museum that you visit. No, it sits on thousands of videotapes in a U-haul storage unit. Or, it did until director Matt Yoka and his team came along to convert it for the new documentary ““Whirlybird”.”

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Sundance 2020: Whirlybird

Matt Yoka beautifully weaves in archival footage with contemporary interviews.  One can look at Whirlybird as a time capsule.  The film captures around 40 years or so in the industry.  When it comes to the news business, it’s about being in the right place at the right time.  But what happens in the moments leading up to it?  This film shows exactly that but nobody said it would be pretty.

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Legendary LA Helicopter Pilot Zoey Tur on Kobe Bryant’s Final Flight

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Sundance 2020: Coded Bias, Whirlybird, Be Water

by Brian Tallerico

January 27, 2020 

Married couple Marika Gerrard and Bob Tur were on the forefront of a breaking form of news journalism in Los Angeles when Tur bought a helicopter and started flying over the city of angels. Gerrard and Tur were front and center for major news events seen around the world, including the L.A. riots and the O.J. Simpson Bronco Chase, which they chronicled most memorably. That footage of the white Bronco slowly moving down the freeway that everyone in the world has seen? Tur and Gerrard shot it. 

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Sundance 2020 reviews: Day 4

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Scott Renshaw on January 27, 2020

The central subject is the founders of L.A. News Service, a breaking news operation that began by chasing police scanner calls at street level in the 1980s, before taking to the skies with helicopter footage that became iconic for capturing events like the post-Rodney-King-verdict riots and the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase.

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Sundance Review: Whirlybird Explores the Adrenaline-Fueled Aerial News Game

Matt Cipolla

January 28, 2020

It’s curious to see something like Whirlybird in a time when traditional television use is 1.) on the decline and 2.) retroactively looked as a precursor to today’s voyeurism. Director Matt Yoka frames the archive footage almost as a precursor to salacious reality TV trash. And there’s a lot of the footage, given how obsessively Bob documented his personal life. (He would have been a great dad vlogger.) Thankfully, Yoka doesn’t just use it just for the sake of humanizing his subjects; he plants the seed, then watches it rot.

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Sundance 2020 Review: The Sky’s the Limit in Matt Yoka’s Profound “Whirlybird”

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JANUARY 26, 2020 11:15 PM


As Tur relates this fascinating personal epiphany, “Whirlybird” is bound to leave one about television news gathering as well, as both Zoey and Marika consider throughout the years how they’ve become desensitized to extreme situations and their role in sensationalizing them to attract viewers. 

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