André Pienaar Cinematographer

You would be hard-pressed to find a life story as unique as André’s. He grew up in Apartheid South Africa, under an authoritarian state with policies forbidding television and little patience for art. André reflects on these circumstances as some of the defining sources which inform his work as a cinematographer today.

He leans toward a naturalistic style, owing to his upbringing in an “unadorned culture,” his home country having lacked in technological vibrancy and any mainstream film scene. For perhaps the same reasons, he considers himself driven more by ideas than by technologies. Born to a father who was a meticulous carpenter, mechanic and handyman, and a mother who was an avid gardener, André’s working style contains a split legacy: “On one hand I am a perfectionist craftsman, on the other I like it down and dirty with rough edges.”

André’s work demonstrates an extraordinary cinematic range. As if his story above isn’t enough to gather that he is adaptable, André is equally at home whether shooting classic period dramas, stylized commercials, or a realm he considers a “happy home”—grunge. His background in graphic design comes across in his framing and operating, and equips him with an art and design perspective.

André pours everything he has into each project. His passion as an artist and collaborator in communicating the visual essence of a story is reflected in his remarkable filmography. André has lensed films as diverse as the intimate character study BENEATH THE RIVER to the dance drama HOW SHE MOVE starring True Blood’s Rutina Wesley. André has also shot the period pieces ALMOST AMERICA and THE WINNING SEASON, staring Matthew Modine and Kristin Davis, as well as the short films CAMERA, directed by David Cronenberg and THIS MIGHT BE GOOD, directed by Patricia Rozema. These two films were nominated for the Canadian Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Short with THIS MIGHT BE GOOD winning the award. André also holds a prestigious Gemini Award for Best Cinematography for SIX GESTURES featuring Yo-Yo Ma.

As well as his long form work, André’s commercials have received countless International awards including multiple Cannes Lions, Clios, Bessies, Art Directors’ Club of America, SASC, CSC Awards and many more.