“To be recognised as a top Australian cinematographer is a great honour,” Martinetti said.
“I am in the company of the best cinematographers in the world who have won Oscars.”
Martinetti, who was born and studied in Rome, left Italy in 1970 for London, where he studied English and developed a strong interest in photography.
After moving to Australia in 1973, Nino studied Art & Design majoring in Photography, Film & Video at Prahran College of Advanced Education in Melbourne.
Now, after more than 40 years as a director of photography and camera operator, Martinetti has received five ACS Bronze Awards, five ACS Silver Awards and seven ACS Gold Awards, before being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
Martinetti is renowned for his long-time association with Australian director Paul Cox, who was one of his teachers in Prahran.
“At the time Paul was experimenting with filmmaking and all the students got involved,” Martinetti said.
“In 1979, Paul was making a feature film titled Kostas, a story about the relationship between a Greek taxi driver (Takis Emmanuael) and an Australian woman (Wendy Hughes).
“I asked him if I could be a camera assistant.”
Martinetti got the job and went on to work on other films with Cox, firstly as a camera assistant, before being promoted to camera operator and finally director of photography on the film Golden Braid, for which he was nominated in 1990 for Best Cinematography at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) (previously the Australian Film Institute Awards (AFI)).
In 1994, Martinetti won the AACTA Award for Best Cinematography for another Cox film, Exile.
Martinetti’s work is steeped in Italian influence, and a strong desire to represent natural light.
“I was born, grew up and studied in Rome therefore my education background unconsciously gave me my style of lighting,” Martinetti said.
“Caravaggio, Raffaello and Rembrandt are the main inspirations for photographers.
“I keep my lighting very simple and very natural.
“The skill is to light artificially and make it look like it is natural.
“When you capture an emotion the audience will remember it forever.”
Martinetti cited Molokai, another film made with Cox, as a favourite film which he has worked on.
The film was shot entirely on location in Hawaii in 1997.
This was also where Martinetti met his Australian “soulmate”.
Martinetti divides his time between the Gold Coast, Queensland and the Italian island of Sardinia, which he describes as “a beautiful island almost like a mini Australia”.
He said that his experience as an Italian migrant in Australia has “not only affected work but everything else in my life: my character, my personality”.
“What I am now is the result of living overseas, adjusting to a new culture, embracing a new way of life and I am happily integrated into the Australian way of life,” he added.
“My induction into the Hall Of Fame of the Australian Cinematographers Society is the best reward I could get.”
Martinetti said he received the email from ACS President Ron Johanson who congratulated him on being inducted in the Hall of Fame.
“It was just a magic moment to finally realise my feeling of love towards my new country was mutual and was reciprocated,” he concluded.