ASC Thanks Contributors for Their Support

Generous donations to the ASC enable key initiatives that will preserve the Society’s history and ensure the future of the cinematographer. 

Samantha Dillard

Generous donations to the ASC enable key initiatives that will preserve the Society’s history and ensure the future of the cinematographer. 

Members of the American Society of Cinematographers provide a wealth of resources to the Society and to the expansion of the art and craft of cinematography, which include volunteering for educational programs (such as Education & Outreach events, ASC Master Class and International Cinematography Summit) and serving on the ASC’s myriad committees, among others.

Over the past few years, several members who have contributed to the Society in meaningful ways throughout their tenure have also become a crucial part of the ASC’s continued legacy as donors.

ASC President Kees Van Oostrum says that funds received through these donations are critical to the Society’s mission and will never be utilized for operating costs. Instead, the money is allocated to several key initiatives aimed at preserving the ASC’s history and propelling the work of the cinematographer well into the future. These initiatives include education, the ASC Museum, heritage, archive and improvements to the ASC facilities.

“Education is a main component of the ASC,” Van Oostrum says. “We offer a lot of free educational programs, and donations enable us to offer those services. We currently have a donation fund that will hopefully become an endowment, which will help us continue these educational initiatives.” 

Another essential aspect of the ASC is the Museum, which showcases classic cameras, lenses and other gear used by ASC members throughout history, which include a hand-cranked Pathé used by Arthur Miller, Gregg Toland’s Mitchell BNC and one a few surviving Technicolor three-strip units — as well as more recent milestone cameras, such as a prototype Red One.

Curated by Steve Gainer, ASC, ASK, this collection is unlike any other in the world, in part due to the pieces’ well-researched and documented provenance. “No one else is collecting these cameras,” says Van Oostrum. “And we have been able to expand our camera collection because of the donations we have received over the past year. It is critical that we continue this mission because it is so important to our legacy. The museum needs preservation, and we also need the ability to purchase pieces or accessories that come on the market at a moment’s notice.”

Recently, donor funds were used to restore the ASC’s rare Edison Kinetoscope, which is now fully functional again and on display in the ASC Clubhouse:   

Donor funds were also utilized by Gainer to acquire a rare 1924 Eclair camera, complete with a single-frame device, discovered in France and also now on display in the Clubhouse:

Of note, the ASC Museum always welcomes contributions of rare and unusual cameras and other production gear that can help complete our historic collection.

As the ASC embarks on its centennial in 2019, Van Oostrum explains, these donations are especially valuable. “The upcoming 100-year anniversary of the ASC will initiate a number of projects that are important to the celebration of our history as well as the future of our Society. We are collecting archival material. We are writing mission statements. We are researching all of our members. As an archival element, this will live on for many years.”

Below are testimonials from ASC members about why they chose to become Society donors:

Richard Edlund, ASC (Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC)

Richard Edlund, ASC
“One evening back in 1965 — when I was working for Joseph Westheimer, ASC — he brought me to a cordial meeting at the Clubhouse. It was my first look at the shrine of cinematography, where he introduced me to several of its most famous members. At Joe’s studio I was lucky to meet and be the crew for the likes of Ernie Haller, ASC (Gone with the Wind), Hal Mohr, ASC (Phantom of the Opera, Baby Face Nelson), even occasionally for James Wong Howe, ASC (Hombre, Hud), when they would come by to shoot inserts for features, TV shows or beautifully lit tabletop product shots for commercials. I was their AC, operator, gaffer, grip, even occasionally the hand model. I had many mentors.

Twenty-six years later, after I’d won visual effects Oscars for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Joe, Linwood Dunn, ASC and Harry Wolf, ASC recommended me for membership in the hallowed Society. I’ve served on its board for several terms since then and even got insulted a few times by Stanley Cortez, ASC!

ASC fellowship is among the highest rungs on any ladder for me, and I’m honored to have my name on its wall.”

Mark Irwin, ASC, CSC

Mark Irwin, ASC, CSC
“It seems, looking back, that I am a very lucky cameraman. I started out in Toronto in 1970 — 48 years ago — and, while I was still in film school, I joined the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. I found myself in a place that I could only dream of — an informal monthly meeting where the subject was cameras, lighting and shooting. The people, the insights, the criticisms, the characters, the whole vibe was exhilarating, and I knew that I had found my beginning. 

That humble beginning led to a life of travel, all-nighters and friends the world over but, the key purpose — loyalty, progress, artistry — is what fuels my undying support for the ASC. 

Shooting films is a very collective effort, but the job of director of photography is a very solitary one. People ask me if I had ever worked with this or that DP, and I always have to remind them ‘I’m the only one there’ … but actually I’m not, because I’m part of the ASC.

The fellowship and shared knowledge and accumulated wisdom of the members is overwhelming, and I value that now more than ever. I look at the questions that I had in 1970 and the answers I have now — for film students, visitors and new members — and I know that the first 100 years of the ASC will keep adding members and committees and forums and will continue to celebrate the second century in style. 

I plan to keep supporting the ASC — in person and in tax-deductible donations — because it is my sanctuary. It speaks for me and gives back to me what I put in. What better forum to discuss pixels and bit rates than a Clubhouse filled with cameras made of teak and brass. Our collective past has defined us and is our mandate to define the future. The new ASC ARRI Education Center is an emblem of that future. I am honored to be investing in the next 100 years!”

George Spiro Dibie, ASC

George Spiro Dibie, ASC
“As a donor myself, I consider the ASC mission — almost from the beginning of the organization — [to be] education. And not just educating [cinematography] students or young people, but the industry as well. The ASC donors’ donations support our efforts 100 percent.

Every year we welcome hundreds of [cinematography] students from all over the US and beyond to our ASC Clubhouse for two-hour dialogue sessions conducted by the Education & Public Outreach Committee members. You can’t learn [what is taught] from any book or from studying films, whether it is regarding the creative process or working relationships.” 

Robert Primes, ASC

Robert Primes, ASC
“The deep and touching art of cinematography is commonly hidden behind the blinding glare of the story, actors and director. The ASC is our planet’s preeminent cheerleader and advocate for this powerful art form. Contributing to the ASC helps ensure that cinematography gets the recognition it needs to continue to flourish in a constantly changing environment.”

Dion Bebee, ASC, ACS

Dion Beebe, ASC, ACS
“Part of any career is about legacy. Donating to the ASC is a way of contributing to a collective legacy. The achievements of the ASC are something I share with every other member of the Society. It is a privilege to be able to contribute.”

The ASC Donor Wall is located at the front of the Clubhouse and serves as the Society’s token of appreciation to all Society members — active and associate — and support companies who have gone above and beyond to ensure that the ASC’s mission is continued into our next century. 

We Thank Our Donors

Kino Flo
J.L. Fisher
George Spiro Dibie, ASC
Keslow Camera
Larry Mole Parker
Gina & Michael Goi, ASC
Frank & Sharlene Kay
Theodora & Robert Primes, ASC
The Leonetti Company
Matt Irwin & Mark Irwin, ASC
Richard Edlund, ASC
ArtCenter College of Design

Sol Negrin, ASC
Lothian Toland Skelton
Dion Beebe, ASC
Cine Gear Expo
Cooke Optics
Tom Fletcher & Family
The Rag Place
Dan Keaton
Isidore Mankofsky, ASC
Christine Mankofsky

Otto Nemenz
Band Pro
Jesi & Robert Cunningham
William Mank
Donald M. McCuaig, ASC
Matthews Studio Equipment
Claire Best & Associates
P+S Technik
Dante Spinotti, ASC
Harriet F. Hubbard
Jacek Laskus, ASC

Rick Kelly
Lee Filters
Sim Group
Duclos Lenses
Steven E. Manios
NBC Universal
Angarag Davaasuren, PGA
Kish Optics
Bob Zahn
Steven Poster, ASC
Susan L. Williams
Denis Lenoir, ASC
Joy Gregory

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