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That guy you see wandering around downtown Minneapolis with a camera next week? He may be a two-time Oscar winner for cinematography.

Roger Deakins, who collaborated with Joel and Ethan Coen on the look of many of their movies, including "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men," as well as "1917″ and "Blade Runner 2049″ (both of which earned him Oscars), and wife/collaborator James Deakins will be part of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, which runs through April 25 at the Main Cinema.

In addition to hoped-for time to capture some images on the sly, the Deakinses will be part of three public events: a "conversation" with West St. Paul-based photographer Wilson Webb on April 23, as well as a signing of book "Byways" and a screening of "Fargo," with a question-and-answer session, both April 24. "Fargo" earned Roger his second of 16 Oscar nominations. The conversation and screening are sold out but MSPIFF may make more seats available.

In case you can't get to the events, we asked a few questions you may have:

Q: What do you remember about shooting "Fargo" in Minnesota at the end of the mild 1995 winter?

James: It was cold!

Roger: I remember it didn't snow very much that winter. It was very frustrating! We had to keep going north and, at one point, I remember wondering if we had crossed into Canada. But I also remember it being one of the most fun shoots we've ever had.

Q: How do you decide if you want to do a film?

James: It's about the script and the script and the script.

Roger: It helps if you know the director. If it's Denis Villeneuve [for whom Deakins shot "Prisoners" and "2049″], you know what his take is going to be. But I'm interested in stories about people. I love photographing the ocean or whatever, but that's not enough for me. That's not a story. That's not something you want to be the cinematographer on.

Q: Roger is the credited cinematographer on the films but you've collaborated for many, many years. How does that work?

James: We read the script and talk about it, what Roger's thinking about lighting. I go through the work flow with the lab. I talk a lot with the visual effects people because, often, a cinematographer wants to shoot it one way but a visual effects editor is using a blue screen and wants to shoot another way. So we find a compromise that works for everyone. I take a lot of logistical problems off of Roger so he can focus on what he's shooting, while I talk to production about the crane we need next week.

Roger: The thing about cinematography is it's a blend between a creative approach and a technical approach. You can't have one without the other.

Q: So is yours a collaboration within the larger, ultra-collaborative world of putting together a movie?

James: It's not just what we're doing or the actor or director is doing. It's what the third prop person is doing. It's the extras. It's everyone we couldn't make a movie without, everyone putting their all into it and doing their specific jobs.

Q: Is that something people are curious about when you participate in Q-and-As?

James: We get asked how we work together. We get asked about specific shots in movies. We get asked by people who are working their way up, how to deal with specific situations. We get asked our favorite movies.

Q: What are some of your favorites you've worked on?

Roger: The next one.

James: It really is like asking who your favorite child is.

Roger: Although we don't have any kids, so...

Q: If you won't name favorite movies you worked on, do you have favorites by other cinematographers?

Roger: Definitely. I grew up loving movies, so I followed Kazuo Miyagawa, who shot for Kurosawa in Japan and for Kenji Mizoguchi. I love Conrad Hall ["American Beauty"] here in America [Deakins is from England]. We actually got to know Connie well.

Q: Do your movies usually turn out like you expect them to?

Roger: Some turn out better than you imagine. When you work on something, it always feels such a compromise. As soon as you pick up a camera, you've compromised on time, schedules, money, whatever. But after a few years, a film can look better than you thought.

James: When we see the first cut, all we see are: We didn't get that shot or we had to cut that shot. So we're not that happy. But five years later, we happen to see a bit on television and go, "That's not so bad."

Q: If we want to see the image as it was meant to be seen in a film, where in the theater should we sit?

Roger: Right in the middle of the auditorium.

James: In Imax, there are only about five seats in the whole theater that are optimal. It may vary by theater but I know that because we were working on an Imax print and they made sure that was where I sat.

If you go

Industry Night with Roger and James Deakins

When: 6 p.m. April 23, Machine Shop, 300 SE 2nd St., Mpls. For information, visit

"Byways" book signing with Roger and James Deakins

When: 4:30 p.m. April 24, Pracna, 117 SE. Main St., Mpls. For tickets, visit

"Fargo" screening and conversation with Roger and James Deakins

When: 7 p.m. April 24, Main Cinema, 115 SE. Main St., Mpls. For information, visit