Founded in 1996 by ICG Local 600 member 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 Local 600 President, George Spiro Dibie, ASC, the Awards were established under the “Film Showcase” banner honoring the best of the up-and-coming cinematography talent in to help them make a career leap and become a working Director of Photography in the union. The first inaugural event showcasing the short films its union members was held at Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles.
By 2007 it had become increasingly clear that the Awards needed to grow into a bigger and more prominent event among its industry peers. In 2007 then-ICG Local 600 President Steven Poster, ASC, took the event under his wings and announced that the ICG Film Showcase would take a step into a new direction and the ICG Emerging Cinematographer Awards was born. With the support of its generous sponsors, the ECA was presented under its new name at the Directors Guild of America on September 27, 2007.
2008 began a new chapter in the Awards history when Director of Photography and former ECA Honoree Jimmy Matlosz took over the reigns as the Chair of the event and has worked to continue the dream and vision of his predecessor. Shortly after, the ECA began its new tradition hosting Agent’s Day, an informative round table with the industry’s top Agent’s offered exclusive to the Honorees, and the ECA Luncheon at the American Society of Cinematographer’s Clubhouse in Los Angeles, a pre-event celebratory reception where the ECA Honorees, and Sponsors gather and present a variety of generous prizes from lighting kits to and camera rental packages, all of which are gifted to each of the Honorees to help continue their craft of filmmaking.
Throughout the years, the ECA short films have made appearances in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, and at Camerimage in Poland, and the awards have been heavily publicized in the trades and ICG Magazine, attracting more attention and prestige. The newly branded Emerging Cinematographer Awards (ECAs) increased in popularity and has become a highly attended event in Los Angeles, gaining tremendous support from its peers and many Sponsors, as well as esteemed members of the entertainment industry, including ICG Local 600’s most distinguished Directors of Photography.
The ICG ECA has presented additional “special awards” particularly to members of ICG Local 600 for their contributions with mentoring young Cinematographers, and to the industry’s talented journalists who write about the art and craft of cinematography.
In 2019, the ECA introduced its first inaugural Distinguished Filmmaker Award, presented to Director, Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, and Monster) at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center for her outstanding collaboration with cinematographers.
Since its inception, over 2,000 short film entries have been submitted by members of ICG Local 600, IATSE and has honored over 230 members for their artistic achievement in cinematography, proving that there is a much-needed forum for budding cinematographers to showcase their craft. Many of the past award recipients have said that that their experience and recognition from the ECAs has helped them emerge in rank to enjoy successful careers behind the lens as Directors of Photography.
Now in its 24th year, under the direction Co-Chairs, Jimmy Matlosz and Steven Poster, ASC, the Emerging Cinematographers Awards is the only award show in the industry that specifically celebrates the work of up-and-coming cinematographers, helping to nurture their talent and showcase their work. This non-profit event directly benefits the International Cinematographers Guild Scholarship & Preservation Fund and is a critical part of the Guild’s mission in developing the next generation of cinematographers.