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Richard Moore To Receive ASC Presidents Award

Co-Founder of Panavision, Cinematographer on ANNIE (September 14, 2004)

Richard Moore, ASC will receive the Presidents Award from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). The annual award is reserved for an individual who has made exceptional contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking. The presentation will be made during the 19th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel on February 20, 2005.

"Richard Moore exemplifies our credo of artistry, loyalty and progress," says ASC Vice President Owen Roizman, who chairs the organization's Awards Committee. "He has made vital contributions to advancing the science and craft of filmmaking as one of the founders of Panavision. Richard is also a talented cinematographer with admirable credits. He has made an enduring impression."

Moore and Robert Gottschalk founded Panavision while they were working at the Campus Camera Shop in Westwood, California, during the 1950s. Moore, Gottschalk and Douglas Shearer received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1960 for developing a camera and lenses used to produce motion pictures in 65 mm format. Moore subsequently compiled such memorable cinematography credits as The Reivers, Myra Breckinridge, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Sometimes a Great Notion and Annie.

"Richard Moore enjoyed one of the most interesting and exciting careers I'm aware of," says ASC President Richard Crudo. "Not only did he do great work as a cinematographer, but he was also an inventor and innovator of the highest order. Knowing him as well as I do personally, I can attest that he remains a true inspiration, artist and scientist a genuine item."

Moore joins a diverse group of former recipients, including actor Robert DuVall; visual effects pioneers Linwood Dunn, ASC, Hans Koenekamp, ASC, Douglas Trumbull and Howard Anderson, Jr., ASC; Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown; camera designers Tak Miyagishima and Albert Mayer, Jr.; documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles; archivist Kemp Niver, ASC; and cinematographers William Clothier, ASC, Charles Wheeler, ASC, Guy Green, BSC and Ralph Woolsey, ASC.

Moore was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1925, and spent his earliest years on a family farm. His family moved to Los Angeles during the early 1930s. Moore subsequently majored in naval science and minored in cinema at the University of Southern California (USC). He completed a tour of duty in the United States Navy in 1945, and returned to USC where he earned a degree in cinema with an emphasis on cinematography.

"In those days, a college degree and a nickel bought you a cup of coffee in Hollywood," he recalls. "There were no jobs at the studios, and the Guilds weren't open to outsiders."

While working at the camera shop with Gottschalk, Moore occasionally shot 16 mm documentaries and travelogues. His pay for a travel film he shot in 1951 for a producer from Denmark was a round trip ticket to Europe. Moore visited Munich, where he met Dr. August Arnold, the co-founder of Arriflex. He knew that Arriflex had invented a new type of motion picture camera with an integrated reflex viewing system.

"We spoke through an interpreter," Moore recalls. "I exaggerated by telling Dr. Arnold that I was a Hollywood cameraman. That's how I became the West Coast distributor for Arriflex for a brief period. I set up Arriflex Imports with Conrad Hall (ASC) whom I got to know when we were both students at USC. We didn't sell a single camera. The heads of the studio camera departments thought they were too noisy, and couldn't conceive of using a handheld camera."

Around that time, Gottschalk met the person who had the American dealership for the Aqualung, invented by Jacques Cousteau. This inspired Gottschalk to design and build an underwater housing for a Bolex 16 mm camera.

"We soon found that the refraction index of water made the field of view too narrow," Moore recalls. "Gottschalk then discovered anamorphic lenses that had been made in France many years earlier. We shot an anamorphic demo reel on 16 mm film, and the president of Radiant Screen Company asked to see it. His company made projection screens for theaters. Simultaneously, the first CinemaScope movie, The Robe, was being readied for release. He proposed an association with us providing anamorphic lenses that could be used to adapt theatrical projectors for showing CinemaScope movies."

Gottschalk and Moore assembled a small team, including cinematographer Meredith Nicholson, ASC, optical engineer Walter Wallin and optics manufacturing company owner William Mann. Moore says that they succeeded because their lenses cost far less than their competition and were immediately available. The saturation of the projection lens market led to the development of Panavision's first 35 mm cameras and lenses. They subsequently developed 65 mm cameras and lenses for wide-screen, roadshow productions.

Moore left Panavision midway through the company's ninth year, because he wanted to use the lenses and cameras that he had helped design and build. Initially, he worked as a camera operator on commercials, frequently with cinematographer Ben Colman, ASC. Moore was also a camera operator on the crew that Hall assembled for Harper. He earned his first narrative credit in 1965 for a low budget film shot in Bangkok called Operation CIA. Moore followed that with two independent features produced by Roger Corman. By the late 1960s and early '70s, he was shooting and directing television commercials in-between feature films.

Moore cites Winning, a 1969 film featuring Paul Newman as a racecar driver, among his personal favorite films. For that film, Moore designed and built a remote control system that enabled him to use radio signals to operate a camera mounted on a racecar driven by Newman. That was a revolutionary concept in 1969. In those scenes, Moore was in a chase car following Newman. A video tap on the Arriflex camera and a monitor in the chase car enabled him to pan, tilt, zoom, focus and set T-stops by remote control.

Moore joined mainstream Hollywood during the 1970s, compiling an impressive list of credits as a cinematographer. In 1977, he directed The Silent Flute (aka Circle of Iron), a feature film produced in Israel starring David Carradine.

"One of the things that has fascinated me about filmmaking for all of these years is that it provides an opportunity to express yourself in a language that everyone understands," Moore says. "You can educate as well as entertain people and hopefully improve the condition of mankind. I think that is incumbent on every human being, but especially those of us who are in the film business, because we have the ability to do so."

The ASC traces its roots to the dawn of the motion picture industry in 1913 when the first generation of cinematographers began holding informal meetings in New York and Los Angeles to share ideas about the art and craft of visual storytelling. That led to the organization of ASC by15 charter members in 1919. Their primary purpose was to advance the art and craft of filmmaking. There are currently some 275 active ASC members today with roots in many different countries, and 140 associate members who work in ancillary sectors of the industry.

For an extended conversation with Moore, and information about ASC or the 19th Annual Outstanding Achievement Awards, visit


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Related Keywords:Richard Moore, ASC Presidents Award, Panavision, Cinematographer, American Society of Cinematographers, Owen Roizman, Robert Gottschalk, Douglas Shearer, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Richard Crudo,


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