ASC Selects 2020 Student Heritage Award Nominees

​Students will be honored in three categories, recognized for their camerawork in narrative and documentary films.

At top are ASC members Haskell Wexler, Michel Chapman and Allen Daviau, honored this year with Student Heritage Awards named for them. (Portraits by Owen Roizman, ASC)

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced nominees in all three categories of the 2020 Student Heritage Awards competition. The awards are one of many programs designed by the organization to support a new generation of talent in the early stages of their cinematography careers. Winners will be chosen on February 27.

To qualify, a student’s undergraduate, graduate or documentary project is submitted and judged by an ASC blue-ribbon panel for demonstrating exceptional cinematographic skill. 

Each year, the ASC Student Heritage Awards also celebrate the memory of an esteemed ASC member. This year’s Undergraduate Award honors five-time Oscar-nominee Allen Daviau, ASC (Bugsy, Avalon, Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). 

The ASC Graduate Award recognizes two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Chapman, ASC (Raging Bull, The Fugitive). 

The Documentary category is enduringly dedicated to Oscar-winner Haskell Wexler, ASC (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Bound for Glory).

Contenders for the 2020 ASC Student Heritage Awards, sponsored this year by Sony, are:

Michael Chapman Student Heritage Award – Graduate Category 

• Becky Baihui Chen for Welcome Back (University of Southern California)
• Ai Chung for A Young Tough (Chapman University)
• Chaochen Li for Mr. This for That (University of Southern California)
• Vanon Li for Nobody’s Boy (University of Southern California)
• Yiyao “Kelsey” Zhu for Paz (Chapman University)

Michael Chapman, ASC (right) stands by as director Ivan Reitman takes a look at the shot while filming the comedy Kindergarten Cop (1990).

Allen Daviau Student Heritage Award – Undergraduate Category

• Andres Aragon for Silly Human (Biola University)
• Drew Gardella for Intrepidus (Chapman University: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts)
• Elias Ginsberg for Milk Teeth (University of Southern California)
• Gabriel Knoos-Newton for Iron Head (Chapman University: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts)
• Griffin Voth for Places We Won’t Walk (Loyola Marymount University)

Allen Daviau, ASC checks his light while shooting Empire of the Sun (1987) on location in China.

Haskell Wexler, ASC Student Documentary Award

• Melanie Grams for Driven (University of Southern California)
• Sean Thomson for Haven in the Booth (Chapman University)
• Hark Xu for Dream with One Eye Open (University of Southern California)  

Haskell Wexler, ASC (right) makes a point to director Mike Nichols while filming Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).

Many recognized by the ASC Student Heritage Award program since inaugurated in 1999 have gone on to have successful careers in filmmaking, including the Student Awards Committee Co-chairs Craig Kief and Armando Salas, alongside other ASC members Nelson Cragg, Masanobu Takayanagi, and Lisa Wiegand.  

The 35th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards will take place on April 18.

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