Cinematographer André Szankowski on bringing Netflix original series ‘Glória’ to life  

André Szankowski spent his earliest years growing up in São Paulo, Brazil, inspired by his parents. His father was an architect and talented amateur photographer, and his mother was a film enthusiast. Every night they would watch a movie together at home, and every few weeks they would gather to look at family photographs projected on the wall, reliving he great moments and sharing stories. It was that upbringing in his formative years that Szankowski attributes to his adoration for storytelling and film, passions that have helped drive his career as a celebrated cinematographer in Europe and abroad.

Now in Lisbon, Portugal, Szankowski has risen to the top of his industry. His resume is one that many can only dream of, having been a vital part of the success of dozens of films that have amassed hundreds of accumulated awards. Szankowski himself was awarded Best Cinematography at the Figueira da Foz International Film Festival 2017 for his work on Cinzento e Negro, a film that has amassed 20 wins and 39 nominations from many prestigious film festivals. His film Variações (Guardian Angel) was the highest grossing Portuguese film at the box office in 2019 and won over 30 awards, and other projects such as Cosmos, Going to Brazil, Crime Time, and La Cage Dorée (Gilded Cage) have all seen success at an international level. 

One of Szankowski’s most recent success stories is the Netflix original series Glória. Based on a true story from the 1960s at the height of the Cold War in the small village of Glória do Ribatejo, João Vidal will take on several high-risk espionage missions that could change the course of Portuguese and world history.

“I was happy to share this story as I had no idea this happened in Portugal during dictatorship. In the town of Glória do Ribatejo, there’s a huge transmission facility that was operated by the Fascist Regime and the CIA in order to block Radio transmissions to and from the Iron Wall. Communists and KGB agents infiltrated the facility staff. All of this happened a few kilometers from Lisbon under everyone’s noses. That’s what fascinates me, being part of a true spy story! It’s important to keep history in mind. The facts from the past give us a better understanding of the present and future,” said Szankowski.

Glória was the most illustrious project in the Portuguese film industry when it was announced, with a budget that made it the most expensive series in Portuguese television history. When Szankowski was invited on board by the executive producer and director as the main director of photography for the entire series, it was an honor. The cinematic approach was a combination of commercial rhythm and camera style of shooting that Szankowski was a master of. His experience managing multiple and large crews was another asset to the production. 

“I was humbled by the amount of trust since it was a big responsibility to get this project right for the local market. It was the opportunity to navigate uncharted waters for me. The challenge was definitely a huge factor on Glória, but what I value most from the experience was the spirit of all the crew, the general vibe was in sync, knowing we were making something special,” said Szankowski.

Glória was released on Netflix on November 5, 2021 in over 190 countries. It instantly became an audience hit, with a 94% average audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Szankowski’s efforts did not go unnoticed by critics either, as he was awarded the award for Best Cinematography at the AIP Awards (Portuguese Cinematography Association) for his work on the project. 

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Glória on Netflix to see Szankowski’s stunning cinematography and get swept up in this thrilling true story. 

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