Patrick Sutherland has been working in the Canadian film industry since 2011. He has shot and edited narrative and commerical projects in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. Feature length films, documentary and lifestyle TV series, music videos and experimental film experience. He is veteran of union and non union projects, including video playback work for Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and lighting work for Hallmark and Lifetime projects. Patrick approaches cinematography with a story-driven passion, a careful eye for dramatic lighting, and motivated compositions. He thrives in maintaining a collaborative atmosphere, where all team members strive to bring out the best in one another. When he develops creative visions with directors, writers and producers, Patrick excels at executing the vision with laser focus, while remaining ever ready to accept creative surprises.
The Short Version
I grew up in London, Ontario, Canada. I was frequently writing short stories and drawing comics while growing up, sometimes opting to stay inside during recess to write more. As I worked my way through my father's excellent movie collection (Indiana Jones triology, Robocop, The Untouchables, Batman '89, among others were early inspirations) I was figuring out from an early age that my passions laid in movies, storytelling, and creating fun visuals. Every aspiring camera guy/gal has a collection of embarrassing short films from the days they first discovered video cameras. For me it began with backyard wrestling tapes with friends (complete with stake and twine rope ring, and cardboard chairs to smack each other with). A few gangster movies came along (gathering unintended laughs at a highschool screening, but we loved the attention anyway), and an unfinished Batman film ( a two parter about the origin of Two-Face). Absolutely none of these films will be found on this website. After highschool, I first thought acting would be a fulfilling and logical career choice, and so I enrolled in Humber College's AFTV program. Though I didn't graduate into the second year, I gained valuable skills in being a director, as I learned how actors think and what different ways they use to get into character. I can't deny it was painful to not make it to second year of AFTV, and it could be seen as the first time I 'failed' at something. But the turmoil of this experience reinforced my work ethic, as I promised myself that I'd be the hardest working guy in the room, regardless of the gig. Determined to tell stories, I enrolled in Fanshawe College’s 2 year general arts program. After graduating that course with honors (cue Patrick patting his own back), I enrolled in Fanshawe's hands-on film making program. I had great professors, and really talented classmates who have gone on to work steady in the industry. Logically I could have begun my career in Toronto which would have been 2 hours away from my hometown. But Vancouver BC kept grabbing my attention, and I opted to listen to my creative instincts. So I headed west and began PA-ing in a number of independent dramas and web series. Meanwhile, I found work shooting and editing corporate videos. It was so satisfying to be a kid who had moved thousands of kilometers from home, operating without a boss and relying on my wits, and successfully creating paid video work. There's something special about booking your first paid gigs in the field you want to work. One year into my life in Vancouver, I met a woman who would change my life. Scarlett Rivers was and is an amazing actress and producer who, like me, was finding success working in film. After meeting up to discuss collaborating on a project, we found out there was more there than work. After many wonderful dates, we moved in together, and haven't left each others side since (we celebrated 10 years together in 2023). Together, we opted to try out film in Toronto (she had always wanted to go, and being closer to my hometown sounded great). Toronto landed me many more corporate and narrative shooting gigs, and my portfolio was really coming together. A volunteer short film gig lead to being recommended to work on Guillermo Del Toro's film "The Shape of Water". I was working as a playback assistant, and was front and center to watch Guillermo and his DOP Dan Laustin work. The amazing lighting setups, the sets, and the sheer craftmanship on display really inspired me. Though I was happy to work in corporate video, suddenly I had a huge kick in the pants to pursue more narrative work. Before leaving Toronto to Vancouver again, I shot my first feature film "More Than One", an LGBTQ story directed by Jim Purdy. The project ran out of post production funding unfortunately, but just like my initial corporate shooting success, it was a tremendous confidence boost to accomplish a shoot on that kind of level. Long days, open-minded collaborations, and satisfying solutions to the typical production challenges. Vancouver round 2 was on. After observing the lighting on "Shape", I opted to take on more lighting work to enhance my cinematography, and it absolutely worked. Although camera specs always need consideration, a deep knowledge of lighting techniques and technology will bring just as much if not more to a well shot film. I was happy to learn more of these skills while continuing to put together my own shoots. 2020 was a year that I don’t think anyone enjoyed, and that certainly includes me. My mother's health was worsening at the same time that the covid 19 pandemic was taking over. I had to leave Vancouver abruptly to be there for my mother, and sadly, to tend to her affairs after she passed away. She was always supportive of my career even in my most uncertain times, and kept me focused on working hard. 2020 just wasn't fun or productive for me career wise. I even had to put down my beloved family dog Noah, who you can see in all his beautiful energetic glory in the 'Other' section of my photography. After fixing up and selling my mother's home, Scarlett and I had a choice to make on where to live and resume our careers. Calgary caught our eye for its beautiful nature and hiking trails, its long history with western movies and supportive film culture. We are thrilled to be here now, and I'm excited to create engaging, gorgeous work with these amazing local artists- some of which I met and worked with in Vancouver. Things are off to a great start with a partnership with the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, partnership with Innovate Media, and securing feature film work with Indian DOP Rajesh Rathore. Scarlett and I are also excited to resume our services for actors- headshots, auditions, and demo scene building with our company Cue 2 Cue Photography. Please feel free to check out our site there for more information. Thank you so much for visiting my site, and please feel free to reach out to me with any upcoming projects you need help with or any questions! It's also worth mentioning that I am in a unique position to get discounted airfare rates, should I need to travel within Canada for work- so please feel free to reach me even if you are situated anywhere outside of Calgary.
The Long Version
On Camera Work: - Story is and always will be king... compositions relates back to the story always. - Just because we have fancy camera toys on set, does not mean they must be used on *every* shot. If our camera moves are overwhelming the story, we're doing a bad job. - Don't live and die by the camera's specs; Lighting is the key to great camera work. - We take audiences on a ride, and whether it goes to dark places or fun places, the ride must be worth it.... always ask "are we driving the audience down the right road?" On Film and Collaboration: - There is nothing more beautiful and satisfying than the specialized skills of many peoples bringing cinematography to life. - Always draw up the game plan and strategize over every minute detail... but stay agile and ready for new problems 'on the day'. - We can be firm but do not need to be rude- film sets function much better with positive, optimistic energy. On Inspiration: - Where does my eye go in the composition of a shot, and how the heck did they make my eye do that? - Apocalypse Now, The Wizard of Oz, Jaws - these sets experienced insane challenges and difficulty, but they prevailed impossible odds and became legendary films. Whether we are making a small arthouse film or an epic, we *can* overcome the insurmountable hurddles if we dare. - The "Great Film" receipe: When it's pulled off, your audience is so engaged that they don't realize they've got a death-grip on their arm rest (or their partner's hand)
L' Age d'Or International Film Festival
role: Director of Photography
48 hr Run n' Gun
role: B Camera Operator
Golden Sheaf Awards 2011
Finalist - Best Student Film - "Digital Grandma"
Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2019
Winner - Best Trailer - "Mute"
Role: Director of Photography, Director