04 October 2011

Honor Among Angels - A Tribute to Neil Lisk

Ever heard me talk about Michael Worth? Of course you have. He's the visionary behind the drama God's Ears (2008) and the WWII drama Fort McCoy (2011). He's the man with the plan and the talent to make it happen. As I type, he's in the process of putting together Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen a "mockumentary" on ageism in Hollywood. Surely you've heard me mention it once or twice.

What you haven't heard me mention is what's missing... and that's light. A light brought to the set of several of Michael's films. That light is Neil Lisk. A brilliant cinematographer, husband, father and friend taken way before his time. Every person that I've spoken with about Neil has talked about him with such adoration and respect and love. He may not be physically here anymore but his legacy does live on. Immortalized on films like God's Ears and Fort McCoy. Just recently, one year to the day of his passing, September 22, 2011, his talent was officially recognized when he won Best Cinematography for Fort McCoy at the 27th Annual Boston Film Festival. God's Ears is not without it's own merit... This month it premieres at The Carmel Art and Film Festival in California. Just three weeks after taking home the Best Drama award from The Route 66 Film Festival.

Worth remembers Neil fondly and had this to say:
"Neil and I met back in 2003 but didn't get a chance to actually work together until 2005 when we shot Devil on the Mountain with Steven R. Monroe. He had a way of keeping the set light but remaining very focused on his job. It was a nice quality to watch balanced that way. I worked with him as a director first on God's Ears. In hindsight, the fit would have never worked any other way. He was as excited about making that movie as I was. Our last film together was Fort McCoy. The two weeks I spent with him out in Wisconsin before shooting was a good way for me to get to not only learn from him but know him as a person better. Just the two of us running all over La Crosse picking the shots, time of day, locations, etc. I don't think we ever worked so hard in our life doing that. Was a big job, but we had our personal language down so well I knew that is what made it possible to get through all that. We had a chance to work together one last time as Neil shot Steven R. Monroe's film Complacent which I worked on as an actor. That was nice since the three of us all worked together on Devil so many years before. God's Ears, Neil had always expressed to me, was one of his favorite films and the fact that we are just about to take our first film to the Carmel Art and Film Festival after his winning an award for our last film, means a lot. But can you argue its destiny? His award was announced September 22, 2011. Neil passed away 2010.... on September 22. You tell me?"
Be sure and check out the Grizzly Peak Films blog and read about Worth's experiences alongside Lisk and how his imagery and talent has inspired so many.

God’s Ears screens October 15 at 8pm at the Carmel Art and Film Festival. If you're in the area, definitely check it out. I've seen it several times now and I never tire of it. It's beautifully shot and directed with superb acting. I'm thrilled beyond belief that it's getting the recognition it deserves.


  1. Neil was brilliant. I know what Mike says about learning so much from him is true. Even the few times I was on the sets, I learned from his good eye, alertness and light touch. And I always felt stimulated by his aliveness. I miss him.

  2. Thanks for sharing Gail! I wish I could've had the opportunity to meet him.