Emerging Cinematographer Award Films 2011

2011 Emerging Cinematographer Awards (ECA) Honoree Films to Screen at ITSA Film Festival Gala Night

ITSA Film Festival is receiving eight honored films of the 2011 ECA. There are also two honorable mentions, selected out of a total of 70 entries. We’re delighted that one of these films stars Jason Alexander with many other well-known industry pros. The film he is in is called “Not Your Time”. The Festival is screening these films only five days after the ECA’s premiere at the Director’s Guild of America Theatre in Los Angeles on September 25th. We are the first festival to screen them even before their own New York event, which is a huge honor for a festival as young as ITSA. ECA is open only to members of the International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600 of the IATSE). They have more than 6,000 members. In the films that will be screened, please find the various crafts represented. Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, Optical Operators, Camera Assistants, Technocrane Operators, Camera Utility, Loaders, News Photojournalists, Visual Effects Supervisors, Visual Effects Photographers, Animation Operators, Video Controllers, Digital Imaging Technicians, Digital Utility, Sports Photographers, Preview Technicians, Still Photographers, Publicists.


Yueni Zander — A former dancer born and raised in Berlin, is of German-Asian descent. She migrated to New York City in 2000 to pursue her BFA in Theater Arts with a focus on directing and choreography. When her studies were finished she started work as a camera assistant in television and motion picture production. She joined Local 600 in 2005, at which she was taken under the wing of Bobby Mancuso and Scott Tinsley as a loader. Yueni was accepted as a Cinematography Fellow at AFI in 2008 and she received the Women in Film grant by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Since her graduation in December 2010 she has been splitting her time between New York and Los Angeles. Dead Grass, Dry Roots is her AFI thesis film, in collaboration with director Gabe Hohreiter, writer Anayat Fakhraie, producers John Negropontes, Marlena Feehery and editor Simon Carmody. This is a western set in 1864 Utah, shot in Simi Valley over six days with a Sony F900. The story follows James Hickock who tries to redeem himself following the brutal murder of his son Noah, by overcoming his own cowardice in order to save anothers life.


Joseph Arena — Born in Rome, Italy Joseph spent his teenage years making movies and pasta. He was already in film school at the age of 14, working as Assistant on various projects in Italy. He came to Los Angeles in 2003 where he became a Camera Operator, furthering his training in Steadicam. Applebox was born out of a friendship with 1st Assistant Cameraman Rick Page back in 2004, when they first worked together. They continued to work together on a number of shorts, national industrials and music videos. While filming No God, No Master in Milwaukee they met actor James Madio. Madio and Page wrote the script for Applebox on their return to Los Angeles. Page directed the 29 minute short which tells of James Bronson, a Hollywood mega-star at the height of his stardom who is lost along with what put him there in the first placea full applebox. Arena says that he became interested in shooting AppleBox because he saw cinematic possibilities in the variety of scenes. Having to recreate parodies of great films, as well as carry the main character through his journey (of comedy mixed with underlying tones of seriousness)I thought the range was both smart and challenging for a short film. It helps tremendously when the director comes from a career in camera, because Rick and I could speak the language more easily. AppleBox was shot with two Red One cameras and Zeiss primes, and a Canon 7D. With a large number of locations to be covered in just five days a small splinter unit was created to get a good variety of B-roll and establishing shots. Says Arena, I wanted to create two distinguishable looks, one for the peak of the main characters career and one for his downfall to reality. Camera credits: Camera package provided by 16:9 Productions, Ruben F. Russ Steadicam: Joseph Arenas, SOC and Sergio De Luca Camera Operators: Sergio DeLuca, Patrick Meade Jones 1st Assistants: Garret Shannon, Carlo Rinaldi Digital Loader: Evan Harbuck Still photographer: Katie Connette Gaffer: Hollywood Heard


Steve Romano — Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Steve Romano grew up in a creative environment. His father was a commercial artist, and Steves own early interests were art as well as music. As a drummer, he still plays with bands in and around the city. After studying film and television, with a minor in art, his first film job was actually as a PA/set builder for a low-budget porn company. The guy told me he did horror movies, Steve recalls with appropriate amusement. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Money disputes ended the brief porn career, and Steve found his way to a series of staff positions, first with APA Studios, a special effects company and then to commercial production at One Such Films, Wildlife Management, and 50 Mile Radius working with TableTop Director Bruce Nadel. Currently a DIT/Cameraman in NYC, Steve is a Phantom camera pioneer. He beta tested the Phantom HD for Vision Research, as well as owning one of the first manufactured HDs. Steve admits, Its still magic to see 1000 fps played back immediately. Photographer Zach Gold contacted Steve regarding a fashion art film he wanted to direct, String Theory. After an initial collaborative meeting, Steve realized the short would bypass typical Hollywood concerns of narrative and character motivation that have driven fashion on film till now in favor of haunting imagery. String Theory takes the viewer on the journey of a young girl experiencing brief rifts in the continuity of her reality. An artistic collaboration between director Zach Gold and the cult fashion label A.F.Vandevorst, this film is about the continuity of presence and beauty, which are intruded upon by moments of destabilization. Entirely shot with Phantom Cameras and Leicia Lenses, the short is being regarded as a new genre in the fashion industry.


David Mahlman — Los Angeles based camera operator David Mahlman grew up in the Chicago area. He became interested in photography and movies at a young age and during high school decided to work in the motion picture business. David studied the art of filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago. He enhanced his cinematography skills through the study of painting and various seminars including classes at the Rockport Maine Workshops. He worked as a camera assistant for over 10 years before making the leap to camera operator. He joined the guild in 2000. David has worked on numerous projects throughout his career including studio features, independent films, commercials, industrials and documentaries. His work experience has enabled him the opportunity to work along side such cinematographers as Peter Biziou, BSC, Bill Butler, ASC and Albert Maysles, ASC. Since 2004 he has been an active member of the Society of Camera Operators, having recently served on the SOC Board as vice president, corporate liaison, and producer of their 2011 Life Time Achievement Awards show. Numb follows the story of an up and coming mixed martial arts fighter whose estranged father and eight year old son have become his greatest challenge outside the arena. This was the second project in which I teamed with director Erwann Marshall, Mahlman says. Working with a modest budget and ambitious production schedule the approach to the visual style was not unlike the lead character dynamic and rough around the edges. During pre-production we decided that hand held and a color pallet of cooler tones would be utilized. We shot with the RED One camera system and Panavision Ultra Speed lenses. All the scenes were shot on location and particularly challenging was the lighting placement for the sparring scenes in the intimate confines of the fight arena. For inspiration prior to the shoot I screened several classic fight movies from the 1970s. It is a wonderful honor to be recognized by my ICG colleagues, remarks Mahlman. Thanks go out to our crew on the production for their dedication and hard work. We are all very proud of this film.


Alison Kelly — She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, starting her photographic studies as a teenager at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Columbia University and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography from The American Film Institute. Kelly joined Local 600 as a camera assistant soon after starting to work in film. The Owls, a feature she filmed, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010. Other festival successes include Make a Wish, Fourteen and Hummer, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She has been recognized for her cinematography on the feature film The Twenty with the Macat ASC Award from the Kent Film Festival. She also filmed Freedom to Choose, a short film that won the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase for Documentary Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Kelly is passionate about storytelling, and keenly aware of the power of film to communicate across cultures. Her film career has taken her to many parts of the world – from Arctic Sweden to the West Bank to the tsunami-devastated areas of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Her work includes feature films, documentaries, television productions, and music videos. Spring of Sorrow was directed by Suzi Yoonessi and produced by Jonako Donley as part of the ITVS Future States series. It is a dreamlike story of two sisters, Lily and Isabelle, displaced by global warming. Trapped in the desert in the midst of a water shortage, Isabelle offers hope to her younger sister by telling a whimsical fairytale. The shoot began in Hollywood at Studio 905, followed by two days in the desert near Palmdale. The final leg was shot at Mono Lake in the surreal landscape of the tufas and charred desert nearby. It was shot on a Canon 5D. The extreme elements were a challenge and at times a boon. The crew arrived at Mono Lake in a hailstorm but the weather cleared and a rainbow materialized, providing them with an amazing and apt image for Lilys journey.


Michael Nie — Long before he had ever heard of cinematography, Michael Nie and his brother would spend hours telling stories with an old Super 8 camera during the long winter months growing up in Wisconsin. After college he moved west to Los Angeles and began spending time on professional sets. Immersed in a variety of work environments from feature films and commercials to episodic television and music videos, he gleaned what he could from talented cinematographers and their crews. In 2004, he first worked with Mauro Fiore, ASC, who still remains a source of inspiration. As a cinematographer today, Michael strives to tell stories that are both visually compelling and emotionally accessible. When he first read the script for Not Your Time Michael was not entirely sure what to make of it. It was a musical, it was a comedy, and it was largely based on the directors lifea combination Michael had yet to tackle in his career as a cinematographer. In addition, with over 40 speaking roles and 35 locations, it had the feel of a feature film. In the midst of it all, I saw an opportunity to create a compelling tale of one mans struggle to live out his dream. It was a story to which I could relate, says Michael. Not Your Time follows the life and career disappointments of Sid Rosenthal (Jason Alexander), once a Hollywood screenwriter, now a censor film editor. The film is in many ways a direct reflection of writer/producer/director Jay Kamen. Inspiration also came from the works of Bob Fosse and Woody Allen. During preproduction, they looked at films like Cabaret and All that Jazz. The film was shot on a single Sony F-900 with Digital Primo lenses, compliments of Panavision. Working with a talented crew, Michael pushed the limits of the HDCam format. In the end, collaborating with colorist John Dunn at Sony ColorWorks and color timer Chris Reagan at Deluxe Laboratories, they were able to finish on Kodaks Vision Premier 2393 print stock. Not Your Time has received numerous accolades. It won the Best Short Film at the Boston International Film Festival, 2011, and at the New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, 2011, where it also received Grand Prize for Best Picture. It was an official selection at Cinequest Film Festival and the Palm Springs Shortfest the same year.


Stefan Tarzan — Growing up in Olympia, Washington, Stefan Tarzan earned a Bachelor of Science in Motion Picture Production from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and began working as a commercial production assistant. Eventually, he joined the staff of Filmfair/HISK Productions, a Studio City based commercial production company and managed their camera department. After becoming a member of the ICG he went freelance as a camera assistant. His first feature film experience was working as a 2nd AC on The Hand That Rocks the Cradle shot by Robert Elswit. In addition to being a camera assistant, he has worked on commercials, features and episodic television. He is fascinated by the dynamics of different types of sets and how different directors of photography not only light and compose shots, but also how they work with directors and crews. The project Absaroka was made with two friends from film school days in Montana. It was planned for the Wyoming Short Film Contest, sponsored by the Wyoming Film Commission. The Commission was looking for films that featured the Wyoming landscape, showing off the state as a possible shooting location. Last year, Absaroka won first prize in the competition. Currently Tarzan is working as a camera assistant in episodic television.


Gregory Wilson — He got his start working as a photo-journalist in New York City, shooting for Rolling Stone, Spin and Fader. This provided the artistic foundation for his career as a director of photography for motion pictures. Also regarded as a top hi-speed camera operator, DIT and technical supervisor, he is adept with everything from 16 and 35mm film to RED, Alexa and 65mm HD. His clientele includes: Nike, PBS, NatGeo, Cartoon Network, and HBO. When he is not skateboarding or touring the nation with his band, he dedicates himself to honing his craft and remaining at the front-line of industry technology. The project came about with the release of the Phantom Flex and no footage had been shot with it yet. Abel Cine Tech offered Gregory a two-day test shoot and provided him with the camera, Ultra Primes lenses, and a small amount of gear. He called some friends together including Brendan Bulomo to direct. They had $8,000 and five locations around the boroughs to shoot a love story that takes place after WWII about a soldier who suffers from PTSD. Speaking of his vision he says, I love Emmanuel Lubeszki and John Toll. Im a pretty big Malick fan and I watch a lot of movies. I decided that since this was the first high-speed camera with such high sensitivity that you could ever shoot handheld, that we could get shots that have never been possible before un-tethered. We were able to shoot in low light, at high frame rates, handheld without being tied to a computer or anything. It was 85 percent handheld work. We really tried to push the envelope and do the best we could in the two days we had to shoot.

Visit the Emerging Cinematographer Awards Website http://www.ecawards.net/

4 Responses to Emerging Cinematographer Award Films 2011

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