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Ours Made the Grade: Anatoliy Kokush

Author: 01.12.2017
Cinematography is probably the most "technological" art form that mankind has ever come up with – no matter how much talent, imagination and energy creators of a movie have, almost every stage of creation process one way or another comes to technologies; and without them ideas will remain just ideas. Today Outlook tells you about probably the most famous Ukrainian "technician" from the world of moviemaking – winner of as many as two aspired Oscars, Anatoliy Kokush.

Motion picture engineers and movie technicians not just remain behind the scenes, they are also manifold less famous and less familiar to the public than film directors, cameramen and script writers whose presence on screen can be told at least by this or that creative technique or opening titles. At that, professional crowd doesn't just know its "unknown" heroes' faces – it admires them. All "tops" of the dream factory starting with Steven Spielberg and concluding with Ridley Scott have queued to creator of unique camera cranes and stabilizing systems, Anatoliy Kokush, for over twenty years. All because unique machines elaborated by the native of Kerch and his company FilmoTechnic allow authors to do everything with cameras and even more, shooting stars from jaw-dropping angles at any height, sometimes even defying laws of physics.

Kokush, who was born in the Crimea in 1951 is, just as many really great people in their field, an incredibly modest and charming man and calls himself an "accessory instrument" in the hands of true artists. Sure enough it is not the case, at least because he himself is a big-time creator since without imagination and a remarkable mind it is impossible to design and materialize cranes and systems he makes. AutoRobot and Cascade are probably two most famous creations of his, it is with their help scenes in such movies as Mission Impossible, X-Men, Titanic, War of the Worlds, Harry Potter were shot - and trust us, the list can go on for pages.

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However, it all began with far more modest projects, back on Soviet film studios – Dovzhenko and Lenfilm, where a young engineer made his first steps as a designer. As Anatoliy later admitted, he had come up with many of the projects back then, off the books, because soviet moviemaking system allowed no opportunities for any experiments - not just creative but also technological. Still, working in those conditions was an invaluable experience because they had to make stabilization systems and prototypes of future cranes out of nearly nothing, studying needs of directors and cameramen at the same time.

When USSR along with its cinematography industry were breaking down on the threshold of 1980s-1990s, Kokush took a chance and left Kyiv film studio not just to create but also to become a businessman – and founded his own company FilmoTechnic. Back in those years of crisis its office and stuff were tiny, there were almost no internal orders – movies weren’t top priority for people, but merely a decade later the company had representations in many countries. Free economy, healthy competition and opportunity to enter international markets – all of these allowed Kokush to come out into the open and demonstrate his potential to entire world. Cinematography, though a large industry, but everyone in it knows each other this or that way, therefore it doesn’t come as any surprise that word of mouth carried news about phenomenal camera cranes from Kyiv, much to Hollywood moviemakers’ pleasure.

Nowadays, over 70 experts in their field work together with Anatoliy in the head office. Having earned substantial capital, FilmoTechnic, along with its changeless leader, keeps investing over 80% of its earnings into new elaborations because it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. That’s a tagline Kokush follows – someone who won two unique technical Oscars as far back as in 2006 and brought the figures to his Homeland. Despite opportunity to live in any place on the globe, genius engineer and a successful businessman spends most of his time in Ukraine not only working here but also helping local cinematography, that began its rise in recent years, by providing domestic productions and companies with his designs at a token price or for free altogether. As they say in the company, it is a great pleasure to work with artisans from Hollywood but it is far more pleasant when products of your labor are needed at home. We’d like to believe that it is such experts as Kokush that will help Ukrainian films get to a new level and in the meantime we can follow international projects of FilmoTechnic that glorify our moviemaking and our engineering.

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