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Caleb Deschanel honoured at Hollywood Fest


Oscar(R)-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (ASC) will be this year's recipient of the "Hollywood CINEMATOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Award." In addition, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) will mark its 85th anniversary at the Hollywood Film Festival, which takes place October 12 to 18 at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood.

"Mr. Deschanel is undoubtedly one of Hollywood's finest cinematographers. His artistry is memorable and his films reflect his outstanding talent," festival founder Carlos de Abreu said.

Among Deschanel's early film credits are "The Black Stallion" and "Being There." He received consecutive Academy Award(R) nominations in 1984 and 1985 for "The Right Stuff" and "The Natural." He also photographed Columbia Pictures' "Fly Away Home" in 1996, for which he was nominated for both Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers and Best Cinematography by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Deschanel has also photographed "Anna and the King" (starring Jodie Foster) and in 2001 was nominated for yet another Academy Award(R) for "The Patriot," which captured the American Society of Cinematographers' Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography award. Deschanel's other features include "The Hunted," starring Benicio Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones, Paramount
Pictures' "Timeline," Mel Gibson's mega box office success "The Passion of the Christ," and the upcoming movie "National Treasure," starring Nicolas Cage and Harvey Keitel.

HFF's celebration of the ASC's 85th anniversary will focus on an open dialogue about the past, present and future of the art of filmmaking and will be comprised of conferences with topics that include discussions among members of ASC and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) exploring options for preserving past and current films as a heritage for future fans. In addition, screenings showcasing films with outstanding cinematography followed by Q/A sessions and networking parties will take place. The festivities will culminate with a special tribute to ASC and its membership at the prestigious Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on October 18 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

"We are proud to celebrate ASC's 85th anniversary. We want to make sure that Hollywood's heritage is preserved," HFF's Carlos de Abreu said.

"We applaud the Hollywood Film Festival for their passionate commitment to the art of filmmaking," said Richard Crudo, president of the American Society of Cinematographers. "This festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers from around the world to discuss issues and share ideas with the moviegoing public. We are dedicated to advancing the art of filmmaking. ASC is also committed to playing a leadership role in assuring that future generations of fans will experience films the way they were intended to be seen by the artists who created them."

The ASC traces its roots to 1913 when cinematographers in Los Angeles and New York organized clubs which met informally to share ideas about visual storytelling and also to resolve technical problems. They were literally inventing a new language. Almost all other jobs in the collaborative process of moviemaking had existed for thousands of years dating back to the ancient Greek theater. A big difference between the mediums was that in the theater, audiences experienced plays from the perspective of their seats.

Early cinematographers discovered that where they placed and how they moved cameras and composed images affected the emotional content of films. They could come in closer for intimate encounters with characters or move back for more abstract points-of-view. They experimented with intercutting parallel scenes and used double exposures and matte shots to put live-action film of characters in different backgrounds.

Billy Bitzer perfected such techniques as fade-outs, backlighting, close-ups and soft focuses. In 1913, he installed a diaphragm in his personal camera which allowed him to go to black in between scenes. Bitzer and other cinematographers also used that technique to use selective focus to draw attention to characters and objects in scenes.

Other early cinematographers experimented with using light and darkness to create a sense of time and place and to amplify moods. They also played with speeding up or slowing down time depending on how fast they cranked film through their cameras.

By the fall of 1918, much of the motion picture industry had migrated to Los Angeles. The two original camera clubs had dissolved and 15 of their former members met at William C. Foster's home in Los Angeles on December 18, 1918. They organized the American Society of Cinematographers that evening, and elected Phil Rosen as their first president. ASC was chartered by the state of California on January 8, 1919.

Their purpose was to advance the collaborative art of filmmaking. Membership was by invitation based on the artfulness of the individual's body of work. Joe August and Charles Rosher were the first members with ASC after their names on screen credits. By the early 1920s, ASC on-screen credits were recognized as a symbol of artistry.

There were 130 ASC members by the early 1930s. By then, the organization had embraced Karl Freund and other European cinematographers who had migrated to the U.S. to get out from under the heels of the Nazi regime in Germany.

ASC moved into its historic Hollywood clubhouse in 1936. The building was one of the first residences constructed in a new development called Hollywoodland in 1903. Silent movie star Conway Tearle owned the house during the '20s.

ASC broadened its base during the 1960s to include cinematographers who were filming narrative stories for television, and also the world's most talented visual effects artists. Stanley Cortez, ASC, described the ASC mission in August 1977: "To advance the art of cinematography through artistry and technological progressŠ to exchange ideasŠ to cement a closer relationship among cinematographers and associate membersŠ to help perpetuate what has become the most important medium the world has known." While ASC has continued evolving, each succeeding generation of members have never lost sight of the original mission of the founders.
Some 270 active cinematographers and about 140 associate members from allied sectors of the motion picture industry belong to ASC today. ASC will host its 19th Annual Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 6, 2005.

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