Phedon Papamichael, an award winning Cinematographer, was born in Athens, Greece and moved with his family to Germany, where in 1982 he completed his education in Fine Arts, in Munich. Working as a photojournalist brought Phedon to NYC in 1983, where he started crossing over into cinematography.
His first short film, the 35mm black & white SPUD, earned him the Award for Best Cinematography at the Cork Film Festival in Ireland. Following a call from John Cassavetes, his cousin and later collaborator, Phedon moved to Los Angeles. While continuing to work on short and experimental films, he began his feature career as a Director of Photography for Roger Corman, for whom he photographed seven films within two years.
Phedon now counts over 40 feature films to his credit as Director of Photography, including the early block-busters WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING starring Sandra Bullock and COOL RUNNINGS, as well as PHENOMENON, starring John Travolta, all directed by Jon Turteltaub.
His credits include many critically acclaimed films, such as UNSTRUNG HEROES (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 1995), directed by Diane Keaton, and UNHOOK THE STARS, starring Gena Rowlands and directed by Nick Cassavetes.
THE MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL, directed by Wim Wenders, was chosen as the Opening Film of the 2000 Berlin Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize, the Silver Bear, as well as the Golden Camera. The European co-production, 27 MISSING KISSES, directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Nana Djordjadze, premiered at Directors Fortnight in Cannes 2000. It garnered the Grand Prix Award at the 2000 New York/Avignon Film Festival, the Audience Award at the 2000 Montpellier Film Festival, as well as the Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography. In 2000 both films received a CAMERIMAGE nomination, for Best Cinematography.
In 2001 Phedon shot MOONLIGHT MILE (Berlinale, 2003), directed by Brad Silberling, starring ACADEMY AWARD winners Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Holly Hunter. It was followed by IDENTITY, directed by James Mangold, and the Oscar-nominated SIDEWAYS (ACADEMY AWARD WINNER: Best Screenplay, NOMINEE: Best Picture) directed by Alexander Payne.
His credits continued with THE WEATHERMAN, directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine and WALK THE LINE, again directed by Mangold and starring Joaquin Phoenix who was nominated for a Best Actor ACADEMY AWARD and Reese Witherspoon, who won an ACADEMY AWARD for her performance. It also won the GOLDEN FROG at CAMERIMAGE (President’s Award 2005), for Best Cinematography.
Phedon shot the Academy Award nominated western 3:10 TO YUMA, directed by James Mangold, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, and the blockbuster PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, for which Will Smith received an ACADEMY AWARD nomination. In 2008 he photographed Oliver Stone’s W. and then re-teamed again with James Mangold on KNIGHT AND DAY, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, which shot all over the world.
He shot two of the most award-winning films of 2011: Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS, which received four ACADEMY AWARD nominations in addition to winning the ACADEMY AWARD for Best Adapted Screenplay, and THE IDES OF MARCH, directed by George Clooney which was also nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD for Best Adapted Screenplay. THIS IS 40, directed by Judd Apatow was released in 2012 and won Comedy of the Year from the Hollywood Film Festival.
For his gorgeous B&W lensing on the highly acclaimed NEBRASKA, which received 6 Academy Award nominations and was directed by Alexander Payne, Phedon received an Oscar nomination, a BAFTA nomination and an ASC nomination amongst other honors. His latest film is THE MONUMENTS MEN, a period film directed by George Clooney, and starring Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin which was shot in Germany and England.
Papamichael’s work also includes several forays into television. He received an ASC Award Nomination for Best Cinematography for Oliver Stone’s innovative mini-series WILD PALMS, as well as his second ASC Award Nomination for Best Cinematography for the Francis Ford Coppola-produced pilot WHITE DWARF.
Phedon resides in Los Angeles and Athens, Greece and speaks fluent English, German, French and Greek. He holds German, Greek and U.S. citizenship.
COMMERCIALS & MUSIC VIDEOS
In addition to his feature work, Phedon has shot and/or directed over 100 commercials for such clients as NESPRESSO , BMW, AUDI, FOSTER’S BEER, CADILLAC, NISSAN, HYUNDAI, COORS, VW, RENAULT, FUJI, BARILLA,
McDONALDS, BUD LIGHT, BECK’S, GOODYEAR, ESPN, TACO BELL, MINI WHEATS, MILKA, ORTHO, SCHLAGE, DiGIORNO, TARGET, POWERADE, ALLSTATE, FIDELITY, and NEXTEL.
On the music video side, his work includes THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET, ELECTRICAL STORM, directed by Anton Corbijn, STUCK IN A MOMENT OF TIME for the band U2, as well as clips for PEARL JAM, directed by Cameron Crowe, THE KILLERS, directed by Anton Corbijn, ERIC CLAPTON, BRYAN FERRY, KID CUDI’S MANIAC directed by Shia LaBeouf, and the Grammy nominated long-format video for WILLIE NELSON AT THE TEATRO directed by Wim Wenders. Phedon was also the Visual Supervisor for the Academy Award nominated BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB also directed by Wim Wenders.