During the summer of '66, a former rodeo champion and cattle auctioneer from Oklahoma bonds tightly with his young grandson while teaching him a few tricks from his previous trades. Shot entirely in rural Pennsylvania, Calf Rope captures the intense love that grandparents share with their grandchildren and the legacies that live on long after they have gone. Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Bradley Hawkins, Produced by Dadley Productions.
My role

Director of Photography


Lukas Barnett
Gorman Ruggiero

Are you ready? Grab the popcorn!
The Challenge

Cinematography-wise, the main objective in Calf Rope was to tell the story from the point of view of 8-year-old Brandon as he bonds more and more with his grandfather. This is a period piece, which is why it was important to use soft camera filters and pops of color to evoke the unique essence of the 60’s as it is when the story takes place.

Strategy & Approach

Soft tones, warm colors, naturalistic lighting and a variety of dynamic camera shots portray the inner being of Brandon during his summer ventures with his beloved grandfather. The very first shot of the film and the cattle auction scene were probably the most complex shots to execute as they were long continuous establishing shots with many-many components in frame; an adventure that the crew managed to happily execute regardless of time or equipment limitations of the day. Working with Bradley (the director) was a blast, our honest communication and creative visions were in sync during the entire process, an essential factor that every DP longs for and that I’m grateful I had.

Final Experience

Calf Rope was one of those productions where everybody involved simply felt like family, an irreplaceable experience. The ambience, the people, the locations, energy, support and all the smiles involved in this project easily became one of the fondest pre-pandemic memories I have as a Director of Photography. From the very beginning at the DP interview process until the very end at the official screening of the film, Bradley and I were always on the same page when it came to the visual style of Calf Rope, I could almost see his inner child peeking behind his pupils as he tells his own personal story through Brandon and Mac (the main characters), and as a DP it was an honor to visually transport his story to the screen. The main look’s objective was for it to be dreamy, soft like a memory, seeing the world through the eyes of a child that believes in his grandad.


Visual Style & Design Standards    ---

Long dynamic shots, hazy ambience, shallow depth of field and warm tonalities were the key components of this period piece as the cinematography of this project conveys the direct experience of a child in regards to his grandfather who he deeply admires.

Awards and nominations    ---

  • American Filmatic Awards: Winner
  • Crown Wood Film Awards: Winner
  • IndieFest Film Awards: Winner
  • Independent Short Awards: Winner
  • Sunny Side Up Film Festival: Official Selection
  • Play Short International Film Awards: Official Selection
  • Wild Bunch Film Festival: Official Selection
  • Southern Short Awards: Winner
  • Gold Movie Awards: Winner
  • F3 Frankly Film Fest: Official Selection
  • Dreams Come True Film Festival: Official Selection
  • Great Lakes Film Festival: Official Selection
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I'm currently available for new projects    ---

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