Matty Libatique is truly one of the greatest cinematographers I have had the chance to work with throughout my career.
Matty comes from a Filipino background but was born in New York City in Elmhurst in the borough of Queens. His father, Justiniano Libatique, was an amateur photographer and worked in a film laboratory in New York. As a kid growing up in New York, his dad gifted Matty a Nikon and taught him photography fundamentals at an age when he did not realize he would be using this knowledge for his entire career.
During his University years he studied sociology and communications at Cal State Fullerton and then went to AFI for an MA in Cinematography.
In this podcast we talked about his journey to become the great cinematographer he is today including his career long collaboration with Darren Aronofsky going back to when they were students at AFI and working with great DP’s like Ed Lachman, a very important mentor for Matty.
We also talked about some of his other collaborations with directors like Joel Schumacher, Spike Lee, Jon Favreau, Ernest Dickerson, Bradley Cooper, Rashid Johnson, Mathieu Kassovitz and many others….
As a cinematographer, he is one of the great pioneers of manipulating the photochemical process for extreme dramatic effect by using lab processing techniques like Cross Process & Skip Bleach. He is one of a small group of bold DP’s that were the original trailblazers that experimented frequently with using the cross process and skip bleach process in the work including Malik Sayeed, Harris Savides, Bob Richardson, Darius Khonji and Ellen Kuras to name a few.
He has Academy Award nominations for Black Swan and A Star is Born and has many festival wins for films including Spirit Awards for Requiem For a Dream and Black Swan.
His parents, Justiniano Libatique and Georgina Porter are immigrants from the Philippines.
Matty’s Filipino heritage is very important to him. He speaks and understands Tagalog and comes from French heritage on his paternal side.
Throughout his career he has shot many important music videos including the 1998 Jay-Z video Ja Rule & Amil: Can I Get A….. directed by Steve Carr and also the Tracey Chapman video with Julie Dash directing called Give Me One Reason.
CONVERSATIONS WITH CHARLIE