Cowards and Monsters, unfolds inside an unlit apartment in the thick hours after a man discovers his partner’s infidelity. As an adman in Dubai in the late 1990s, 1st AC Basil Smith began to gravitate toward the camera. “I didn’t understand what I wanted from the film business, but I knew I liked the visual medium,” he says, recalling a fascination with Monday-morning commercial blocks and war reportage as a child in South Africa. His break came assisting Polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, PSC, who later made him 2nd AC on Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. On Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, he met John Mathieson, BSC, who became an important mentor. Smith moved to Los Angeles from London last year and joined Local 600 this year.

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