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Monday, 12 March 2012 16:09

Camera Operators Honored at SOC Awards

Written by  James Thompson
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pre_soc_recap_soc-1-2_webThe camera operators behind the feature film J. Edgar and the hit TV show “Glee” won top honors at the 2012 Society of Camera Operators (SOC) Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. The celebration was recently held at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, Calif.
Andrew Mitchell, SOC modestly accepted the award for Television Camera Operator of the Year for his work on “Glee.” “I feel honored to be amongst such other wonderful operators as nominees in the television category this year,” said Mitchell. “I want to thank the society for considering me this year.” Mitchell went on to thank the many people who helped him along the way: “No one gets here without being surrounded by many wonderful people.”

pre_soc_recap_clinteastwood_soc_web-2-1Stephen Campanelli, SOC previously nominated for Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter in 2011 and The Changeling in 2009, took home the award for Feature Film Camera Operator of the Year for Eastwood’s latest film J. Edgar. “I just got to thank Clint for making amazing movies, getting great scripts and allowing my camera to tell such great stories,” said Campanelli as he received his award. “To have this honor tonight is absolutely incredible because it’s been a lifelong achievement.” Campanelli also thanked others for helping him with his work as he learned his craft, including Garrett Brown for “changing” his life and inventing the Steadicam.

Campanelli was also pleased to present the Governors Award for Lifetime Achievement to Clint Eastwood in recognition of his contribution to the art and craft of cinema, his vast body of work, and his respect for the contributions that camera operators bring to each production. Eastwood has collaborated with Campanelli on many projects over the last 18 years.

pre_soc_awardsFamed Photographer Douglas Kirkland presented the award for Lifetime Achievement as Stills Photographer to Andrew Cooper, SMPSP, who has built a portfolio of iconic industry images. His motion picture still photography credits include The Departed, Braveheart and War Horse. “[One] thing that I believe is true for all of us is that we all love what we do,” said Cooper as he accepted his honor. “And, at the end of every day’s work, what we all value the most is simply the opportunity to do it again tomorrow.” And Phil Radin, executive VP of marketing at Panavision, Inc., received the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. Unfortunately, an illness left Radin unable to attend the event, but his son and daughter Jeremy and Kayla Radin accepted the award on his behalf.

Presented with the award for Lifetime Achievement as Camera Technician, Zoran Veselic has worked as a focus assistant on numerous films, such as Moneyball, The Muppets, Men in Black, Spider-Man and Up in the Air. “This award is very dear to me because it comes from our operators,” said Veselic. “I am deeply honored and touched and very proud to receive this honor.” The award for Lifetime Achievement as Mobile Camera Platform Operator went to Harry Rez, whose list of successful film and television work extends back to 1973. Rez’s credits as dolly and key grip include Nashville, “Doogie Howser, M.D.” and “Providence.”

Paul Babin, SOC received the Lifetime Achievement as Camera Operator Award. Known for working with top directors, such as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Barry Levinson and James Cameron, Babin added technical and artistic contributions to an amazing array of films, including The Abyss, Magnolia, Fearless, True Lies and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. “This is truly a humbling and grateful moment for me,” said Babin. “When we succeed at our work, we lure people out of their normal states of mind, and for two hours we hold them deeply in the now in our movie.”

The Historical Shot Award was presented to George Richmond for his handheld shot in “The Siege of Bexhill” scene in the feature film Children of Men. And the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Service to the Motion Picture Industry was presented to Sol Negrin, ASC by his son Michael Negrin, ASC. An esteemed cinematographer known for his work on “Kojak,” “The Patty Duke Show” and Coming to America, Sol Negrin is also a film school professor at NYU and Five Towns College.

pre_soc_recap_soc-4-1_webThis year, the SOC introduced its first award for College Camera Operator of the Year. The award was created to honor student productions that utilize full-time camera operators. Petr Cikhart, an American Film Institute student who was born and raised in Prague, received the award for his work on The Skull Cap. Since the art and craft of camera work rely on new and changing technology, the SOC also honors the inventors of innovative tools and techniques that distinctly impact the artistry of camera operators. This year’s awards for Technical Achievement went to Thales Angenieux (for the Optimo 15-40, 28-76 and 45-120mm family of handheld zoom lenses) and Key Grip Herb Ault (for the Grip Trix Shadow Tracker and Tracker XL electric-powered camera platforms).

The SOC holds its annual awards event in an effort to raise funds for the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Each year, the SOC donates the production of a film in conjunction with the Vision Center to spread the word about a simple diagnostic tool for the prevention of certain eye diseases in children. The title of this year’s SOC film presentation is Know the Glow.
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