Phedon Papamichael
Born1962 (age 61–62)
Occupation(s)Cinematographer, film director
SpouseEka Chichua (m. 2006)

Phedon Papamichael, ASC (Greek: Φαίδων Παπαμιχαήλ, Faidon Papamihail; born 10 February 1962) is a Greek cinematographer[1] and film director,[2] known for his collaborations with directors James Mangold, Alexander Payne and Wim Wenders. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography. He has been a member of the American Society of Cinematographers since 2000.

Early life and education

He was born in Athens, Greece in 1962 to a Greek father and a German mother. When Papamichael was six years old, his family relocated to the United States, as his father, a well-known artist and set designer, was offered a job as a production designer for John Cassavetes. From an early age, he was involved in cinema. He studied photography and art at the University of Munich and received his Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1982.[3]


Papamichael's first job as a cinematographer was in the 1988 film Dance of the Damned, directed by Katt Shea.[1] He would go on to make several future collaborations with director Shea and producer Roger Corman, making him a member of the so-called "Corman Film School", much like his contemporary Janusz Kamiński.

As a cinematographer, he has shot nearly fifty films, including Phenomenon, America's Sweethearts, Sideways, Walk the Line, The Weather Man, The Monuments Men, and Nebraska, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. He has worked with directors James Mangold, Alexander Payne, Wim Wenders, Oliver Stone and George Clooney, and many others, and has also directed films, such as Sketch Artist, Dark Side of Genius, From Within, and Arcadia Lost. He has worked with Hollywood stars Christian Bale, Will Smith, John Travolta, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe, Cameron Diaz and others, and maintains a long-term friendship with Joaquin Phoenix and Dustin Hoffman.

He later made his debut as a director in the film Showtime’s Sketch Artist in 1992 and two years later he directed the Dark Side of Genius.

In 2000, he was awarded the Prix Vision of the Avignon Film Festival for his cinematography in 27 Missing Kisses.

Personal life

He spends his time between Los Angeles and Leonidio, Greece.

In an interview with Greek Reporter, Papamichael said, ”I want to spend more time in Greece from next year. My parents live there and my home is also there. I visit Los Angeles regularly just for my job. Obviously, I will move permanently to Leonidio some time in the future. It’s unlikely to live the twilight of my life in the United States.”[4] He also has a wife and two children.




Year Title Director Notes
1989 Dance of the Damned Katt Shea
Stripped to Kill II: Live Girls
After Midnight Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
Nowhere to Run Carl Franklin
1990 Prayer of the Rollerboys Rick King
Body Chemistry Kristine Peterson
Streets Katt Shea
1991 Driving Me Crazy Jon Turteltaub
1992 Poison Ivy Katt Shea
1993 Cool Runnings Jon Turteltaub
1994 Dark Side of Genius Himself
1995 Unstrung Heroes Diane Keaton
While You Were Sleeping Jon Turteltaub
1996 Unhook the Stars Nick Cassavetes
Phenomenon Jon Turteltaub
Bio-Dome Jason Bloom
1997 Mouse Hunt Gore Verbinski
The Locusts John Patrick Kelley
1998 Patch Adams Tom Shadyac
2000 27 Missing Kisses Nana Dzhordzhadze
The Million Dollar Hotel Wim Wenders
2001 America's Sweethearts Joe Roth
2002 Moonlight Mile Brad Silberling
2003 Identity James Mangold 1st collaboration with Mangold
2004 Sideways Alexander Payne 1st collaboration with Payne
2005 The Weather Man Gore Verbinski
Walk the Line James Mangold
2006 10 Items or Less Brad Silberling
The Pursuit of Happyness Gabriele Muccino
Mathilde Nina Mimica With Stefano Paradiso
2007 3:10 to Yuma James Mangold
2008 W. Oliver Stone
2009 Arcadia Lost Himself
2010 Knight and Day James Mangold
2011 The Ides of March George Clooney
The Descendants Alexander Payne
2012 This Is 40 Judd Apatow
2013 Nebraska Alexander Payne
2014 The Monuments Men George Clooney
2016 The Huntsman: Winter's War Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
2017 Downsizing Alexander Payne
2019 Ford v Ferrari James Mangold
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Aaron Sorkin
2021 Brighton 4th Levan Koguashvili
2023 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny James Mangold
Daddio Christy Hall
TBA A Complete Unknown James Mangold Filming

Documentary film

Year Title Director
1998 Willie Nelson at the Teatro Wim Wenders
2002 Viel passiert - Der BAP-Film


Year Title Director Notes
1993 Wild Palms Peter Hewitt
Keith Gordon
Kathryn Bigelow
Phil Joanou
1995 White Dwarf Peter Markle TV movie
The Conversation Dean Parisot
2006 Men in Trees James Mangold Episode "Pilot"
2012 The Gamblers: The Ledge Rick Heinrichs Miniseries

Short films

Year Title Director Notes
2002 Twelve Miles to Trona Wim Wenders Segment of Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet
2003 Who Killed the Idea? Hermann Vaske
Other Side of the Road Wim Wenders
2005 Lights 2 Marcus Dillistone
2011 Maniac Shia LaBeouf


Year Title Director Producer Notes
1992 Sketch Artist Yes No TV movie
1994 Dark Side of Genius Yes No
2008 From Within Yes No
2009 Arcadia Lost Yes No
2012 Lost Angeles Yes Yes
2016 A Beautiful Day Yes Yes Short film
TBA Lights Falls Yes Yes

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Category Title Result
2013 Nebraska Best Cinematography Nominated
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Category Title Result
2013 Nebraska Best Cinematography Nominated
2019 Ford v Ferrari Nominated

American Society of Cinematographers

Year Category Title Result
1993 Wild Palms Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nominated
1995 White Dwarf Nominated
2013 Nebraska Nominated
2019 Ford v Ferrari Nominated
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Nominated

Other awards

As cinematographer

Year Title Award/Nomination
2000 27 Missing Kisses Avignon Prix Vision
Nominated–Camerimage Golden Frog
The Million Dollar Hotel Nominated–Camerimage Golden Frog
2005 Walk the Line Camerimage Presidents' Award
Nominated–Camerimage Golden Frog
2013 Nebraska BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated–Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–Camerimage Golden Frog
Nominated–IndieWire Critics Poll Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–St. Louis Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
2019 Ford v Ferrari Nominated–Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–North Texas Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated–Satellite Award for Best Cinematography

As director

Year Title Award/Nomination
2008 From Within Festival of Fantastic Films Special Commendation Award
Gérardmer Critics Award for Best Feature Film
2009 Arcadia Lost Nominated–Orpheus Award for Best Feature Film
Nominated–German Independence Audience Award
2016 A Beautiful Day Rhode Island Festival First Prize for Best Short Film
Rhode Island Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film
Van Vlahakis Award for Best Short Film


  1. ^ a b "Phedon Papamichael". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-03-12.
  2. ^ "Phedon Papamichael". The New York Times. February 1, 2014.
  3. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2019-02-13. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2019-02-13. Retrieved 2013-09-16.