Libatique in 2011
Matthew José Libatíque
July 19, 1968
|Other names||Matty Libatíque|
|Alma mater||California State University|
|Awards||Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography|
2001 Requiem for a Dream
2011 Black Swan
Matthew Libatíque (born July 19, 1968) is an American cinematographer who is known for his work with director Darren Aronofsky on the films Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006), Black Swan (2010), Noah (2014) and Mother! (2017). He also shot Bradley Cooper's directorial debut film, A Star Is Born (2018), which received critical acclaim.
Early life and education
Matthew Libatíque was born in Elmhurst, Queens, New York City, to Georgina (née José) and Justiniáno Libatíque. Libatíque's father died when his son was 25 years old. Although an American by birth, Libatique said he acknowledges his Philippine heritage and is conversant in Tagalog. Libatíque is of French ancestry on his paternal side.
Libatique studied sociology and communications at California State University, Fullerton before earning a MFA in cinematography at AFI Conservatory. He became interested in photography when his father, an amateur photographer who worked at a film laboratory in New York, had gifted him a Nikon camera when he was a child. "He taught me the fundamentals of photography at an age when I didn't realize I would spend the rest of my life using them," Libatique recalls.
Libatíque served as director of photography for music videos and teamed with fellow AFI alumnus Aronofsky for the short film Protozoa. The two collaborated on the first three of Aronofsky's feature films. Other frequent collaborators are Julie Dash (music videos including Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason"), Spike Lee (She Hate Me, Inside Man and Miracle at St. Anna), Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, Phone Booth and The Number 23), and Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens).
Libatíque's notable films include blockbusters such as Iron Man and Iron Man 2. In 2010, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Black Swan, for which he won his second Independent Spirit award. He has also won best cinematography awards at the LA Film Critics Association, NY Film Critics Online, SF Film Critics, among many others.
Libatique discussed the importance of working closely with a director on a Cinematographer Roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, revealing: “The main thing is that you (both cinematographer and director) have the same goal and are telling the same story. Going into preparation you really need to be on the same page. Conflicts may arise when there’s a miscommunication about what’s important in a scene. So, it’s really important to listen...The director can (understandably) get pulled in a lot of different directions in prep. We, cinematographers are sort of guarding the gate of filmmaking, amongst all the other things that are happening.”
In addition to guarding the filmmaking gate, he also says of his process: “I’d like to think each film is custom made. The director obviously dictates the approach that I have because everybody has a different working style. Some people want to talk intensely and visually about shots. Some don’t talk much at all. They concentrate more on the performances and they give you a broad idea of what they want the film to look like. So my first approach is to evaluate them, which may start in the interview process. But you also learn in preparation, as much as you can about the director. And that informs how I prepare in pre-production. If I’m lucky I can shape a visual language off some kind of inspiration. But the director definitely dictates how I do it.”
In November 14, 2018, Libatíque was arrested on suspicion of assault for allegedly attacking paramedics and police at a hotel in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Libatíque was attending Camerimage at the time. He was released without a fine or charges. In November 2020, a trial for Libatique was set to begin in February 2021. Libatique admitted to drinking but claimed to have been unknowingly drugged, with no memory of the alleged 
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
- Neumaier, Joe (February 21, 2011). "Oscars 2011: 'Black Swan' cinematographer Matthew Libatique gave Natalie Portman film feminine feel". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
- Nepales, Ruben V. (February 28, 2011). "On eve of Oscars, Fil-Am wins". The Philippine Star.
- “Cinematographer Roundtable: Short Cuts With Linus Sandgren, Matthew Libatique & Chayse Irvin | THR” The Hollywood Reporter, 7 January 2019
- “The cinematography of A Star is Born: Matthew Libatique Case Study” CookeOpticsTV, 14 February 2019
- Rappler.com. "Fil-Am cinematographer Matthew Libatique charged with assault". Rappler. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
- Buckley, Cara; Magdziarz, Anatol (November 23, 2020). "A Film Festival in Poland Feted His Work. Now He May Face Prison There". The New York Times.