2012 Honorees and Honorable Mentions

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Honorees

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A collection of highlights from all of the 2012 honorees.

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Daron Keet

1st Assistant
Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect is about the unspoken alliance between a young Afghan and a U.S. Special Forces soldier in wartime. With L.A.’s Blue Sky Studios standing in for Afghanistan, 1st Assistant Keet, who hails from South Africa, took his aesthetic cues from conflict reportage – press stills that sometimes veered toward the abstract. Keet managed to spend his compulsory year of military service in South Africa behind the lens, having bluffed his way in as a photographer. “I didn’t even know how to load film, but I got a book,” he recalls. “For one year at the army’s expense, I was just taking hundreds of photos and learning the craft.”  Soon after, he was assisting Academy-Award-winning DP Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC on The Ghost and the Darkness and climbing the ranks, before the 1992 U.S. Green Card Lottery brought him to L.A. He joined Local 600 in 2003.

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Pete Villani

Operator
Carjack

Carjack is about a car thief who gets more than he bargained for. Camera operator Pete Villani studied at Chapman University where his plan to become a director was altered by his interest in camera and lighting. His cinematography professor at Chapman, Jurg Walthers, taught him to think organically, through lens choice and lighting. Eventually he earned his Master’s degree at the American Film Institute under the teachings of Bill Dill, ASC. During his last year at AFI, Pete interned for Allen Daviau, ASC and joined Local 600 in 2006. Villani’s recent credits include shooting some additional footage for the film The Babymakers, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, a Fox digital short he shot, and a Web series, directed by Martha Coolidge, for which he operated.

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Robert C. Webb

Operator
The Girl In The Dark

The Girl in the Dark is about a boy who tinkers with a video camera and discovers that he is able to record the ghost of a little girl. Camera operator Robert Webb grew up in Southern California and became interested in cinematography while working at a video store. As a result, he changed his major from architecture to film production. Eventually he earned a degree at Cal State Long Beach. He joined the Guild in 2006 after working as a best boy electric and a B-camera operator. Webb is currently working in Spain on a feature film called Blue Lips.

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James Takata

Operator
Only Child

Only Child is Takata's first effort as director of photography. The five-minute experimental film is a charming portrait of a Chinese factory worker who, while hand-painting dolls, spins off into flights of cerebral fancy. Operator James Takata, who has a fine arts background, says he was “brought up by the Guild” since joining in 2002 and working his way up through every camera department position. After five seasons on The Ghost Whisperer, with James Chressanthis, ASC, Takata now works on The Client List.

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Brian O'Carroll

Operator
Angel

Angel is a glimpse into the life of a working-class woman who saves lives. But in her personal life, she is at the mercy of others as she struggles for her own survival. Brian O’Carroll is a native of Dublin who has worked in the New York documentary, music video and commercial production worlds for two decades. O’Carroll joined Local 600 in 2002. He was previously recognized as an ECA Honoree in 2007 for Cherry Bloom and as an Honorable Mention in 2011 for 8 for Infinity. His résumé includes the documentary Heroes of Ground Zero and the narrative feature Conventioneers, which won the IFC John Cassavetes Award, given to a film made for less than $500,000. His recent feature credits include Echo Prime and Blue Caprice, both with director Alex Moors.

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John Barr

Operator
The Carrier

The Carrier stars Rita Wilson as a woman who becomes both messenger and spectator in the painful unraveling of a family secret. Barr says his background in naturalistic filmmaking helped reinforce the fluid, handheld camera style he used to capture Wilson’s emotionally charged confrontations. Operator John Barr, who began as a gaffer in Maine before going to L.A. in the late 1990s for a temporary stint on a television show, says he had no intention of staying. But a childhood passion for movies and lighting kept him tethered to Hollywood. He joined the Guild in 2003, working mainly in commercials, and then later with Adam Kimmel, ASC on Capote, and Salvatore Totino, ASC on Frost/Nixon.

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Stewart Whelan

1st Assistant
The Money Pet

The Money Pet is a modern-day fairy tale about a talented dog that eats some loose change and later passes the currency with compounded interest. 1st Assistant Stewart Whelan’s love for photography began at age 11 in his native Dublin, Ireland, when his brother bought him a camera. His filmmaking education started in earnest when he worked as a camera trainee on In the Name of the Father, the feature film photographed by Peter Biziou, BSC. Later, on the crew of John Seale, ASC, ACS, Whelan says he learned the importance of being true to the story no matter what the medium. He joined Local 600 in 2011.

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Michael Pescasio

Operator
Don't Let your Love Annihilate

Don’t Let Your Love Annihilate is a long-form music video directed by Bruno Miotto. The leads are a flirtatious girl and a boy who is intrigued by her. Camera operator Michael Pescasio hails from Baltimore, Maryland, where his interest in optics was piqued by a pair of polarized sunglasses. That led to photography, and a summer job at the local cinema. When the Barry Levinson feature film Tin Men came to town, he was hooked. Pescasio worked as a union grip and electrician during and after his studies at USC and joined the Guild in 2000. As a Technocrane Operator, he worked with many top cinematographers. He also spent 12 years as a gaffer. The first project he ever shot, Mrs. Marshall, earned his place as an ECA Honoree in 2004.

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Honorable Mentions

Basil Smith

1st Assistant
Cowards & Monsters

Cowards and Monsters, unfolds inside an unlit apartment in the thick hours after a man discovers his partner’s infidelity. As an adman in Dubai in the late 1990s, 1st AC Basil Smith began to gravitate toward the camera. “I didn’t understand what I wanted from the film business, but I knew I liked the visual medium,” he says, recalling a fascination with Monday-morning commercial blocks and war reportage as a child in South Africa. His break came assisting Polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, PSC, who later made him 2nd AC on Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. On Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, he met John Mathieson, BSC, who became an important mentor. Smith moved to Los Angeles from London last year and joined Local 600 this year.

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Michael Alden Lloyd

2nd Assistant
Dawn

Dawn centers on a widower, whose grim reality unhinges when a mysterious woman turns up on his property. Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven and Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC’s work on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford served as initial inspiration. After touring in a band for several years, 2nd AC Michael Lloyd opted for film school and joined Local 600 in 2011. But his most profound education came on the set of Hugo, where he spent three months apprenticing for Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor Rob Legato. There, he also got to watch Oscar-winning DP Bob Richardson, ASC and his crew at work. “I learned more from being on that set in one day than I did in film school, period,” Lloyd says.

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