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Ernest Dickerson

Ernest Dickerson

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Also Known As: Ernest R Dickerson, Ernest Dickerson Jr. Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: director, director of photography, camera operator, 2nd unit director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gifted African American cinematographer who established himself on financially modest but artistically ambitious independent features before shifting to major motion pictures as a d.p. and genre films as a director. Dickerson became known as the ace director of photography for fellow NYU alumnus Spike Lee. His vibrant painterly camerawork enhanced Lee's student film "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads" (1980) and his subsequent first six features. His first feature credit was John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" (1984), an engaging social parable about a mute alien stranded in Harlem, which benefited greatly from Dickerson's soulful portraits of the faces and places of Black folks. He has achieved great success in conveying the full spectrum of African American coloring by utilizing various tinted lights and colored backdrops. Dickerson has also shot films by Michael Schultz ("Krush Groove" 1985), Robert Townsend ("Eddie Murphy Raw" 1987) and John McNaughton ("Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" 1991).

Gifted African American cinematographer who established himself on financially modest but artistically ambitious independent features before shifting to major motion pictures as a d.p. and genre films as a director. Dickerson became known as the ace director of photography for fellow NYU alumnus Spike Lee. His vibrant painterly camerawork enhanced Lee's student film "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads" (1980) and his subsequent first six features. His first feature credit was John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" (1984), an engaging social parable about a mute alien stranded in Harlem, which benefited greatly from Dickerson's soulful portraits of the faces and places of Black folks. He has achieved great success in conveying the full spectrum of African American coloring by utilizing various tinted lights and colored backdrops. Dickerson has also shot films by Michael Schultz ("Krush Groove" 1985), Robert Townsend ("Eddie Murphy Raw" 1987) and John McNaughton ("Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" 1991).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
3.
  Never Die Alone (2004) Director
4.
  Good Fences (2003) Director
5.
  Our America (2002) Director
6.
  Bones (2001) Director
7.
  Monday Night Mayhem (2001) Director
8.
  Strange Justice (1999) Director
9.
  Ambushed (1998) Director
10.
  Blind Faith (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Ambushed (1998) J J Robinson
4.
 She's Gotta Have It (1986) Dog
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career filming surgical procedures for Howard University Medical School
1980:
Shot Spike Lee's student films, beginning with "Sarah" and including "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads"
1984:
Shot first major feature, "Brother From Another Planet"
1984:
Served as the director of photography for the first season of "Tales From the Darkside", a low-budget syndicated horror series
1985:
Worked as a camera operator and 2nd unit director on George A. Romero's "Day of the Dead"
1986:
Appeared in Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It" (also shot)
:
Network TV debut as d.p., "H.E.L.P."
:
Shot Nike commercials and music videos including "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen, "Stir It Up" by Patti LaBelle, and "Tutu" by Miles Davis
1990:
TV directing debut, "Spike & Co.: Do It A Capella" ("Great Performances" PBS)
1990:
Shot six episodes of cop/legal series "Law & Order"
1991:
Directed and co-wrote first feature. "Juice"
1993:
Directed the premiere episode of "The Untouchables", the syndicated revival derived from the 1987 feature
1998:
Helmed "Blind Faith"; played at various film festivals and aired on Showtime
:
Directed the TNT movie "Monday Night Mayhem" (lensed 2001), with John Turturro as Howard Cosell
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Howard University: Washington , Washington D.C. -
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University: New York , New York -

Notes

Received graduate fellowships from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and from Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

Saluted for his cinematography at the 34th San Francisco Film Festival.

"A lot of the directors that I worked with also worked in front of the camera as actors: Spike Lee, John Sayles, Peter Wang. And so I had a chance to really find out what directing is like. Directors also entrusted me with designing entire sequences of their movie in terms of shot structure, and I think seeing how these sequences worked in the final films taught me I should trust my instincts." --Ernest Dickerson in The New York Times, May 24, 1991.

"The type of individual who would brandish a semi-automatic weapon at a movie theater where Ernest Dickerson's 'Juice' is playing ... is the best argument for the reasonableness of what Mr. Dickerson has to say. His film addresses the peer pressures at work on a group of Harlem high school students, one of whom eventually develops a taste for murderous mayhem and viciously attacks his friends.

"The irrational bravado and macho posturing displayed by Bishop (Tupac Shakur), the film's bad-boy character, are undoubtedly shared by those gun-toting, knife-wielding moviegoers who have put 'Juice' in the news." --Janet Maslin in The New York Times, January 22, 1992.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Annette Dickerson. College administrator. Divorced.

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