KEITH "F*CKING" DECRISTO
graduated summa cum laude from the University Of Hard Knocks, where he obtained a double masters in drunken string theory and contemporary American literature written by alcoholics and substance-abusers. It was during these formidable years that he developed an unhealthy obsession with cinematography, an affliction that became the profession that became a marriage.
Keith utilizes the most modern techniques in self-flagellation and other destructive motivational tools in order to create something that resembles art, so that he may justify his existence, feed his tortured soul, and distract himself from the “eternal shadow of the spotted mind”.
When not on set, he moonlights as a quality-assurance tester for fine Kentucky bourbons, waxes Bukowski, and questions authority with unparalleled exuberance.
How did you get your “start”?
I must have been about 6 years old when I discovered sometime after midnight, my father had converted our tiny bathroom into a darkroom with chemical trays in the bathtub and an enlarger placed on top of the toilet- preventing me from doing what I woke to do in the first place. It was on that night that I first witnessed the magic of a silver-gray image gently fading into existence on photographic paper soaked in developer. Much to my chagrin, Dad’s image catalog was an 80/20 ratio of political protests and landscapes, and not the beautiful Farrah Fawcett/Twiggy/Lauren Hutton/Jerry Hall/Cheryl Tiegs/Charlie’s Angel's glossy magazine covers that I would stare at in the supermarket checkout and instantly lose myself. Of all of my childhood deprivations, that is the tale of woe that I’ve carried with me into my adulthood- and I try to make up for it every chance I get.
Where are you based?
I’m currently in New York City, by way of Los Angeles.
What do you shoot on?
I love anything by Arri and really dig the RED(as long as there are redundant brains). My current run-and-gun/travel kit is based on the Sony A7RII & A7SII mated to a Zacuto Z-Finder and G series lenses. For quick image acquisition I also rely on the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum and Osmo Plus(but only on projects where steep image compression can be tolerated).
Who are your influences?
Errol Morris, for his amazing “Innterrotron” and “First Person” Series”(1995), before anyone knew that documentaries could be hypnotic, surreal, dreamy and beautiful. I was particularly drawn to the show’s incredible opening sequence and loved how the musical score seemed to echo the strange, intimate and emotional world of his protagonists. On the film side, I’m a huge fan of Edward Zwick, Darren Aronofsky, Terrence Malik and Quentin Tarantino, just to name a few. On the photo/painting side, the work of Gregory Crewdson, Ellen Von Unwerth, David LaChapelle and Ray Caesar never ceases to amaze me.
What is your creative process?
I like starting with mood boards as a way of getting things going, well before the first shot. Most of the time I use” tears” from art & fashion magazines, along with stills from movies to help set the look of the story. If the aesthetic calls for dark and moody, I might reference David Caravaggio for “The Crucifixion of Saint Peter”, and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” during a meeting, as long as that other pretentious guy in the room hasn’t said it first.
What are your rates?
If I’m providing an end-to-end content solution for you or your company, there’s usually a budget that varies depending on the scope of your project. If you’re interested in hiring me independently as a director, cinematographer or editor, I’m very close to (what is referred to as) union scale.
Are you a licensed drone pilot? if so, for how long?
Absolutely. I’m a card-carrying part107 remote airman with an unblemished record, according to the FAA. I became an early adapter of camera drones in 2013. In 2014, I joined up with Nick Foss and Mike Boidy at Cinecopter Productions, an elite pair of flyboys based out of Southern California. Together we fly everything from the DJI Inspire to a full-sized Jet-Rangers equipped with a Cineflex.
What is your dream gig?
That was a much easier question a few years ago. Nowadays, with all that is going on in the world(and other cliches), the old answers(“I’d like to work on the next Star Wars”) sound like selfish, ego-driven dribble. Right now I’m a big fan of thought-provoking documentaries and films that change things for the better. Perhaps one day I’ll make one. On the other hand, in 2016 I flew to Fiji for an MTV reality/survival show. During downtime, I ended up shooting stills of the crew which turned into some of the best portraits ever. From the haunting jungle hilltops to the warm turquoise water, that entire gig felt like a dream.
Can you shoot film?
I thought you’d never ask! In a word, yes. I’ve shot handheld Super8, Super16 and 35mm, and grateful that there are a couple of labs left in NYC that will process 6x7cm medium format from my trusty Mamiya RB.