August 18, 2004 by

Neal Fredericks

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Categories: Hollywood

Neal Leslie Fredericks, the cinematographer of “The Blair Witch Project,” died on Aug. 14 in a plane crash. He was 35.
The Los Angeles resident was studying TV production at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., when he met aspiring screenwriter Eduardo Sanchez. They became a movie-making team, with Sanchez directing and penning the scripts and Fredericks operating the camera. Together they produced two full-length pictures (“Videoall” and “Gabriel’s Dream”) and a short film (“Resurrection”).
In 1997, Sanchez and screenwriter Dan Myrick tapped Fredericks to be the director of photography on the independent film, “The Blair Witch Project.” When “Blair Witch” was released two years later, it became a cultural phenomenon and a box office smash that grossed more than $240 million worldwide.
During the course of his career, Fredericks shot commercials, music videos and nearly two dozen movies. He was shooting footage from inside a single-engine Cessna on Saturday when the plane went into the ocean. The pilot and three other members of the film crew managed to crawl out of the wreckage and were later rescued by rangers from the Dry Tortugas National Park. On Sunday, Fredericks’s body was found inside the submerged plane by a team of U.S. Army Special Forces divers.

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