Nurturing talent and giving promising cinematographers the crucial exposure they need to succeed in the Motion Picture Industry lies at the heart of the International Cinematographers Guild's annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards.
Founded in 1996 by Rob Kositchek, Jr. Kositchek discovered his inspiration to honor exciting new talent when he attended “First Look,” at the University of Southern California Film Showcase. With the support of (then) ICG President, George Spiro Dibie, ASC, the Awards were established under the “Film Showcase” banner.
Since its inception more than 1,000 short film entries have been submitted by Camera Operators and Assistants, proving that there is a much needed forum for budding cinematographers to show their craft. The winning films are selected by a panel of judges comprised of ICG members from all over the country. Each film is no more than 30 minutes in length.
By 2007 it had become increasingly clear that the Awards needed to grow into a bigger and more exciting event. In June of 2007 ICG President Steven Poster, ASC, announced that the Film Showcase would take a step into a new direction and the Emerging Cinematographer Awards was born. The very first ECA was presented at the Directors Guild of America on September 27, 2007.
2008 began a new chapter in the Awards history when Director of Photography Jim Matlosz took over the reigns as chairman of the event. "As the new chairman, it is my intention to take the dream and vision of founder Rob Kositchek and make the ECA something that we can all be proud of," said Matlosz. "In the film making community it is very important to me that people see that many of our members are Emerging Cinematographers, we are the best trained, the best prepared, and potentially the most artistic group of people one could ever hope to have on a shoot."
Many of the past recipients have moved on to enjoy successful careers behind the lens, including:
The ECA also attracts the support of many distinguished cinematographers, who have lent their talents as award presenters, including:
Five time Emmy Winner George Spiro Dibie, ASC, Sister, Sister, Murphy Brown and Barney Miller; Michael Goi, ASC, Glee, Welcome to Death Row, Mr. Sunshine, The Mentalist, and An American Horror Story; Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Miss Congeniality, My Best Friend's Wedding and Easy Rider; Stephen Lighthill, ASC, the Emmy winning HBO documentary The Alzheimer’s Project, the Academy Award nominated documentary Berkeley in the Sixties, Nash Bridges and Vietnam War Stories; Don Morgan, ASC, Girlfriends, My Wife and Kids, Crossing Jordan and Se7en; Daryn Okada, ASC, Castle, American Reunion, Baby Mama, Mean Girls; Three time Academy Award Winner Vittorio Storaro, ASC, The Last Emperor, The Last Tango in Paris, Reds, and Apocalypse Now; Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, Academy Award Winner for Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Academy Award nominee for The Black Dahlia, The River, and The Deer Hunter; Two time Academy Award Winner John Toll, ASC, Iron Man 3, It’s Complicated, Tropic Thunder, Vanilla Sky, Braveheart, and Legends of the Fall.