With a track record spanning 20 years, and a reputation for collaborating with the some of the film and commercials industry’s most revered creatives, Damien Van Der Cruyssen’s arrival at Harbor’s NYC facility as senior colourist further strengthens the company’s global talent roster.
Commenting on the new appointment, company founder and CEO Zak Tucker said, “Damien’s creative approach to projects and collaborative spirit with clients is something that we’ve admired for a long time. He has a particularly keen eye with the subtleties of the image and their relationship to the specific storyline. He is the sort of artist that sees possibility when he looks at the image.”
After studying cinematography at the prestigious ENS Louis Lumière film school in Paris, France, Van Der Cruyssen’s early career took him to Éclair Laboratories where he discovered the art of colour grading and fell in love with the craft. Digital colour correction was still in its infancy and was used mostly on commercials, so he started his career as a colourist in advertising. He became a junior colourist at Mikos Image in Paris, then joined Medialab Technology as a colourist.
In 2006 Van Der Cruyssen relocated to New York to take up the role of senior colourist with The Mill, and became the company’s joint head of telecine in 2011. He spent two years as senior colourist with Company3 before returning to The Mill in 2016, where his new position saw him take on the role of director of DI.
The move from commercials to longform came in response to his desire to explore the connection between colour and storytelling. As he explains, “The emotional response to colour on longform is what’s exciting to me. I love to experiment to find new looks, and I always want to create something that fits the purpose of the movie, the story and the characters. In my practice time, I love to discover new tricks and grading techniques that can be used in a creative way. In many ways, I see the role of the colourist as being like a chameleon – adapting and changing to the creative flow in the room and the style of the project.”
Van Der Cruyssen’s knowledge in the art and science of grading, plus his expertise in cinematography have led to regular collaborations with Sofia Coppola and cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd AFC ASC on The Beguiled (2017) and On The Rocks (2020), the Safdie brothers and cinematographer Darius Khondji AFC ASC on Uncut Gems (2019), as well as Trey Edward Shults and cinematographer Drew Daniel on Waves (2019).
He continues to collaborate on commercials for the likes of Maybelline, L’Oreal, Lincoln, Lexus, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Chanel and Neutrogena.