Magazine article American Cinematographer

Third Annual ASC Awards Honor Biroc

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Third Annual ASC Awards Honor Biroc

Article excerpt

The Third Annual Awards for Outstanding Cinematography event on March 5 takes place in the 70th year of the American Society of Cinematographers. The year 1989 - also the 100th anniversary of the invention of motion picture film promises to be memorable in the world of the moving image.

The March event will recognize cinematographers from television and the theatrical field, and also will honor one individual for a lifetime of contributions.

Joseph F. Biroc, ASC, will become the second recipient of the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, which recognizes Biroc's career contributions to the art of cinematography, will be presented as part of the Third Annual ASC Awards program in the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom. The ASC will also present 1988 awards for outstanding current cinematography, honoring exceptional work in both theatrical motion pictures and films for television. The winners in these categories will be chosen by a vote of ASC members. The March 5 awards program will include film clips of the winning entries and the golden camera replicas will be presented by industry celebrities.

The award, a nine-inch crystalline rectangular prism surrounding a camera and tripod of antiqued gold, will be presented in five categories, honoring outstanding achievement in filmed motion pictures. The categories are: motion pictures of feature length for theatrical release; motion pictures filmed for television for a single episode of a regular series; a single episode of a miniseries made for television; for a special program or pilot, including made-for-television films; and finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given for the first time last year to the late George Folsey, ASC.

Joseph Biroc saw his first movie in 1910 on a vacant lot five blocks from his home. The New York-born youngster decided at that moment how he was going to spend the rest of his life: making movies. In 1918, when he was 15 years old, he got a job working in the film lab at the Paragon Studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey The following year he moved to Craftsman Labs, which later was merged into Consolidated Film Industries. For about six years he worked in various film labs in Fort Lee, Long Island and Los Angeles.

At last, in 1925, he was given his chance as an assistant cameraman at Paramount's Long Island Studios. Two years later he moved to Hollywood and an assistant cameraman's berth at United Artists Studio (now the WarnerHollywood Studio). In 1929, as talking pictures came to the fore, he became an operative cameraman at RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., a new company lately established by Radio Corporation of America and the Keith and Orpheum theater circuits at the former Film Booking. Office studio. He remained at RKO for most of the next 20 years, operating for many of the leading cinematographers of the day.

"We are delighted to be honoring our colleague, Joe Biroc," says Harry Wolf, ASC past president. "His contributions to this industry and his endurance and artistry as a cinematographer deserve to be noted - as do the new recipients of our awards in March for their work during 1988.

"We were many years as an organization without recognizing our own and it is a great pleasure to be anticipating the third such event."

At age 70, the ASC is by far the oldest professional organization in the film industry, and its awards are intended to recognize world-wide artistry in motion picture cinematography The Society was formed in 1918, with an official charter issued in January of 1919. The ASC, publisher of American Cinematographer magazine, is not a guild or a union, but an educational and professional honorary society created "to advance the art of cinematography through artistry and technological progress, to exchange ideas and to cement a closer relationship among cinematographers. Membership is by invitation only to active, professional directors of photography who have demonstrated outstanding ability. …

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