Theo Van de Sande, a graduate of the Dutch Film Academy and an award-winning Cinematographer, started working professionally while still in school. At an early age, Theo found his passion in still photography and earned his first camera by working in the strawberry fields. He decided to try his luck and changed his major from Biochemistry to Cinema after seeing the films of Ingmar Bergman and other European Directors, as well as the Japanese film WOMAN IN THE DUNES.
Amsterdam’s roaring years, filled with optimism, excitement and creative freedom had a big impact on Theo’s new found passion and he chose to shoot the rock-concert film STAMPING GROUNDS, (a European WOODSTOCK) instead of going to his graduation-day ceremony. He became part of an underground film group HET AMSTERDAMS STADSJOURNAAL, but soon left to concentrate on shooting feature films.
Since he still couldn’t let go of the adventure of making documentaries, he shot an expedition film, ORONOQUE, a personal chronicle of a voyage that he and another adventurer took to follow an unknown river called the Oronoque. Carrying a boat, cameras and gear, they physically cut through an inhospitable part of the jungles of South America, where no human being had yet set foot. The film was awarded Best Expedition film at the Trento Film Festival.
In the early eighties, Theo shot and lit a quarter of all the Dutch Cinema that was released and he received THE GOLDEN CALF (the “Dutch Oscar”) for Best Cinematography both in 1982 and 1987—since the award is only given once every five years for a body of work.
Numerous feature films shot in Europe by Theo Van de Sande got international attention including; THE GIRL WITH THE RED HAIR and THE ILLUSIONIST (which received the Dutch Film Critics Award and Best Dutch Film Award,) and THE POINTSMAN, which won the award for Best Cinematography at the Madrid Film Festival.
THE ASSAULT, Theo’s last film in the Netherlands, won the Golden Globe and became the first Dutch feature film to receive the ACADEMY AWARD for Best Foreign Language Film.
By this time, Theo was already scouting his first American film, MIRACLE MILE, starring Anthony Edwards & Mare Winningham and directed by Steve Dejarnett, which had been listed as “one of the 10 best unmade scripts” in Hollywood and after it’s release, became an instant cult film.
After over 25 feature films and documentaries in Europe and around the world, Theo settled in Los Angeles with his wife– filmmaker Michèle Ohayon, and continued to work on a great variety of both studio and independent films. He has shot for such directors as: Gary Fleder, Mick Jackson, Carl Franklin, Lasse Hallstrom, Garry Marshall, Joan Micklin Silver, and the legendary Robert Wise.
His critically acclaimed and iconic work includes: BLADE, CRUEL INTENTIONS, MIRACLE MILE, CROSSING DELANCEY, ONCE AROUND, VOLCANO, OUT OF TIME, TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, and HOMEFRONT.
While Theo has worked in virtually every genre, WAYNE’S WORLD was his first comedy, which led to many more successful comedies including BIG DADDY and GROWN UPS.
Theo has continued his love of documentaries and has co-produced several award- winning documentaries with his partner Michèle Ohayon, including COLORS STRAIGHT UP which was nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD, DGA AWARD and SPIRIT AWARD for Best Feature Length Documentary along with winning 13 national awards, STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME, which received the prestigious Yad Vashem award, Sonoma Festival Audience Award and screened at the United Nations, and COWBOY DEL AMOR, which won the Jury and Audience award at the SXSW festival, an IDA Nomination and several other national awards.
In the television world, he worked with director Mick Jackson on the pilot for THE PRACTICE, TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE starring Jack Lemmon, which won an Emmy, a DGA award and was nominated for a Golden Globe, and THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER starring Emily Watson, which was also nominated for an Emmy.
He recently completed the feature film HOMEFRONT for director Gary Fleder, for whom he has also shot four TV pilots. Theo’s latest two-hour pilot DELIVERANCE CREEK, a period piece set during the Civil War and directed by Jon Amiel, will air in 2014 as a movie for television.
Theo speaks English, French, German and Dutch fluently, and has shot all over the world, including England, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, South Africa, Uganda, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Surinam, 8 Gulf States, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, China, Canada and the US.