Inspired by Julien Bourgeois’s beautiful post about Ane Brun, a Swedish musican born outside of Sweden, I thought why not write about someone in Swedish film. The person I chose is a man whose parents must have really loved the name Hoyte because they named him that twice. Hoyte van Hoytema is a Swedish cinematographer whose career is a true success story.
Hoyte was born on the 4th of October 1971 in Horgen, Switzerland. He’s a son of an architect and he says that he was a really poor student in school and had to repeat a lot of the courses. When he was 17 years old he applied to the Dutch film school but did not get accepted. He then went to Poland and applied to film school in Lodz instead. In a Q&A with Stina Lundberg Dabrowski he said that the school in Lodz couldn’t afford new cameras. Everything was filmed on 35mm with old Arri cameras that the Germans brought during the war and because of the fact that those cameras made as much noise as coffee grinders that forced the students to put more focus on the image without relaying on sound. After 3 years Hoyte dropped out of school because of work. After some work in Holland and Poland he ended up in Norway where he met the producer Malte Forsell who brought Hoyte to Sweden for the production of The Return of the Dancing Master (Danslärarens återkomst). Today Hoyte van Hoytema is considered being one of the best cinematographer in Swedish history and Hollywood is already knocking on his door.
It’s not by chance that the Swedish Institute says that the films and shows he has shot is some one the best of the last decade. After national and international successes with the mini series The Laser Man (Lasermannen) it didn’t take long until awards started raining on Hoyte. His remarkable work on the films Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) and The Girl (Flickan) landed him the Guldbagge Award (The Swedish Oscar) two years in a row for best cinematography. The Girl was considered by many being the best Swedish film of 2009 and Let the Right One In is on number 207 on IMDB’s top 250 films of all time.
No wonder Hollywood kept on knocking on his door until he opened. Later this year the world will be able to see Hoytes latest work in a film called The Fighter. A big Hollywood film directed by David O. Russell with big names like Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. A funny remark Hoyte said about Hollywood was that he got annoyed sometimes. Due to union rules he is forced to work with two camera operators and that’s not his thing, he liked to be the guy handling the camera. The Fighter hits US theaters in december but the good people of Sweden will have to wait until February next year. Until then we Swedes can sit back, relax and go see Hoyte’s latest work in the Swedish film Bad Faith (Ond tro).
Everybody remembers the directors but seldom remember the little guys but this little guy has a big future. See you at the Oscars soon enough Hoyte. You’ll be on the red carpet, I’ll be on my red couch. Want to trade?