– . – Cinematographer – Barry Ackroyd

Cinematographer – Barry Ackroyd

Making A Splash

Having shot the critically acclaimed The Hurt Locker, as well as movies like United 93, Looking For Eric and Green Zone, cinematographer Barry Ackroyd is in demand. But, he explains, that will never stop him choosing substance over style.


When Barry Ackroyd collected the BAFTA for Best Cinematography earlier this year, it was due recognition for his work on Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. But it also offers a fitting recognition for a varied career that began shooting documentaries for Nick Broomfield-in one of which he was famously menaced by the late Eugene Terre’Blanche-and a succession of acclaimed dramas for Ken Loach. In recent years he has shot a clutch of fine-looking Stephen Poliakoff films, and struck up a fruitful partnership with Paul Greengrass, finding expression in the poignant United 93 and the genre-driven Green Zone. He recently wrapped on The Special Relationship for HBO, and is currently in Serbia shooting a modern-dress version of Coriolanus, with Ralph Fiennes starring and making his debut as director.

It’s been a wonderfully varied journey to this point, but through it all Ackroyd has maintained strong principles in his choice of material. He is not a man to attach his name to a frivolous romcom or disappear to Hollywood for a round of meetings. Success will not change him but, you suspect, the DP can afford a smile at the thought of the modestly resourced The Hurt Locker beating other, far more expensive films at both the BAFTAs and the Oscars.


“In a way I’m still proud of the fact that it’s the lowest grossing film to ever win the Oscar,” he agrees. “It’s certainly making money now, though probably nothing like Green Zone’s opening weekend. I was just delighted that a small film can actually be considered good enough to be recognised by the Academy. The Producers Guild gave it their prize, when you might have thought they’d have gone for the big moneymaking film. But they didn’t, they chose the little film.”