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‘The Fits’ DP Paul Yee on Treating the Camera Like a Dancer

Sundance drama The Fits centers around an 11-year-old girl named Toni who joins the dance drill team only to have the rest of the team soon afflicted with mysterious fits. Despite the film being cast mostly with non young-actors, director Anna Rose Holmer made the decision to have the camera remain deliberate and static for most of the film.

“Despite Toni’s internal unease, we incorporated a lot of smooth dolly and steadicam shots. I like to think that the camera moved much like a dancer or boxer — gracefully and with intention,” cinematographer Paul Yee explains on Indiewire. “While the steadicam provides fluid movement, the dolly shots lend a sense of inevitability and omnipotence to the camera. We made a point to force characters to move within the restrictions of the frame as opposed to allowing them to motivate the camera to follow them. I realize that that’s a strict limitation for any actor, but I do think it adds an unsettling presence to the tone of the film.”