November 6, 2017

Emerging Cinematographer Awards: Keep Your Eye on These Up-and-Coming Shooters

La Sirena
The Emerging Cinematography Awards gives exposure to the most talented DPs on the rise.

Each year, the I.A.T.S.E. Local 600 camera union honors up-and-coming image-makers at the Emerging Cinematography Awards. The event was initiated in 1996 as a showcase for budding cinematographers to display their craft, allowing the union to support and help advance the careers of members who are not yet listed as DPs on the union roster. Since then, 1,000 short films shot by union members have been considered for recognition by a panel of judges comprised of ICG members from across the country.

"Becoming a director of photography is a process that never ends."

At the 2017 New York Award ceremony and screening, ICG President Steven Poster reflected on the vocation, saying "There’s no prescribed set of knowledge to master on the path toward becoming a Director of Photography. Beyond the complexities of constantly changing technology, there’s the artistic sensibility to feel light, camera placement and camera movement. Then there’s the communication skill to be the director’s partner in bringing a story to the screen while maintaining the productions’ support to press back the perennial foes of time and budget. And there’s the managerial skill required to maintain a cohesive and smooth-running crew."

Poster added "I can tell you from a lot of experience, becoming a director of photography is a process that never ends. And then, there’s the gargantuan challenge of actually getting hired, and becoming known by those who can pay you to do the work. All of this while managing to develop your own authentic style that will differentiate you from the hundreds of cinematographers ready to compete with you for the finite number of projects that need your skills."

The IGC president acknowledged that "This sounds like an impossible set of mountains to climb," which is precisely why the awards are so meaningful. 

Jen Schneider
Honoree Jen Schneider on the set of 'Unbound, directed by Maggie Mahrt.Credit: Chris Schwartz

Jen Schneider is one of the DPs who was recognized this year.  “All of us [honorees] recognized have been shooting for a while,” she told No Film School.  "We’ve been doing the work putting in the effort to call ourselves DPs."

Schneider revealed that "We’re not all shooting a lot of union work and, to their credit, the union is looking to provide some of the scaffolding for us to move up," adding, "It’s a vote of confidence, and it’s meaningful as we're judged by a jury of our peers: other DPs, ASC members and established DPs who are looking at the work and deciding who is worthy of consideration. It’s one more leaf in the laurel.”

A number of the honorees are currently working cinematographers—the ECA Awards are meant to propel them into the cinematic stratosphere, where they can lens and light at a union level.

Check out the list of this year's honorees and see some of their award-winning work below:

Jen Schneider, Unbound
Union ranking: Operator

Kristen Correll, La Sirena
Union Ranking: 2nd Assistant Camera

George Billinger, The Gate
Union Ranking: Operator 

Daniel Friedberg, LoveBird
Union Ranking: 2nd Assistant Camera 

Michael Lockridge, (le) Rebound
Union ranking: Operator

Jeff Powers, Will Wilson
Union ranking: Operator 

Roham Rahmanian, Break the Will
Union Ranking: Digital Imaging Technician 

David Auerbach, Red Lopez
Union ranking: 1st Assistant Camera
Watch Trailer

The ICG also held an ECA awards ceremony in Atlanta on November 5th, and has an upcoming ceremony in Chicago on November 12th.

More information can be found at the Emerging Cinematographers Awards website.      

Featured image from 'La Sirena', shot by Kristen Correll. 

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