Mike Gioulakis

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Mike Gioulakis
Born (1982-09-17) September 17, 1982 (age 40)
Alma materFlorida State University (BFA)
Years active2005–present

Michael Gioulakis (born September 17, 1982) is an American cinematographer, best known for his work with directors David Robert Mitchell, M. Night Shyamalan, and Jordan Peele.

Early life[edit]

Gioulakis was born in Plantation, Florida, and grew up outside Fort Lauderdale.[1][2] He started playing trumpet from a young age, as his mother and father both studied music at Boston University and Berklee College of Music, respectively.[2][3] His father, Dinos, was born in Athens and grew up in Nikaia, Greece. During his senior year of high school, Gioulakis went to Interlocken Center for the Arts, an "arts and musical boarding school," focusing on trumpet performance and minoring in photography. He changed career paths after being inspired by the photography of Gregory Crewdson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Charlie White, and Erwin Olaf.[2] He attended Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.[3]


Early years and It Follows (2007–2014)[edit]

Shortly after his graduation from FSU, Gioulakis made a "no-budget" feature near Philadelphia with friends, then moved to New York where he shot short films, music videos, and worked as a gaffer on some feature films and commercials for companies like Samsung and IBM.[2][3] After "several years" of work in New York, he moved to Los Angeles shortly before the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. He worked in lighting on television series and "stopped pursuing DP work", opting to use the experience to learn as many strategies and problem-solving methods as possible.[2]

In 2010, Gioulakis was contacted to serve as cinematographer for Don Coscarelli's film John Dies at the End, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. This job led to him shooting several more independent feature films, including Dustin Guy Defa's Bad Fever in 2011 and Mike Ott's Pearlblossom Hwy in 2012.[2]

He was hired to shoot the 2014 horror film It Follows.[2] Gioulakis spoke with director David Robert Mitchell on the visual references they wanted to invoke for It Follows, including the films of director John Carpenter, the films Paris, Texas, Blue Velvet, and Rear Window, and the photography of Gregory Crewdson.[4] According to Gioulakis, "about 90 percent" of the film was shot using the Arri Alexa camera, with a Red Epic being utilized for shots requiring a smaller rig. The primary lenses used for filming were the Cooke Optics S4s, with an 18mm lens used for "maybe 80 percent of the film". An Angénieux lens and Arri's Alura lens were also used.[4] For his work, Gioulakis received a nomination for Best Cinematography at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards.[5] The same year, Gioulakis again collaborated with Ott to shoot Lake Los Angeles.[6]

Continued success (2015–present)[edit]

After finishing It Follows, Gioulakis was hired to shoot director M. Night Shyamalan's 2016 film Split. Gioulakis roomed with Shyamalan in Philadelphia and watched various films for visual inspiration, including Michael Haneke's Caché and Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth. Shyamalan noted that a particular style borrowed from Dogtooth was "a character just standing up out of frame or walking out, or you see just their shoulder".[7] The film premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 26, 2016,[8] before being theatrically released in the United States on January 20, 2017.[9] In 2017, he collaborated with Ott a third time to shoot California Dreams.[10]

Gioulakis re-teamed with Mitchell to shoot the neo-noir film Under the Silver Lake which premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or.[11] It is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 19, 2019, over a year after its Cannes premiere.[12] Gioulakis also re-teamed with Shyamalan to lens Split's sequel Glass,[13] which was released in the United States on January 17, 2019.[14] Also in 2019, he served as cinematographer for director Jordan Peele's horror film Us,[15] which premiered at South by Southwest on March 8, 2019,[16] before being released in the United States on March 22, 2019.[17] During a late scene in the film, Gioulakis used a split-focus diopter effect, which was compared to Brian De Palma's style and filmography.[15]

Gioulakis again worked with Shyamalan on the Apple TV+ series Servant, which premiered in November 2019. He served as director of photography for all ten episodes in season 1.[18][19]

In 2022, Gioulakis became a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.[20]



Year Title Director Notes Ref.
2011 Bad Fever Dustin Guy Defa [2]
2012 John Dies at the End Don Coscarelli [2]
Pearblossom Hwy Mike Ott [2]
2014 It Follows David Robert Mitchell Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography[5] [2]
Lake Los Angeles Mike Ott [6]
2016 Split M. Night Shyamalan [7]
2017 California Dreams Mike Ott [10]
2018 Under the Silver Lake David Robert Mitchell [11]
2019 Glass M. Night Shyamalan [13]
Us Jordan Peele [15]
2021 Old M. Night Shyamalan [21]
The Eyes of Tammy Faye Michael Showalter [22]
TBA Reptile Grant Singer Post-production


Year Title Notes Ref.
2019–present Servant 11 episodes [18]


  1. ^ Kalafatis, Joanna (March 26, 2019). "Mike Gioulakis, The Rising Cinematographer Behind "Us"". Greek Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Splice: Mike Gioulakis". Splice. Blackmagic Design. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Heuring, David (April 19, 2017). "10 Cinematographers to Watch in 2017". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Mulcahey, Matt (March 31, 2015). ""We Didn't Have to Add Too Much Creepiness": It Follows DP Mike Gioulakis". Filmmaker. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 27, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Linden, Sheri (June 15, 2014). "'Lake Los Angeles': LAFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Jagernauth, Kevin (January 18, 2017). "M. Night Shyamalan Explains How 'Dogtooth' Influenced 'Split'". The Playlist. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Rife, Katie (September 27, 2016). "James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan crash Fantastic Fest with Split". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  9. ^ Galuppo, Mia (October 27, 2015). "New M. Night Shyamalan Film Gets Title, Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Lodge, Guy (March 14, 2017). "'California Dreams' Review: Hollywood Wannabes in Teasing Docufiction". Variety. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Under the Silver Lake – Festival de Cannes". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Barsanti, Sam (November 1, 2018). "David Robert Mitchell's Under The Silver Lake has been bumped back into next year". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Lawson, Richard (January 9, 2019). "Glass Is a Reflection of M. Night Shyamalan's Peculiar Preoccupations". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Mendelson, Scott (July 20, 2018). "'Glass' Trailer: The Dark M. Night Returns With A Sequel To 'Unbreakable' And 'Split'". Forbes. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c Gullickson, Brad (March 26, 2019). "Deep Focus: 'Us' and The Split Diopter". Film School Rejects. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (January 8, 2019). "Jordan Peele's 'Us' to Open SXSW Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 8, 2019). "Jordan Peele's 'Us' To Hit Theaters A Week Later After Landing SXSW Opening Night Slot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Technicolor's Work on Glass Brings Together the Narratives – the Looks and Colorful Characters – to Complete the M. Night Shyamalan Trilogy". Technicolor SA. February 5, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Edelstein, Robert (October 3, 2019). "M. Night Shyamalan's Apple Series 'Servant' Gets Premiere Date – New York Comic Con". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  20. ^ Williams, David E. (September 16, 2022). "Mike Gioulakis Welcomed as New ASC Member". American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  21. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2020-09-26). "Exclusive: M. Night Shyamalan's 'Old' Is Inspired by Graphic Novel 'Sandcastle'". Collider. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  22. ^ "Michael Gioulakis" (PDF). Gersh. Retrieved November 20, 2019.

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