By Jack Egan
The 11th annual ICG Emerging Cinematographers Awards ceremony, meant to recognize up-and-coming members of Local 600, were given to eight honorees in early October. After the awards were handed out, the winning films were screened at the DGA theater.
According to Rob Kositchek, who is in charge of the program, some 70 entrants submitted DVDs of their films to ICG panels in all three regions — East Coast, Central and West Coast. Judges from each region voted on the final selections.
“The emerging cinematographers that we present to you in this program have proven themselves ready and able to step forward and create images in the service of the story and the director’s vision,” said ICG president Steven Poster. “They are ready to become the cinematographers of the future.”
This year’s winners:
* Michael Alba for History for Kids. The film, directed by Matt Elia, is about an irresponsible and bumbling substitute teacher. Alba has worked as a camera operator on many features, television series and commercials with an occasional turn behind the camera.
* Tim Bellen for Ed Meets His Maker. Directed by Larry Sarezky, the short is about a boy, Albert, and his tortoise, Ed. The tortoise dies suddenly one evening and Albert loses his only friend. Bellen, who has worked his way up through the ranks of the camera department, has shot five shorts over the last six years, including the only film done from a Richard Brautigan story.
* Cameron Duncan for Year of the Dog. Duncan and writer-director Kevin Lau shot the short film in the kitchen of Lau’s parents’ Chinese restaurant in 35mm. It’s about a restaurant owner and his family who are taken hostage on New Year’s Day. The film is screening at various festivals.
* Darren Genet for The Death Strip. The short is about a family’s escape from East Berlin in the 1980s, and the son’s return 10 years later to visit his ailing godmother. Part of it was shot on location with an all-German crew. Genet hopes to turn it into a full-length feature. The director was Nicole Haeusser.
* Christopher Windsor Johnson for Common Practice. The short is about a young boy whose gift for playing the violin brings his East Los Angeles community together. He and director Marcos Efron shot the film in 35mm anamorphic with Panavision C-Prime lenses. Common Practice premiered at the Sundance Film Festival as a special selection.
* Hilda Mercado for La Primavera. The film is about a brief encounter between an American Navy sailor and a Chilean woman who are spending their last afternoon together with her family. Mercado worked closely with director Ruben Obregon. The film was shot in 11 days in Guadalajara, Mexico, and has been shown at several festivals.
* Brian O’Carroll for Cherry Bloom. The film, directed by Alex Moors, is set in a low-income Chinese-American community and is about a 10-year-old girl with prophetic powers. The filmmakers were inspired by the look of 2046, directed by Wong Kar Wai.
* Jozo Zovko for The Morning Fog. The short is about an Indian teenager who disobeys her tradition-bound mother to run off on a school safari in search of an elusive tiger. The film was shot in 35mm in Mumbai and in the jungles surrounding India’s most populous city. The crew, while filming, had to brave torrential monsoon rains.
Written by Jack Egan