Student Cinematographer Nominated for Prestigious Industry Award [Update: He Wins!]

by June 18th, 2012

[UPDATE: And the winner is… Art Center filmmaker Ryan McDonald who won the top prize at the ASC award ceremony over the weekend. Congratulations! He's currently shooting a project with Art Center alum Domenic Moen documenting the work of Inclusion Films, an organization that teaches filming to young adults with developmental disabilities.]

Art Center filmmaker Ryan McDonald was nominated for the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Andrew Laszlo Student Heritage Award.

A still from Aexis

Recognized by the organization as an emerging talent with the vision and skillset to use lighting and composition to convey moods, McDonald is nominated in the fiction category for his cinematography on fellow film student Eric Chang’s directing project Aexis.

“My work is typically in the context of rushed schedules, limited crew, and a Subaru’s worth of equipment – so I guess you could say my specialty at the moment is doing a lot with a little; this film was no exception, said McDonald, an undergraduate.

“I enjoyed shooting Aexis because Eric gave me near total freedom in crafting the look for the film and finding the shots that worked best for the scenes. There are so many hard working DP’s out there who do great work, so I’m honored to be recognized by the ASC; even if it means I have to go out of my way to buy some business attire for the ceremony.”

Watch a trailer for Aexis.

Check out McDonald’s demo reel.

Visit his website.

Read the official announcement from the ASC website:

ASC Names 2012 Student Heritage Awards Nominees

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has chosen seven student filmmakers from six U.S. film schools as nominees in the 2012 ASC Andrew Laszlo Student Heritage Awards. A ceremony announcing the winners in each category will be held June 16. The awards are designed to showcase the artistic abilities of the next generation of filmmakers, with a focus on their cinematography skills.

The nominees are (listed alphabetically by film title in each category):

Graduate

  • Josephine and the Roach by Damian Horan, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts
  • Narcocorrido by Benjamin Kitchens, American Film Institute
  • The Bullet Catcher by John Walstad MacDonald, Chapman University

Undergraduate

  • Aexis by H.R. McDonald, Art Center College of Design
  • The Drop by Nicholas Wiesnet, Chapman University
  • Reclamation by Adam Lee, Loyola Marymount University
  • Language of the Unheard by Travis LaBella, Northwestern University*

(*one nominee chosen; also winner for the category)

Each year, the ASC Heritage Award is rededicated in memory of an individual who advanced the art and craft of cinematography. A Hungarian native, Andrew Laszlo, ASC was a talented cinematographer whose film and television career spanned 50-plus years, amassing such credits as You¹re a Big Boy Now, The Night They Raided Minsky¹s, The Out of Towners, The Owl and the Pussycat, The Warriors, Southern Comfort, First Blood, Streets of Fire, Innerspace, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He earned Emmy nominations for his work on Shogun and The Man Without a Country. Laszlo dedicated many years to teaching future directors of photography at workshops, seminars and schools around the world, and authored several books, including It’s A Wrap, a compilation of his experiences on movie sets around the world.

To reach this stage, professors at film schools recommended one student for each category from their school, who then submitted their film for judging. A Blue Ribbon panel of ASC members judged the 40-plus entries and narrowed it to this field. That same panel will select the winners.

The ASC Heritage Award was inaugurated for the purpose of encouraging filmmakers to pursue careers in cinematography.

“It’s a competitive industry but these emerging talents have shown they have the vision and skillset to use lighting and composition to convey moods,” says Isidore Mankofsky, ASC, chairman of the ASC Education Committee. “We hope this recognition encourages them to follow their dreams.”

Past ASC Heritage Award winners have gone on to prolific careers, such as Lisa Marie Wiegand (Necessary Roughness, Dollhouse, Adventures of Power), Lukas Ettlin (The Lincoln Lawyer, Battle Los Angeles), Masanobu Takayanagi (Warrior, The Grey), and Nelson Cragg (Homeland, CSI), among many others.

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