On Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency in Century City, Austrian born cinematographer Christian Berger ACC, took top honors at the 24th Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards for his masterly neo-realist look in black and white photography on the German language drama "The White Ribbon" (Das Wiese Band) by Palme D'Or 2009 winner director, Michael Haneke. The White Ribbon, Berger and Haneke are also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film for the upcoming 82nd Academy Awards.
Christian Berger, ACC  

The White Ribbon
 The award was presented eloquently by British actor Timothy Dalton who introduced the diverse range of films that were nominated for top honors in the feature film category and said "Movies are amazing, You walk into a darkened theater and you are swept up in a story steeped in fact or built on fantasy and everything in-between. You can fall in love with characters or the story can break your heart. 

Dalton also recounted the audacity displayed by many cinematographers and cameraman when "they want to get the shot". In turn, a calmed Christian Bergen accepted the award thanking the American Society of Cinematographers for the highest honor bestowed to cameramen in the United States.

 Timothy Dalton
Bergen has stated in the past about his black and white photography for The White Ribbon in affirmation to Michael Haneke's directorial vision that "the film is about of every type of terrorism, be it of political or religious nature". "Our goal was not to make it in black and white because it is set in 1914 or to evoke some kind of nostalgia or fake something authentic. It was actually to create a strong abstraction...all the lighting was done for black and white". 

Bergen painterly rendition of many critical scenes shoot under daylight conditions brings an emotional connection between the audience, the storyline and the protagonists (children). Interestingly enough, this "gray-scaled" feature was shoot in HD digital video to conform Haneke's Video Look between the tapes and the the real scenes.
 The White Ribbon

"In Haneke’s script, the tension is created in a laconic style of images. In other words it’s the brain of the spectator that creates high tension. Because you see something but you never see it really. It’s never concrete there. It’s only provoked".

The ASC Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Caleb Deschanel, ASC by his two accomplished daughters Zooey and Emily Deschanel. After an affectionate recounting of memories and stories by Zooey and Emily about the tenacity and good nature of their father-cinematographer, an emotional Caleb accepted the award thanking the ASC and his family for the honor and as a genuine storyteller and master of the craft offered to the audience a candid insight to his experience as cinematographer making the evening memorable.

 Caleb Deschanel , ASC
Caleb Deschanel, ASC, Gigi LeMaster and Daryn Okada, ASC
 Emily and Zooey Deschanel

Tom Stern, ASC presented the Board of Governors Award to Morgan Freeman in recognition of the actor's body of work and contributions to the art of filmmaking. Stern was behind the camera when Freeman earned an Oscar® for his performance in Million Dollar Baby and last year during the production of Invictus. Freeman collected his sixth Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela.

 Morgan Freeman and ASC president Michael Goi

 The Career Achievement in Television Award was presented to John C. Flinn III, ASC by Michael O'Shea, ASC. The presenter recounted moments about their mutual friendship and working relationship, followed by video clips showing the extensive career of John C. Flinn III in many popular and long lived television shows.

 John C. Flinn III, ASC  and Michael O'Shea, ASC
John C. Flinn III, ASC and Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC, DFF

 Alar Kivilo, ASC, earned the television movie/miniseries award for the 2009 Golden Award Winner drama "Taking Chance". When presenting the Television Movie/Miniseries Award to Kivilo, actor Ryan O'Neal noted, "This year's nominees have all soared above the raised bar, crafting powerful images for profound stories that reward the audience's watching". Nominated along with Kivilo were Rene Ohashi, ASC, CSC for Jesse Stone: Thin Ice and Jerzy Zielinski, ASC for The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.

Eagle Egilsson
 Amanda Righetti, who plays a featured role in The Mentalist, also commented on the diversity of the films nominated for the cinematography award in the episodic television category during her presentation to Egilsson. "The stories range from undercover cops in Los Angeles to forensic specialists in Las Vegas, a New Yorker struggling to be fashionable to a would-be super hero," she said. "The common denominator is that artful cinematography helped to transport audiences into their worlds." Egilsson earned top accolades in the episodic category for Dark Blue ("Venice Kings").

The other nominees in the Television Episodic Series/Pilot Category were Jeffrey Jur, ASC for FlashForward ("The Gift"), Michael Price for Ugly Betty ("There's No Place Like Mode"), Christian Sebaldt, ASC for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ("Family Affair"), and Glen Winter, CSC for Smallville ("Savior"). 

The ASC International Award was presented to Chris Menges, ASC, BSC by actor Tim Roth. Menges previous years  of experience as a documentary cameraman in war-torn countries around the world was an essential ingredient to his feature film photography  allowing him to capture emotive and dramatic scenes in a realistic beautiful style. Some of his films are The Mission, The Boxer, The Killing Fields, The Reader,  The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Pledge and the recently acclaimed The Yellow Handkerchief.

 Chris Menges, ASC, BSC

  Anthony Dod Mantle BSC DFF, Paul Hook ,
Chris Menges, ASC, BSC and Chris Doyle

Tim Roth
Chris Menges, ASC, BSC and David J. Frederick, SOC

The ASC Presidents Award was given to Sol Negrin, ASC by his son Michael Negrin, ASC, in recognition of his accomplishments as a cinematographer, and for his ongoing commitment to preparing the next generation of future filmmaker
 Sol Negrin ASC, Michael Negrin, ASC and guests
 The iconic TV police drama Kojak,  represents a slice
of Sol Negrin's, ASC outstanding body of work

 ASC also recognized the next generation of cinematographers with the presentation of the ASC Richard Moore Student Heritage Award to graduate student Benji Bakshi of the American Film Institute, and undergrad Garrett Shannon from Loyola Marymount University.

Mrs. and Mr. Benji Bakshi, Garret Shannon and Chris Doyle

The ASC was founded during the dawn on the industry in 1919 for the purpose of advancing the evolving art and craft of filmmaking. There are more than 300 members today from countries around the world. ASC also has some 150 associate members from allied sectors of the motion picture and television industries. For more information about the ASC, visit www.theasc.com

For more photos of the ASC Awards 2010 click here

Portion of The White Ribbon, courtesy of Seth Abramovitch

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