The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry

Cinematographers To Honor Christopher Nolan

December 16, 2008

Award-winning writer-producer-director Christopher Nolan will receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Board of Governors Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking. Nolan will be feted during the 23rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration on February 15, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

“Chris Nolan is infused with talent with which he masterfully uses to collaboratively create memorable motion pictures," says ASC President Daryn Okada. “His quest for superlative images to tell stories has earned the admiration of our members.”

Previous recipients of the ASC Board of Governors includes Gregory Peck, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Robert Wise, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, Stanley Donen, Norman Jewison, Irwin Winkler, Sydney Pollack, Ron Howard, and Annette Bening, among others.

“Chris Nolan combines classic filmmaking techniques and new technology in ways that are inspiring for the next generation of filmmakers,” says Michael Goi, ASC, chairman of the organization’s Awards Committee.

Nolan has earned a diverse range of credits, including such memorable films as Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight, a run-away hit at the 2008 box office which earned rave reviews from critics.

“Chris is an amazingly talented and collaborative director, who brings out the best in everyone around him,” says Wally Pfister, ASC, the cinematographer who was by Nolan’s side during the aforementioned feature films.

Nolan was born in London. His father is English and his mother is a United States citizen. He was an avid movie fan and Super 8mm film hobbyist during his youth in London and Chicago. One of his Super 8 films aired on the PBS affiliate in Chicago.

Nolan was an English literature major at University College in London, where he met his future wife and co-producer Emma Thomas. They were both members of the university’s film society, which arranged screenings of classic motion pictures for students. Nolan and Thomas subsequently collaborated on the production of Following, a black-and-white 16mm film that won an award at Slamdance and other festivals in 1999. At that point, Nolan was already working on the script for Memento, which was based on a short story written by his brother Jonah.

“I saw a film while I was Slamdance and decided that I had to meet the guy who shot it,” Nolan recalls. “During my first conversation with Wally (Pfister), I decided I wanted to work with him. We know each other better today, but our relationship hasn’t changed. There is a synergy that affects our ability to translate ideas into images.”

For information about the 23rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards call 323-969-4333.

Photo by Douglas Kirkland.