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Neal L. Fredericks

Jeff Tanner

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I just received word that Cinematographer Neal L. Fredericks died over the weekend while shooting aerials in Florida. According to reports everyone else in the single engine plane survived (four people) but Neal did not. He was strapped into the plane with a camera and went down with the wreckage.


Neal was probably best known for his work on "The Blair Witch Project" but has many other credits to his name, both features and commercials.


While I did not know Neal personally, he was a contributor to this forum and it is sad to lose someone from our motion picture fraternity.






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I'm very sorry to hear that. It felt just like yesterday I answered or read one of his posts - which to me almost is a little bit like knowing that person here on the forum...


I also heard today that an old childhood girlfriend had died from cancer at the age of 32 -

leaving a little daughter 3 years of age..


Sad day.


R.I.P. Neal and Leonida.

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Such a tragedy. We sent each other several E-mails, and he was extremely articulate and very nice. I think its no understatement to say that BWP redefined our notion of what the horror film is, and what it is capable of. I count him as a friend lost, and I am sure that many on this very board feel the same way, even if we never had got around to having a beer with him. He and his family will certainly be in our prayers.


If you view the first link that Wendell posted, there is a very tasteless, cartoonish image of a plane crashing on that page. I find that to be very stupid and insulting, and I know that Neal's family would not appreciate the putzes who run that site announcing the death of a loved one with such a disregard for something as basic as good taste. What else is there to say?



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It?s with a heavy heart that I write this. Since learning about this tragedy this morning I haven?t been able to stop thinking about how fragile life is. I know many of you on this board have had the pleasure of knowing Neal, and I?m sure you can all testify to his good nature; always eager to help and willing to give advice. Neal was a young man taken from us before his time. Yet despite his youth, he was already an accomplished cinematographer having shot over 25 feature films. Film was his life and he was living his dream. Like many of us, his home is filled with motion picture paraphernalia; posters, trinkets and antiques. On the dashboard of his car he proudly displayed an oversized beanie of his most recognized effort, ?The Blair Witch Project.? Everywhere he went, he brought his portable DVD player so that he would never be too far from the classics. He simply loved film and although disastrous, he died doing what he loved.


Nevertheless, Neal Fredericks did not lose his life in vain for I have taken a valuable lesson; as I hope that all of you do as well. Stop waiting, stop procrastinating and do those things that you have always wanted to do. Instead of delaying for the right time, make the time. I personally have found the motivation to go and shoot my personal project in a timely manner as there is really no sense in delaying.


I want to give me deepest regards to the family and friends of Neal Fredericks. He was a good man and a good friend. His name will live long after we all pass away in the films that he has made.


Neal Fredericks taking readings of Edward Furlong in El Intermedio


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Very sad news.  At least he was doing what he loved when he died.

Indeed - This is sad news, but it is very nice to know that, as you said, he was doing what he loved when he passed.


And as for that cartoon image... What the hell?! That just makes me angry - such disrespect. :angry:

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And as for that cartoon image... What the hell?! That just makes me angry - such disrespect.

God...what butts. I cannot articulate the rage I feel that some pig would even imagine doing something like that on a news page. I've demanded they remove it at once. Join me and E-mail them. :angry: :angry: :angry:

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This is a sad, horrible thing.

Just the thing that makes me afraid of flying, and yes, it makes us all realize how fragile and temporary life is.

Many thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.


And as for the comment about "why couldn't it have been Michael Bay", I find that extremely crass, in bad taste, and I think this isn't the time or place to publicly vent how you wish someone were dead, simply because you don't like his films or heard he's a jerk. But I guess some people value life less than others.


Matt Pacini

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Wow, what a shock. Neal provided some very helpful and insightful posts. I occasionally felt like I knew him as I frequently discovered we were "up" for the same jobs. We've lost a gifted talent.


As a side note, I have a pilot's license and can not imagine why on god's green earth any pilot would be taking passengers aloft with the kind of weather Florida recently experienced, though I'm not sure if this was after the storm had already passed. Regardless, we all must take extra special when we are putting ourselves in harm's way to "get the shot."


I remember when I was 18 strapping into the side on a Bell 206 (sans door) with an Eclair NPR with only a lapbelt and a peice of G-tape around it securing the camera and myself. We flew at 3500 feet from Malibu to the Valley to get our opening shot. I nearly lost the camera twice in some turbulence but held onto it as if it were gold. I did everything I could to make sure I would get the shot as we only could afford the chopper for 2 takes. In hindsight, I will let specialists do the aerial work from now on.


God speed Neal.

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God bless him and everyone else. I'll say Kaddish for him this friday at Synagouge.



I beleive it was Graham Greene who wrote, "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God." We must have faith that Neal is in a better place, and take this tragedy as the impetus to get on with things. I'll miss talking with him, and, although I never met him in person, I feel that we as a community have suffered a true loss, and I can only offer my sympathy to his family. At least we have his films to remember him by.

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One of my sad thoughts is that I put off his offer to get together for lunch or a drink sometime soon. You think you have all the time in the world for these things.


I have a photo of him and I on my refrigerator at home, a silly shot of our heads between the cardboard heads of the "Nutty Professor 2" cut-outs at the Fuji Show-Bix Expo booth some years ago. That was the first time we met. I think we had a drink together at some Panavision party just a year or so ago and chatted for hours. I had complimented him on the photos from his shoot posted in American Cinematographer, something shot in Tahiti.


A sad day.

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What a tragic loss. I am sure he is with God now, and I know that in Heaven he will be met with the greatest love. My prayers go out to his family and friends, and of course for him. May God watch over him. I never met him, but I felt I knew him through these boards. He seemed to be an absolutely wonderful guy, and an immensely talented cinematographer, as well. While he is gone now, a part of him will always be with us, in the films he that he spent his life crafting. Be in peace.

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It's a tragic loss. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of a fine fallen artist. If there is any consolation to be had, it's that we at least have his work to remember him by and that Mr. Fredricks died doing what he loved. Film is forever and so is his work.

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It is with tremendous sadness that I write to you today to inform you of the loss of Neal Fredericks.  Neal was involved in a plane crash on Saturday in the Florida Keys, while shooting a film.


My name is Matt Compton.  I probably haven't met most of you, but I was a close friend of Neal's.  I'm sending you this email because you were listed in his email address book.  I don't know how well you may have known Neal, but I thought it would be a good idea to notify you just in case.


For those of you that would like more information on the accident, you can read the news article on this page:




Below is the funeral information, as well as other notes.


The funeral will be on Friday, August 20 @ 12:00 PM at:


Westminster Memorial Park

14801 Beach Blvd.

Westminster, CA 92683

(714) 893-2421


Neal's family has expressed how much they would appreciate as many of his friends attending as possible, to help say goodbye to him.


Anyone wishing to send flowers may do so at the above address.  Anyone wishing to send a card should sent it to the Fredericks' home address, which is:


Carl & Judy Fredericks

12333 Shadetree Lane

Laurel, MD 20708


A friend of Neal's has suggested placing an ad in one of the filmmaking trade magazines (either The Hollywood Reporter or Variety), in memory of Neal.  Anyone interested in donating to help pay for the ad should email me, as I will coordinate this with the person who will be creating the ad.


A bulletin board on the web has been set up for people who wish to share their stories, thoughts and memories of Neal.  The address is:




Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who knew Neal.  I'm trying to reach everyone I can, but I am sure there will be people that I don't have contact info for.


If you need to reach me for any reason, please feel free to contact me at this address, or either of my phone numbers:


Home: 818-609-0266

Cell: 310-429-1473


Take care,


Matt Compton


Matt's Email is mcomp@sbcglobal.net if you want to donate for the ad; I think it is a good idea.

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