ICS 2016 – Part X: Reflections On the Event


For this unique four-day event, the American Society of Cinematographers invited peers from around the world to meet in Los Angeles, where they would discuss professional and technological issues and help define how cinematographers can maintain the quality and artistic integrity of the images they create. 

Here, in the final report from ICS 2016, organizer Frederic Goodich, ASC details the origins of the event and gives thanks to those involved in making it happen.

ICS2016 attendee and speaker Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and event architect and organizer Frederic Goodich, ASC.

From right, ICS2016 attendee and speaker Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and event architect and organizer Frederic Goodich, ASC. Photo by Steven Poster, ASC

In late 2014, American Society of Cinematography Board members Michael Goi, ASC and Kees van Oostrum, ASC suggested that as Chair of the International Committee I should propose to the Board that the ASC mount a second Cinematography Summit. I thought it a grand and challenging idea. The first Summit, Mr. Goi’s brainchild when he was ASC President, had taken place 3½ years earlier, in May of 2011. (See story here.) It was getting time once again to reach out to our colleagues around the world to affirm our ties and mutual respect.

But a Summit would involve a lot of work for our always-busy ASC staff. The go-ahead would require events coordinator Patty Armacost’s blessing. When Patty said the second week of June of 2016 could work, the Board and President Richard Crudo ASC said to go for it.

In the months preceding June of 2016, Delphine Figueras, our President’s Assistant, sent invites to cinematography societies around the globe. I consulted with the ASC International Steering Committee: Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC; Guillermo Navarro, ASC, AMC; Kees van Oostrum ASC; Michael Goi, ASC, ICS; John Bailey, ASC; Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC; Caleb Deschanel, ASC; Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC; Curtis Clark, ASC; Karl-Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK; Suki Medencevic, ASC; Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC; Dave Stump, ASC and Joan Churchill, ASC.

It would not be our intent to hold a pixel-for-pixel technology conference, but rather a forum within which we could exchange ideas with particular emphasis on the storytelling artistry of the cinematographer to nurture and to retain the integrity of our profession while protecting the visual integrity of the final product. We cinematographers are the custodians of the image. This is our heritage and our responsibility.

We formulated the purposes of the 2016 International Cinematography Summit (ICS):

  • To generate an atmosphere of open dialogue between cinematographers worldwide regarding the elements of our craft and the issues that affect the representation and preservation of our work.
  • To share experience regarding the work environments that exist in our respective countries.
  • To focus and clarify objectives that grow the contributions of the cinematographer on an international level.

The theme of ICS: “The Future of the Cinematographer: Models of Collaboration.”

Questions abounded. What topics to feature? Who to represent them? I exchanged emails with as many national societies as possible, in particular members of IMAGO, to shape and finalize the agenda items, and to determine individuals from various societies, and from our local ASC members, to present or chair specific topics. I met with Andy Maltz, director of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, and David Morin, chair of the Virtual Production Committee. Their support was essential.

And so to the June 6-9, 2016 ICS events themselves. No matter how well one plans, there’s always something! The four-day ICS proved to be a resounding success thanks in no small part to the efforts of the key ASC staff — Patty Armacost, Delphine Figueras, Alex Lopez, Saul Molina and their assistants — who were always up to finding brilliant solutions when snags occurred. Delphine proved particularly adept at handling agents, managers and publicists of some of our more high-profile panelists. Patty and Alex advised what could work technically and schedule-wise regarding panels and demos, the logistics of packed days that included breakfasts, lunches and dinners, the transporting 60 or more delegates whenever we traveled outside the Clubhouse.

American Cinematographer contributors Debra Kaufman and Steve Chagollan have written eloquently about ICS in the nine online articles preceding this one.

Our panelists, moderators and hosts gave substance to the program and deserve a note of thanks: Richard Andry, AFC; M. David Mullen, ASC; Denis Lenoir, ASC, AFC; Dave Schnuelle; Eric Gsell; Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC; Steve Scott; Arthur Ito; Michael Goldman; Bill Pope, ASC; Jon Favreau; Rob Legato, ASC; Brigham Taylor; David Morin; Andy Maltz; Michael Strling; Steve Tobenkin; Craig Barron; Paul Debevec; Josh Pines; George Joblove; Michael Chambliss; Francesco Giardiello; Dado Valentic; Brandon Bussinger; Garrett Smith; Jim Houston; Mike Pogorzelski; Michael Karagosian; Eric Rodli; David Keighley; Michael Goi, ASC; Mark Worthington; Guillermo Navarro, ASC, AMC; Rolf Coulanges, BVK; Elen Lotman, ESC; Timo Heinänen, FSC; Chris Edwards; Dave Stump, ASC; Robert Stromberg; Randal Kleiser; Michael Mansouri; Scott Barbour; Steve Schklair; Kim Snyder; Bob Harvey; Dan Sasaki; Michael Cioni; Bob Hoffman; Ron Johanson, ACS; Richard Bluck, NZCS; Nina Kellgren, BSC; Richard Crudo, ASC; Dean Cundey, ASC; Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC and Bill Bennett, ASC.

 It was wonderful to meet so many colleagues from abroad. Their openness and willingness to communicate was key. Watching the reels each delegate brought as representative of the work in their respective countries was eye-opening. Clearly great work is being done all over the globe. We paid tribute to Haskell Wexler, ASC and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC — whose work and whose dedication to international communication had been and still was an inspiration to every one in the room. Patty and Delphine were great hosts, maintaining an upbeat note, the dynamics of their gracious and vivid personalities kept things rolling and on time.

Here’s some of what delegates have shared upon returning to their home turfs:

“Splendid is the word. What was essentially wonderful about the ICS was the mix of important and informative technical presentations with the passion and love for the art of cinematography demonstrated by so many DP’s from so many countries… It was a pressure cooker of information… It was an amazing summit the ASC put together, heartening, enlightening, exhausting, inspiring and fun! Elen Lotman ESC and I are developing a gender and diversity strategy for IMAGO. The ASC outreach program sounds excellent and well-developed, as always, the ASC is ahead of the game and on the case.”

            Nina Kellgren, BSC – Vice-President, IMAGO

“ICS is a great platform to increase communications between cinematographers over the world, It’s an honor for me to be part of it. I wish ASC could constantly lead all of us and establish a united society of cinematographers over [the] world to speak for ourselves and improve the image of cinematography.”

            Deyuan Mu, CSC – President, Chinese Society of Cinematographers

“A fantastic and inspirational event, so well-organized, and I wish to thank you all from the deep of my heart for giving us such a good time, and for looking after us all so perfectly. One of the main reasons behind IMAGO, is to bring international cinematographers together across the borders, to meet, to discuss topics of common interest, to exchange knowledge and to be inspired by each other’s thoughts and experiences. When cinematographers meet, new constructive ideas of importance emerge. So not least also in this respect, this event was an absolutely perfect experience! I’m most grateful to you all for your friendship, kindness, and for the big job that lay behind this great success!”

            Paul René Roestad, FNF – President, IMAGO

“Being at the revered ASC Clubhouse, touching the earliest wooden cinematic cameras, seeing the roster of great cinematographers and the movies they made, imagining how it was like to be on the set of cinematographers of yesteryears, being amongst other cinematographers attending the ICS as each was introduced, and chatting with Vittorio Storaro again of Apocalypse Now, where I was a lowly PA and set extra, all contributed to giving me a delightful high and chill.”

            Oli Laperal Jr. – The Philippines

“The AMC would like to express our deepest gratitude for all the work you have done to bring together so many countries at the International Cinematography Summit. We are fully charged with energy and deep knowledge that we want to share with our AMC colleagues, industry professionals and students in our country. We admire the way the ASC works in benefit of colleagues all around the globe. We take this experience in our hearts and soul as this is an event we will never forget and will cherish for eternity.”  

            Carlos R. Diazmuñoz, AMC – President, Mexican Society of Cinematographers

“On behalf of the Venezuelan Society of Cinematographers (SVC) and the Federation of Latin American Cinematographers (FELAFC) we would like to express our admiration and gratitude, to the Board and members of the American Society of Cinematographers and its great staff, for assuming such leadership in the process of building Loyalty, Progress and Artistry among cinematographers in America and around the world… Building a better future for cinematographers won’t be such a hard objective to achieve, as long as we count on Delphine’s and Patty’s shepherding of us all.”

            Ricardo Matamoros, SVC – President, Venezuelan Society of Cinematographers

“On behalf of the Danish Delegation, I would like to thank you for the wonderful summit we did experience in your amazing Clubhouse of ASC. This house really contains a true feeling of history, and a wonderful collection of people to give lectures and tours around Hollywood. The program was intense and had a various palette of issues that gave us an image of the challenges we face in our work as DoPs in this world we live in today. Every day we were inspired with new Ideas of how you in the U.S., and Hollywood especially, try to give a solution to the creation of the living images of the future. Also the classes from the IMAGO delegation were excellent in choice and timing, and the mix gave a feeling that we really could go into a new époque of communication between the societies all over the world, I have a feeling that [this] is not only important, but also very necessary in the crazy world of high-speed development in technology and productions.”

            Casper Høyberg, DFF

“On behalf of the IMAGO and the Serbian Society of Cinematographers, I wish to assure you that I will do everything in my power to support, develop and deepen the cooperation of the IMAGO, SAS and the ASC. The world is one and divisions are wrong.”

            Predrag Bambić, SAS

Once again, the ASC membership and Board are deeply grateful to our staff. A great team — Patty Armacost, Delphine Figueras, Alex Lopez, Saul Molina, Sharon and their assistants — the sine qua non of successful collaborations! — Frederic Goodich, ASC