- LOS ANGELES
In his opening remarks on Sunday (9/30) at the 2018 Emerging Cinematographer Awards (ECA) ceremony and screening, the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) was described by its president, Steven Poster, ASC, as “the only organization in the world that honors its newest talent.”
And it’s an honor, continued Poster, that gives a pivotal “career boost to deserving union members not yet designated as directors of photography.” Earning ECA distinction is a momentum builder that is “most needed on the front end of their professional journey,” said Poster who noted that he wishes such a competition existed when he was coming up through the ranks.
In its 22 years, the ECA has received more than 1,000 short film entries from camera operators and assistants. Shorts from nine ICG members made the grade this time around. The 2018 class of ECA honorees consists of:
- Hunter Robert Baker for shooting Peacock Killer.
- Tommy Daguanno for Detroit Diamond.
- Drew Dawson for Demon.
- T. Acton Fitzgerald for Instrusions.
- Clifford Jones for Baby Steps.
- Martin Moody for Goldblooded.
- Alicia Robbins for Internet Gangsters.
- Gus Sacks for Embalmer.
- David Stragmeister for Intergalactic Samurai.
The ECA drew another capacity crowd to the DGA Theater in Los Angeles and is set to go on tour with screenings and award ceremonies at the SVA Theatre in New York City on Oct. 28, and at both The Logan Theatre in Chicago and the SCADshow in Atlanta on Nov. 4.
Career advice, promoting safety
Besides showcasing work, the ECA proceedings provided practical career advice to the nine honorees. The day prior to the DGA Theater screening, the ECA winners gathered at ICG headquarters in Hollywood to gain expertise form a trio of DP agents: Erin Searcy and Steve Jacobs of WPA, and Bill Dispoto of Dattner Dispoto and Associates.
Director and DP Jim Matlosz, chairman of the ICG's ECA committee, noted that the agents offered career counsel, standards for professional behavior, and stressed the importance of safety. Being safety conscious is “what this union is about,” affirmed Matlosz.
Poster expounded on that in a brief conversation with SHOOT prior to the DGA Theater screening. “Keeping our members and the industry at large safe has always been at the forefront of what we do,” stressed Poster. “And it became the most pressing priority after Sarah (Jones) died.”
Jones, an IATSE Local 600 camera assistant camerawoman, was killed on Feb. 20, 2014, while on location in Georgia for the filming of a movie about singer Gregg Allman. Jones, 27, died after being struck by a train on tracks spanning the Altamaha River southwest of Savannah.
Jones’ tragic death became a call to action for the ICG to help raise the safety-consciousness of the industry. Thus the safety message is paramount when counseling the next generation of cinematographers.
Poster also cited the creation of ICG’s safety app which provides tools needed to help maintain a safe workplace. The app provides access to info on assorted fronts, answers to frequently asked questions, safety bulletins, and a conduit through which long hours or other potential hazards can be reported.
The ECA weekend actually kicked off on Friday (9/28) with the presentation of special awards at the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood, Calif. Recipients were Rachel Morrison, ASC, Amy Vincent, ASC and Anne Thompson, editor at large for IndieWire.
Morrison, who this year became the first women cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar (for Mudbound), earned the Canon Award for the Advancement of Cinematography,’
Thompson was given the Technicolor William A. Fraker Award for covering the film and TV industry from the perspective of cinematography.
And Vincent was presented with the ASC Cinematography Mentor of the Year Award. Vincent is known for the teaching and counsel she provides for ICG members. She is a prime example of an ECA honoree who has gone on to attain industry success with such lensing credits as Hustle and Flow, Eve’s Bayou, and The Caveman’s Valentine.