Following the February 20 death of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones on set in rural Georgia, American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) President Richard Crudo has placed blame for the tragedy on what he calls an industry-wide “spiritual sickness.” “The public outpouring of grief by individuals and groups connected to the camera department was remarkable, but the fact that it came almost exclusively from us uncovered a dark secret most of us have known for quite some time: This industry is in trouble, and I don’t mean economically, but spiritually,” he wrote in an open letter posted on the org’s website and published in the May issue of ASC’s American Cinematographer. The American Pie and Justified DP also calls on his fellow directors of photography to effect change on their sets post-Sarah Jones to ensure the safety of their crew:
Related: Gregg Allman Files Lawsuit To Stop ‘Midnight Rider’ Film
Details surrounding the February death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia have been well documented, but something important has been lost in the reportage. The facts, as they’ve been related, describe a horrible and preventable tragedy. The public outpouring of grief by individuals and groups connected to the camera department was remarkable, but the fact that it came almost exclusively from us uncovered a dark secret most of us have known for quite some time: This industry is in trouble, and I don’t mean economically, but spiritually.
From time to time, the late ASC legend William A. Fraker liked to hold court in the Clubhouse bar and expound upon the early days of his career. “Those were the good days,” he was fond of saying. “You could feel the romance when you went to work.” His emotion was palpable, and those of us lucky enough to be there believed his every word. But look a little deeper, and his sentiment becomes more than a nostalgic reference to the era of highballs and unfiltered cigarettes. He was really talking about the feeling of family and community that infused the movie business of his day.
Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
According to Fraker, filmmaking collaborators showed a genuine caring for one another that extended well beyond the workplace. Though a similar ethic may exist in isolated pockets today, it bears no relation to its predecessor. There is no question that in the 1940s and ’50s, and even up to the ’70s, society had a sharper understanding of what was really lasting and meaningful in life. On the soundstages of 2014, it’s likely those notions of warmth and common decency will prevail only as long as they can generate cold, hard cash.
I am by no means suggesting the past was rampant with peace, love and understanding. There were plenty of things wrong with our culture then, and there was no way for Fraker to know it was already beginning to unravel. But if we’re honest, his gauzy recollections force us to confront uncomfortable truths about how we think of and treat one another, even in the smallest of ways.
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UPDATED WITH FULL LIST OF WINNERS: Gravity director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki won the Feature Film honor tonight at the 28th Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards. “The movie could not be shot in space, so big parts were shot in the computer and were part of creating these images and that’s something I’ve never done before,” he told Deadline. “I think it’s something we’re going to see more of.” Lubezki previously won ASC Awards for The Tree Of Life (2012) and Children Of Men (2007), and was also nominated in 2000 for Sleepy Hollow. Lubezki was one of five ASC nominees who also received Oscar nods this year and the win certainly gives him a boost.
Related: OSCARS: Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention For ‘Gravity’ Cinematographer
But before next month’s Oscars, Lubezki will dive into his next project – in fact, he’s starting in a matter of hours. “I’m doing almost the opposite [of Gravity],” he told me minutes after his ASC win. “At 4 AM I have to drive to the desert because I start a movie with my friend Rodrigo Garcia with Ewan McGregor. It’s a tiny little beautiful, extraordinary script that Rodrigo wrote that we’re going to shoot for five weeks.” Lubezki told me he likes shooting both film and digital but will be using the Arri Alexa on the Garcia picture. “I wish I could do the movie in 65mm, but we cannot afford it!”
The touchy subject of the industry’s transition from film to digital emerged a few times during tonight’s awards dinner at the Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood. First, the night’s opening montage reel pointedly began with a clip from Boogie Nights in which Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) passionately declares his loyalty to celluloid (“I’m a filmmaker, which is why I will never make a movie on tape”). Later, presenter John Carpenter made a sly dig at the digital future. (More from Carpenter below.)
On the TV side, Jeremy Benning, CSC, took the TV Movie/Miniseries win for National Geographic Channel’s Killing Lincoln; the One-Hour Episodic Television Series nod went to Jonathan Freeman, ASC for HBO’s Game of Thrones (“Valar Dohaeris”) and Half-Hour Episodic Series went to Blake McClure for Comedy Central’s Drunk History (“Detroit”). This was McClure and Benning’s first ASC nomination and Freeman’s fourth ASC Award. Freeman’s other wins were for Boardwalk Empire (2012, 2011) and Homeland Security in (2005). He has also earned ASC noms for Taken (2003), Strange Justice (2000) and Prince Street (1998).
HBO, Starz Lead ASC TV Nominees
Lensers Announce ASC Film Read More »
HBO and Starz garnered three nominations each as the American Society of Cinematographers announced its TV nominees for the ASC Awards today. Winners will be announced at the 28th ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography set for February 1 at Hollywood & Highland Ray Dolby Ballroom. Here are the noms:
One-Hour Episodic Television Series
Steven Bernstein, ASC for Starz Network’s Magic City (“The Sins of the Father”)
David Franco for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (“Erlkönig”)
Jonathan Freeman, ASC for HBO’s Game of Thrones (“Valar Dohaeris”)
Pierre Gill, CSC for Showtime’s The Borgias (“The Purge”)
David Greene, CSC for The CW’s Beauty And the Beast (“Tough Love”)
Anette Haellmigk for HBO’s Game Of Thrones (“Kissed by Fire”)
Kramer Morgenthau, ASC for Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (“Pilot”)
Ousama Rawi, BSC, CSC for NBC’s Dracula (“The Blood is the Life”)
Half-Hour Episodic Series
Peter Levy, ACS, ASC for Showtime’s House Of Lies (“The Runner Stumbles”)
Matthew J. Lloyd, CSC for Amazon’s Alpha House (“Pilot”)
Blake McClure for Comedy Central’s Drunk History (“Detroit”)
Jeremy Benning, CSC for National Geographic Channel’s Killing Lincoln
David Luther for Starz Network’s The White Queen (“War at First Hand”)
Ashley Rowe, BSC for Starz Network’s Dancing On The Edge (Episode 1.1)
Richard Crudo served three terms as president of the American Society of Cinematographers during the mid-’00s, and he’s back atop the guild after eight years. The Brooklyner — whose DP credits include FX’s Justified along with the features American Pie and My Sexiest Year — was voted to the top post by the ASC board, which also announced today that it has elected Owen Roizman, Kees Van Oostrum and Lowell Peterson as VPs. Other officers tapped include Treasurer Victor J. Kemper, Secretary Fred Goodich, and Sergeant-at-Arms Isidore Mankofsky.
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Skyfall director of photography Roger Deakins won the Feature Film honor tonight at the 27th annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards, two years after he won the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Deakins, who didn’t attend because he is working on the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prisoners, now becomes a frontrunner for the Oscar in the category, after Life Of Pi‘s director of photography Claudio Miranda won the BAFTA earlier in the day in London. (The ASC Awards noms pretty much mirror the Oscar nominees this year, with Deakins, Miranda, Anna Karenina’s Seamus McGarvery and Lincoln’s Janusz Kaminski nominated by both organizations. The only difference: Les Miserables’ Danny Cohen was up for an ASC Award and not an Oscar, and Django Unchained’s Robert Richardson is up for an Oscar but not an ASC.)
It was Deakins’ third win and 11th nomination for an ASC Award, having won previously for Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn’t There. His wife James accepted the award onstage at the ceremony, held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. She read a note he had prepared: “I share this award with everyone who worked on the production…filmmaking is truly a collaborative privilege.”
Deakins’ win for the James Bond pic capped a night in which Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance to introduce the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dean Semler, her DP on her 2011 directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey and on Disney’s Maleficent, in which she stars. “I called him up to help me on a film I was directing, not thinking I’d get him”, she said in her intro. ‘Who can shoot it like you can?’ I asked. He said me, and did it. After the call, I’m not embarrassed to say I danced around the room”. Said Semler: “Angie, you’re amazing and we’re so glad you’re here …. This award has to be the greatest any cinematographer can reach for”. Read More »
Fox garnered three nominations as the American Society of Cinematographers announced TV nominees for its ASC Awards. Winners will be unveiled at the 27th ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography set for February 10 at Hollywood & Highland. The film nominations will be announced January 9. Here are the noms: Read More »
The American Society of Cinematographers have announced the feature film nominees for its 26th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards. The winner is to be announced at a ceremony February 12 at Hollywood & Highland. Last year, Wally Pfister won for Inception and went on to take the Oscar as well. This year’s noms:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Hoyte van Hoytema
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Tree Of Life
Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Faces Six-Year Stretch
Iranian Actress Faces Flogging Over Film
In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world. Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
The following entertainment industry organizations stand united in their support for the rights of these artists and call for their immediate release.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
As an international organization representing over 6000 artists in 35 countries, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. The recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers, the sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues around the world in calling unequivocally
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