Born in Mexico City, the cinematographer Alexander Martinez traveled to Westeros on the occasion of his involvement in the epic series the house of the dragon. After serving as director of photography for three episodes of its first season —including the dramatic chapter five—, this HBO production is probably the most popular title in his filmography today. But Martínez’s resume certainly covers more than 15 years of experience and twenty projects for film and television.
The desire to capture images runs in the family. Alejandro Martínez is the grandson of Raul Martinez Solares, director of photography for more than 270 films; many of them, conceived during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. His grandfather even worked with prominent director Luis Buñuel on films like The illusion travels by tram Y The river and deathboth released in 1954.
On the other hand, Alejandro Martínez’s great-uncle —and Raúl’s brother— was Gilberto Martinez Solares. That is to say, a filmmaker who has more than a hundred credits as a screenwriter and director; Ariel Award nominee for Five women’s faces (1947) and responsible for discovering the famous comedian Germán Valdez, ‘Tin Tan’, with whom he produced thirty films.
From terror to Goya
Active since 2000, Alejandro Martínez spent five years making short films and a music video for Colombian singer Juanes. But in 2006, he made the leap to the big screen through horror movies. Surviveby William Brent Bell, and the Mexican Kilometer 31, by Rigoberto Castaneda. She collaborated again with the latter in Caught up (2008). And a year before, she directed the photography of the Mexican comedy Christmas, SA (2007) with Pedro Armendáriz Jr. as Santa Claus.
Later, Martínez placed himself under the command of the Spanish filmmaker Gabe Ibáñez, with whom he made Iron (2009). It is a suspenseful film that contended for the Golden Camera at the Cannes Film Festival; a category that rewards the best debut feature screened in one of the sections of the prestigious French competition.
Five years later, he premiered Automaton (2014), a science fiction feature film directed by Ibáñez himself. But in addition, it was produced and starred by Antonio Banderas. The film earned four Goya Award nominations; among them, that of Best Photography for Alejandro Martínez.
In interview with Reformthe cinematographer declared at the time that working with Banderas was an experience similar to “having your best friend supporting you all the time”.
Dragons on the small screen
In terms of television productions in Mexico, Alejandro Martínez has lent his eye to the anthology series M13dos (2007) and crime drama Here in the earth (2018-2020). Properly in the United States, his skills as a cinematographer were required for the pilot episode of the series scream (2015-2019), from MTV, and the one from the queen of the south (2016-2021), from Telemundo.
Later, he participated in the angel of darknessthe second season of the period series The Alienist with Dakota Fanning and Daniel Brühl. In this production, Martínez coincided for the first time with the director Clare Kilner, who commanded the two episodes that featured the Mexican as director of photography. And, after repeating his complicity in the show The Mosquito Coast of Apple TV Plus, the paths of Kilner and Martínez crossed again in the house of the dragon.
Director and cinematographer became inseparable to erect three of the episodes of the first season of this prequel series of Game of Thrones. Specifically, it was the fourth, fifth and ninth episodes. In this way, Martínez’s lens has had the opportunity to portray the nightlife of King’s Landing, the misty shores of Driftmark -where House Velaryon resides- and a wedding full of paraphernalia… with the risk that the ceremony ends in tragedy, as is tradition in Westeros.
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It should be noted that, among the behind-the-scenes peculiarities of the house of the dragonhighlights the use of wrap-around LED screens —a technology similar to that used in The Mandalorian— to project landscapes in real time during shooting. This involved an arduous task of synchronization between said technology and the cameras led by Martínez. Therefore, the challenge was to break stone and experiment, in the words of the Goya nominee.
“One of the showrunners, Miguel Sapochnik, when we arrived in England, the first thing he told us was: ‘Imagine that you come to make three films. That is going to be the mentality, the wear and tear, the energy, the time,’” he told Reform.
In cinema, the last credits of Alejandro Martínez were the Mexican comedies A father not so father (2016) and the recent release when i’m younga film with Verónica Castro that has been showing in Mexican theaters since last September 15.
the house of the dragon currently airing on HBO and HBO Max, a new episode every Sunday.
Antonio G. Spindola I have very bad memory. Out of solidarity with my memories, I choose to lose myself too. Preferably in a movie theater.