I Smile Back cinematographer Eric Lin talks to Indiewire about the scene he’s most proud of in the Sundance film.
“Much of the film is captured with designed handheld shots. [Director Adam Salky] and I wanted to do one specific shot that follows an emotionally fragile Laney (Sarah Silverman) as she stumbles down the hallway and into the bedrooms of her sleeping children at night in one long handheld take. We were pressed for time because of the schedule and lighting a scene through multiple rooms where the lights are all off is already challenging if you want it to feel natural,” he explains.
“Given the time we had, Jason Beasley, the gaffer, and I decided to motivate the lighting from the nightlights in the children’s rooms which would make the scene both more intimate and more unsettling with the resulting shadows and silhouettes,” Lin continues. “We went low-tech and strategically hid simple bulbs on porcelain sockets dimmed way down and wrapped in black wrap in any corners of each of the rooms that wouldn’t be seen. We even tossed Christmas lights into the bathroom sink to give a glow as she walks past. It was a very raw, emotional scene and I think we were able to make the scene work well with Sarah’s incredible performance.”