Campbell River native and cinematographer Ian Kerr was nominated for “Outstanding Cinematography- News Coverage/ Documentaries” at the 32nd annual EmmyAwards for News and Documentaries Tuesday.
B.C. born and raised, the now Vancouver-based Kerr began working in television at age 16 at CRTV. He graduated from BCIT in 1993 and began working as a news cameraman at a Vancouver news station before making the transition to documentary and commercial projects.
Kerr’s work was recognized for the film “Lost Mummies of New Guinea” a National Geographic Explorer documentary shot in March 2010. The film follows an expedition of three Westerners into the land of the Anga people – possibly the last culture with living memory of human mummification and where some plan to revive the tradition.
Challenges during the shoot were immense both physically and politically. The crew was wrongly accused by locals of firing arrows from a helicopter at a sacred mountain. A sequence with a pig turned disputatious when the Anga asserted that while the crew had bought the pig, they had not paid for the right to film the pig. Filming was based in a town that had electricity only three days a year. Roads were appalling and they spent as much time pushing their vehicles as driving. The weather was hot and humid with regular downpours of apocalyptic proportions. The most valuable item in the camera kit was the hair dryer, which Kerr used most mornings to defog his lenses. Despite those challenges, the film tells a story of a culture which has been all but forgotten and sheds light on the ancient practice of mummification. Ian’s films have taken him from the Ecuadorian Amazon,to the ice floes of Canada’s Arctic, to the thin air of the Argentinean Andes at 21,000 feet and beyond. Ian is also an Adjunct Professor in the Cinematography Department of the University of British Columbia and Sessional instructor at Simon Fraser University and has won a number of awards and nominations including a Gemini award in 2010.