Washington D.C. Based Boni Productions Takes Home the Gold, Silver and Bronze at the PEER Awards

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It's not everyday you take home the Gold, Silver and Bronze—and we’re not talking Sochi—but that is precisely what occurred at the 2013 PEER awards.

Earning this recognition from my peers for the craft to which I have dedicated my entire professional career, gives me a feeling that is hard to put into words.

Washington D.C. based Boni Productions has completed the first ever category sweep at the PEER awards, dominating the "Director of Photography” category, with 5 of their 8 wins.

Director/DP, Dennis Boni received the awards for, among other things, his work on the Season 2 Promo of HBO's Emmy Award Winning hit series VEEP, which casts the ever-sassy Julia Louis-Dreyfus as former senator Selina Meyer. It was his steadicam work specifically that brought home the gold on the lighthearted promo, which can be seen here.

In case you didn’t know, the PEER Awards are granted by the Television, Internet and Video Association of D.C., also known as "TIVA." The awards recognize regional excellence in media. The judging panel is comprised of industry professionals in the Metro D.C. production community, recognized as one of the top Media Markets in the nation. Dennis Boni was clearly moved by the recognition from his peers.

“I’ve been thrilled with all of my Peer Awards over the years, including two Best of Show Honors for the Documentaries, “Pole Position” (Discovery Communications), and “Soul of A People,” (Smithsonian Network), but it was especially gratifying and humbling to sweep the DP Category!,” says Dennis Boni.

“Earning this recognition from my peers for the craft to which I have dedicated my entire professional career, gives me a feeling that is hard to put into words.”

Making Revolutionaries Look Presidential, with a Camera

With over 30 years in the industry, Boni Productions is an elite film, video and new-media production company whose work has been seen throughout the globe on all of the major networks, including National Geographic, HBO, PBS, Discovery Communications, and many foreign networks. In addition to broadcast work, they have created memorable pieces for The Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, national and international organizations, and countless Fortune 500 companies.

In 2013, Dennis Boni and his crew had the privilege to shoot all of the D.C. location plates for Antoine Fuqua's feature film, Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman. He also got to shoot the final installment of a series he filmed from its inception, the stunning Journey to Planet Earth, PBS's Award Winning Environmental Science Series narrated by Matt Damon.

Some of Boni’s production work has taken him to places less traveled, and his skills have been called upon in non-traditional ways. This may be one secret to his success. In addition to having filmed in over fifty nations, last year he was asked to jump into the middle of political unrest in Georgia (the country, not the state) and turn a political hopeful into a Prime Minister, by way of his camera—a masterpiece of German technology, the Arri Alexa.

As Boni recounts it, Boni Productions was hired to make Bidzina Ivanishvili, (BI) who was a complete underdog, look and appear presidential. History will show that Boni Productions was a wise choice by BI, since his party, The Georgian Dream remains in power to this day. To watch the powerful two minute piece please visit the Portfolio Section of Boni’s site.

Boni’s work also has a tremendous amount of range. Another of his PEER Awards was earned for a national commercial entitled, No Other System, (currently airing) which Dennis directed and lensed for The Veterans Administration. Boni was asked to work exclusively with non-professional talent—doctors and surgeons playing themselves—in a spot aimed at recruiting doctors to the VA. Establishing trust and rapport is essential to success in this context and Dennis’ directorial style proved to be just what the doctor ordered! Take a look by clicking here and see if you agree.

Competing with the Big Boys

So, we asked Boni how a small production company in Washington D.C.—hundreds of miles from the production bastions of L.A. and N.Y.—compete with the “Big Boys” and stay current with such rapidly changing technology?

During our interview he related the following state of affairs: As more and more people are consuming media on a variety of platforms from t.v. to live streaming, computers, tablets and smart phones, the production industry is experiencing radical change. According to Boni, while relatively new players such as RED, and a host of large sensor, comparatively inexpensive but impressive DSLR Cameras—such as the Canon 5D MKlll, and the Nikon D-800—are democratizing film making, there is still a healthy market for higher-end production work that until recently was dominated by cinematographers shooting on film.

Boni elaborated, “For many DPs like me with experience and an appreciation for the nuanced aesthetic of film, no other digital camera can beat the image quality of the Arri Alexa. Arriflex—the world’s oldest manufacturer of motion picture cameras—created this world class digital masterpiece,” Boni related to DAASN.

The Arri Alexa was used to capture blockbusters such as The Oscar winning Gravity, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.

“While there are plenty of extraordinary cameras to choose from such as the RED Epic or Red Dragon, the Sony F-5, F-55 or the Canon C-500, in the end, I believe that experience and talent trumps technology. Great personality, instinct, lighting chops, and production savvy will remain the real calling cards!”

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Danny BenDebba
Danny Bendebba

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