CINEMATOGRAPHER SAM LEVY TALKS MAYDAY, A FEMINIST FANTASY THAT IS CALLING OUT TO AUDIENCES

Patrick Gibbs

October 6, 2021

The filmmaking process is nothing new for cinematographer Sam Levy. He’s been doing it since high school, when he started acting in a friend’s VHS movies. After falling in love with cinematography while studying at Brown University, Levy went on to shoot for an impressive list of directors including Kelly Reichardt, Spike Jonze, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. But Mayday, a surreal feminist action fantasy, marks Levy’s first feature with writer-director Karen Cinorre, his closest collaborator to date.

While working so closely in a collaborative role with your significant other has strong advantages, does it lead to problems if creative visions don’t align? Not according to Sam Levy. “At the end of the day, she is the director,” Levy says. “I just love cinematography and everything that goes along with it. And part of that is deferring to a director, whether it’s Karen or anybody that I’ve worked with … I like to think I’m humble enough to say, ‘You know, they probably see something I don’t—and definitely [in] working with Karen. She’s brilliant, a very sensitive artist. And I know that if she’s saying something different from me, it’s something that she’s thought out very carefully.”