Benoît Brismontier on Angénieux’s Vision
Worldwide famous Angénieux, a Thales group brand, is the renowned manufacturer of precision optics, offering highest quality zoom lenses for motion picture and broadcast productions. Founded by Pierre Angénieux, an engineer and optician in 1935, the lenses are universal and sustainable with some manufactured over 30 years ago still in use on production sets. The brand is a five-time award-winner for their products in Hollywood by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and by the Society of Camera Operators.
Angénieux’s continued commitment to providing the best tools for cinematography led the brand to sponsor the Prix du Public Award (Audience Choice Award) at Nollywood Paris Film Festival since the inception of the event, with a view to enhancing the work of directors of photography while ensuring the sustainability of their work. Benoît Brismontier, the Area Sales Marketing Manager for Cinema and Television at Angénieux shares some insights.
Your company has been in existence for decades. How have you managed to maintain exceptionally high standards and stay ahead of the competition?
Angénieux’s strong industrial know-how and highly skilled engineers have always been key in pushing limits forward, with innovation as a permanent target. Creating tools for helping cinematographers to shoot what they could not shoot before is kind of an obsession. That said, highest quality and performance are the foundations of our brand and are to be considered as the basis of our lenses.
Your premium optic lens has been used to shoot award-winning films like Argo, Life of Pi, Like Father Like Son and Sky Fall. How popular is your lens among Nigerian and African cinematographers?
Our lenses have been used by several cinematographers throughout the African continent. Nevertheless, this is not easy to track, as some crew fly to Africa with the equipment they rent from Europe or the United States, most of the time. I can tell you that Kunle Afolayan’s The CEO Omoni Oboli’s Okafor’s Law were partially shot with our lenses. Oboli won the Prix du Public award in 2016 for her film First Lady, she had our lenses for her new project. Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom, The Constant Gardener, and other films have used our lenses too. However, I know Angénieux can still gain fame on African film sets!
What informs your sponsorship of the People’s Choice Award at the Nollywood Week Paris Film Festival and what does the package entail?
This partnership is beneficial to both the Nollywood film industry and Angénieux. On one hand, Angénieux always tries to be closer to the user, even though we have limited staff and financial means. Hence, this festival is for us a perfect way of collaborating with the best filmmakers in Nollywood, giving them the chance to work with our lenses for free on a complete movie. On the other hand, The Nollywood Week Film Festival has been identified as a great opportunity to get connected to the Nollywood film community. Indeed, the Nigerian film industry has grown very quickly and is still growing, thereby generating a demand for high-quality professional shooting equipment, which may get bigger as well. We wish to support this growing industry, which is making remarkable strides. The package includes a free loan of one of our Optimo lens (compact style), for a shooting period up to 3 months. This Optimo lens is reasonably lightweight and is perfect for close-ups, portraits, or tight shots either handheld, on Steadicam, remote heads, gimbals, rigs, or drones.
How would you evaluate the impact of the award on the careers of the winners so far, and are there any plans for their continued professional development?
This might be a bit early to be considered on a whole career point of view, but certainly, the winners have been overwhelmed by the opportunity to shoot with one Angénieux lens. Hopefully, it has been the best way for them to get aware of the great shooting possibilities given by our lenses. We will remain in contact with them and follow their careers with a lot of interest.
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