Austin, Texas-based operator Tod Campbell grew up in a small town, some 40 miles east of Houston. He was interested in photojournalism during his high school years, but his career path became clear when he worked as an extra on a movie set during college. When a PA quit, Campbell volunteered to take his position. He was a PA for several years, learning all he could about cameras and lighting.
Jason Marlow directed The Big Bends. The short film follows a character named Warren, who is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Warren decides to spend his remaining days isolated in the badlands of Big Bend in western Texas. He is waiting for death inside a small camper trailer on the vast landscape. The story takes a twist after he meets a troubled Mexican couple who have just crossed the border.
Campbell shot The Big Bends in Super 16 mm, using Kodak Vision3 250D 7207 film with an Aaton XTR camera and a fixed focal length lens.
"Jason and I wanted to shoot in the middle of the day, and feel the heat and high contrast of the environment," Campbell explains. "The Big Bends is the first film where I had a chance to give it everything I had, and make it work artistically for the story. I am still in shock about being recognized by my fellow ICG members. I know there are many benefits to the award, but easily, the best is knowing that the Guild members looked at my work and gave it the thumbs-up."