John Ker could never have a typical “day job” working a 9-to-5 behind a desk. Instead, as a cinematographer, he is often shooting in the dead of night, or traveling as far as the Arctic Ocean to capture that perfect shot. Every project is an opportunity to learn something new, to discover something new about his craft and the world, and that is what drives him.
“I like to collaborate. I could never be a singular artist, holed up in a cabin painting somewhere. I need to work with people,” he said.
Ker’s distinctive approach to his art has allowed him to take charge of the industry, showcased time and time again throughout his esteemed career. His work has been seen at world famous festivals such as the Vancouver International Film Festival when the film The Boathouse premiered there in 2021, seen on screens across the country on commercials for brands such as McDonald’s, Tostitos, The Hudson’s Bay, Kraft, Adidas, and Converse, and by tens of millions on YouTube on the hit music video “Another Year” by Grammy nominee Bastille and winner Alessia Cara.
“I try for a very naturalistic style of cinematography. I would use the word classical. I like to stick to the basics. Give me a dolly and a 35mm super speed and I can pretty much shoot anything,” said Ker.
A defining moment of Ker’s career came back in 2020 when his film was an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world and considered a strong indicator for awards season in Hollywood. This star-studded event is a pinnacle as a filmmaker, so when Ker’s film Succor was featured, it was a highlight.
“I thought the script was really excellent, the perfect mix of funny and real. I like dialogue that doesn’t feel too scripted, so I really wanted to work on this project ,” said Ker.
Ker and Director Hannah Cheesman had previously worked together on several commercials, but decided to pursue a passion project together, and Succor was born. It tells the story of Angie, who is heartbroken after a bad breakup and finds comfort in her best friend Abigail, who helps her sign up for a dating app. Angie’s new online suitor, however, is not what he seems.
“I’m not really a big technology person, so I think this film is just further proof of the sorrow we inflict upon ourselves and others through the internet,” said Ker.
Ker describes making Succor as a truly amazing experience. He was passionate about the script and was able to work quickly to capture the story with little to no lighting and grip work. His confidence and experience behind the camera allowed him to overcome any obstacles and resulted in a captivating visual.
“My favorite thing about this project was getting to work with the actors. Micheala Kurimsky and Derragh Campbell were amazing to watch together because they are so different, yet somehow totally compatible on screen,” Ker recalled.
Undoubtedly, having a film at TIFF was a moment to remember, and Ker’s entire resume is filled with successful projects. He has no plans on slowing down, with more exciting films lined up, so keep an eye out for him for years to come.