Ante Cheng and Matthew Chuang on How Blue Bayou Benefited From Having Two Cinematographers (Below The Line)

Daniel Eagan

March 4, 2022

Cheng and Chuang were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for their work together on Blue Bayou. Cheng has already reteamed with Chon, having shot his episodes of the upcoming Apple TV+ series Pachinko, and he’s currently shooting a feature in South Africa, while Chuang shot the upcoming Noomi Rapace movie You Won’t Be Alone, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

As scenes unfold on streets and sidewalks, Blue Bayou takes on the immediacy of a documentary, yet at the same time, the film stock’s rich colors and deep contrasts evoke an earlier generation of independent cinema.

Like Chon’s previous film Gook, Blue Bayou was shot entirely on location, this time in and around New Orleans. The director used two cinematographers — his frequent collaborator Ante Cheng, and Matthew Chuang. Due to the extremely tight schedule (58 locations in 30 and one-half days), the two DPs worked both together and separately. Despite the pressure, they developed a seamless look that incorporated minimal lighting and equipment, as well as 16mm film for added difficulty.