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MEET JUDE ABADI: CINEMATOGRAPHER

This is Jude.

Jude, tell us more about how you got into film & cinematography?

My father is an architect and he influenced my outlook and encouraged my artistic expression.


I was drawn to being visually creative because of him.


It was just a matter of finding the right medium to express myself.


I was working for a Mixed Martial Arts organization in the Middle East and they decided to shoot a reality show.


It was my first real taste of what it was like to be behind the scenes in film and TV production.


At the time, I had picked up photography as a hobby.


When I eventually left the MMA world, a friend suggested I take a job as a line producer for a UK based Production Company.

I also started photographing and filming while on the Syrian border with Turkey and Lebanon on humanitarian aid missions.


I felt obligated to try and tell the stories of the refugees I met while on these missions to show the human cost of war.


When I wasn’t doing that, I worked as a producer, grip and electrician on several short films and was the lead production designer on Abdullah, an Emirati feature film.


Everything that I was doing lead me to realize that this was the path I needed to be on; so I decided to further my education and knowledge.


I moved to Los Angeles and got an MFA in Cinematography.


Since then I’ve DPed several shorts and I’ve worked as a camera assistant on everything from music videos to feature films. 

Could you tell us some of your favorite things you've got to work on over the years?

It’s hard to narrow it down, I’ve worked on so many cool things!


I was the cinematographer on "Tainted," a short by Destinee Easley.


It was really interesting figuring out how to realistically shoot some of the more intense scenes and transitions she had in mind.


I also regularly work as a 1st AC for Maria Quintana, an amazing female cinematographer.


With her I worked on several music videos with for the female rock band Tarah Who?


They’re really fun and I love their music so it’s always great.


I love to work with film.

It keeps me in check as an AC as I can’t be dependent on monitors.


I have to trust my instincts when it comes to pulling focus.


I got to AC a short on 35mm film with Maria called Silhouette of a Ghost.


I’ve also been lucky to work with some big cinematographers on features and TV shows as part of the 2nd unit team. 

How would you best describe your style when it comes to cinematography?

My style as a cinematographer entirely depends on the directors’ vision.


I do tend to love long oners.


I love the challenge of being able to capture a scene in a single, continuous take.


That being said, it’ll only happen if it fits the scene and the director agrees.

I find that my style is versatile which is important because I can adapt it to work on many different things.


I attribute that to having lived in so many places throughout my life from Abu Dhabi to LA and in between.


I think it’s one of my strengths because there are so many different stories to tell and each one will have its own unique feel. 

Jude, what sort of advice would you give aspiring cinematographers?

Build your network and connections and get experience working in different crew positions.


Every shoot is a new learning experience whether good or bad.


Understand what the problems were, learn from them and be better next time.

If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask or if you don’t know how to do something, say it.


Everyone has something to offer.


Filmmaking is a team effort and everyone on set plays an important role. 

Do you have anything new or upcoming that we can expect to see from you?

We’re living in interesting times at the moment.


The majority of the productions I was meant to be on are on hold until production can resume and we’re back to some level of normality.


I look forward to getting back to work and joining in this new phase of creativity post lockdown. 

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