LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2010—The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced a call for entries in the 2011 William A. Fraker Heritage Award competition for outstanding artistic achievement in student filmmaking. The award is dedicated annually to the memory of a cinematographer who made extraordinary contributions to advancing the art form. The award will be presented during the 25th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration, which will be held here at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on February 13, 2011.
The ASC established the annual Heritage Award to recognize talented undergraduate and graduate or recently graduated (within one year) cinematography students. Educational institutions may submit up to two qualified students for each category (undergraduate and graduate/recent graduate). Films will be evaluated by a jury of ASC members who will judge the students’ execution of artful cinematography and effective creation of images that augment the visions of the directors and performances by the actors. The deadline for submitting entries is November 1 by noon (PST).
“Billy Fraker was a wonderful human being in addition to being an amazingly talented cinematographer,” says Richard Crudo, ASC, chairman of the Outstanding Achievement Awards Committee. “His films made an indelible impression on the art of filmmaking. He also inspired and supported countless numbers of aspiring filmmakers to follow their dreams.”
Fraker earned Oscar nominations for Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Heaven Can Wait (1978), 1941 (1979), WarGames (1983) and Murphy’s Romance (1985), and for creating in-camera visual effects for 1941. A short list of his other memorable cinematography credits includes Rosemary’s Baby, Bullitt, Paint Your Wagon, Tombstone, and Rules of Engagement.
When his colleagues honored him with an ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 Fraker said, “I can’t think of a greater honor than being recognized by your peers.”
ASC President Michael Goi says, “Calling William Fraker a legend in his own time is an understatement. He was a modern day Shakespeare who told stories with moving images instead of words. Billy also played a vital role in guiding the ASC into the 21st century.”
Fraker’s history is like the script of a feel-good Hollywood movie. His grandmother was a teacher in Mexico prior to the revolution that brought Pancho Villa to power in 1910. She bravely hiked hundreds of miles with her two young daughters riding on a mule until the three of them crossed the border and found safety in the United States.
His grandmother became a portrait photographer in Los Angeles. Her studio was in the Hollywood bungalow where the family lived. That was Fraker’s introduction to photography. He had boyhood memories of watching his grandmother take portraits recorded on glass plates.
His father and uncle were still photographers for Columbia Pictures during the 1930s. His grandmother raised him after both of his parents both died when he was only 11 years old.
Fraker joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in the Pacific Ocean on a transport ship which carried U. S. Marines to invasion sites. When the war ended, the G.I. Bill of Rights enabled Fraker to enroll in the cinema studies program at the University of Southern California. After graduation, he spent around seven years working as a freelance still photographer and shooting 16 mm industrial films and pick-up shots for movies for $25 apiece.
Fraker was a camera loader on The Lone Ranger television series in 1962. He earned the first of his some 50 cinematography credits in 1966 on the television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett, and shot his first mainstream feature, The President’s Analyst, in 1967. Fraker eventually served three terms as president of the ASC, and was invited to be a member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC).
For more information and to download an application, visit www.theasc.com or call 323-969-4333.
Lisa Muldowney / Sally Christgau
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