ICS 2023 attendees assemble at the Clubhouse. (Photo courtesy of Suki Medenčević ASC, ASBIH, SAS)

ASC Hosts 2023 International Cinematography Summit

More than 30 cinematographer societies from around the world met at the ASC Clubhouse from June 5-9 for the event.

ASC Staff

From virtual production to film restoration to diversity and inclusion, the 2023 International Cinematography Summit (ICS) addressed global issues relevant to today’s motion-picture professionals. Delegates representing more than 30 cinematographer societies from around the world met at the ASC Clubhouse from June 5-9 for the event — a week of discussion, demos and discovery.

With generous support from Angénieux, the ICS took participants to facilities in the Los Angeles area to experience the latest technology, tools and techniques, including virtual-production methodologies.

Hosted by the ASC, the ICS was organized by the Society’s International Committee, which is co-chaired by Suki Medenčević, ASC, ASBiH, SAS and Nathaniel Goodman, ASC.

“Most cinematographers work alone — there is generally only one on any given set. The feeling of being here with their peers, socializing, sharing information and experiences, is very popular.”

From left, Suki Medenčević, ASC, ASBiH, SAS and Nathaniel Goodman, ASC. (Photo by Daniel Mejia)

“We did some research with attendees last year, and there was a definite interest in creating more opportunities for discussion at the Clubhouse, so we tried to model things along those lines,” says Goodman. “We also tried to have delegates participate more directly so they’d have a stronger role in determining the agenda.”

Delegates at the Clubhouse. (Photo by Jean-Marie Dreujou, ASC, AFC)

The countries represented at the event were Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Presentations included Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC demonstrating the capabilities of new Angénieux optics; Society members Michael Goi, Baz Idoine, Craig Kief and David Klein examining the state of virtual-production strategies with ASC associate David Morin of Epic Games; Marek Jícha, ACK discussing the 100-year history of Czech cinematography; and Rolf Coulanges, BVK explaining how contemporary and historic still photography has influenced the “documentary look” of cinematography, demonstrated by the film Solo Sunny.

Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC during his demo session. (Photo by Jean-Marie Dreujou, ASC, AFC)

On one panel, Donald Duncan, NZCS; Louise McLaughlin, DFF; and Carlos Diaz-Muñoz joined past ASC President Stephen Lighthill and ICS event coordinators Patty Armacost and Delphine Figueras for a talk about how cinematography societies around the world can better serve and represent their members. “In many countries, their society serves some of the functions that our union — ICG Local 600 — does here in the U.S.,” says Goodman. “So, they work to address labor, authorship and contract issues for their members. That’s something we can try to better address in the next ICS, perhaps with direct participation from Local 600. The ASC can’t really lead that discussion in an official way, but hosting the conversation would be great.”

Other discussions included Elen Lotman, ESC’s report “Perceptual Professionalization: An Eye-Tracking Pilot Experiment,” which dove deep into the physiological reasons why humans process visual information the way we do.

Elen Lotman, ESC during her presentation. (Photo by Daniel Mejia)

A panel moderated by John Simmons, ASC explored the issues of diversity and inclusion with Erika Addis, ACS; Donald Duncan; Guy Godfree, CSC; Eduardo Ramirez-Gonzalez, ADFC and Ula Pontikos, BSC. “This is a key issue,” says Medenčević, “in part because cinematographers are in a position to help in a variety of ways — by creating opportunities and through education.”

A demo was held at Kino Flo’s nearby facility, where the company’s new image-based, full-spectrum Mimik LED lighting units were demonstrated in conjunction with the Magicbox Mobile Virtual Production Superstudio, illustrating how rapidly manufacturers are responding to this new production space and addressing issues raised by cinematographers.

Guy Godfree, CSC inside the Magicbox mobile LED volume. (Photo by Jean-Marie Dreujou, ASC, AFC)

Following a screening of the feature Air, ASC President Shelly Johnson led a virtual discussion with director of photography Robert Richardson, ASC and Élodie Ichter, senior colorist at The Mill, regarding their collaboration with director Ben Affleck.

A restoration of the 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard was screened at Panavision’s headquarters and followed by a discussion at the Clubhouse with the Paramount Pictures team that worked on the project: senior vice president of asset management Andrea Kalas, lead media archivist Charlotte Baker and manager of preservation Charles Stepszyk.

Also screened were episodes of Tim Burton’s series Wednesday, followed by a “Clubhouse Conversations” session with cinematographer David Lanzenberg conducted by Medenčević.

“For many, this was their first year attending [the ICS] or even being at the Clubhouse,” says Medenčević. “And there is a strong feeling of camaraderie that accompanies [the ASC’s] history. And that brings an energy to the discussion. We want to create more opportunity at the next ICS to capture that.”

“Most cinematographers work alone — there is generally only one on any given set,” says Goodman. “The feeling of being here with their peers, socializing, sharing information and experiences, is very popular. In discussing cinematography, it’s easy to get involved with the technology, but that’s information you can find in many places. This human connection is unique and special.”

Both Medenčević and Goodman noted that the potential impact of artificial intelligence on cinematographers was frequently mentioned during the ICS, and that subject will be explored in the future. “We’re at a stage where there is a lot of speculation about AI,” says Goodman, “but soon we will have very concrete issues to discuss at the next Summit.”

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