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Slocombe to Receive ASC International Achievement Award

Award given for significant and enduring impression on the international art of filmmaking By DMN Staff Writer
Douglas Slocombe, BSC will receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) International Achievement Award. The award is periodically presented to a cinematographer outside the United States who has made a significant and enduring impression on the international art of filmmaking. Slocombe will be honored during the 16th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 17, 2002, at the Century Plaza Hotel.

The cinematographer has compiled approximately 75 narrative credits, ranging from low budget, independent features to studio blockbusters. He earned Oscar nominations for Travels With My Aunt (1973), Julia (1978) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982). His body of work also includes such memorable features as The Man in the White Suit, The Blue Max, The Lion in Winter, Jesus Christ Superstar, Never Say Never Again, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, Murphys War, The Great Gatsby, The Servant, Rollerball and such landmark television films as Love Among the Ruins. Slocombe earned his most recent narrative credit in 1989 for Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

?Doug Slocombe was in the front ranks of a new generation of cinematographers who came from a non-traditional background and brought a different way of thinking to the film industry, says ASC President Victor J. Kemper, ASC. ?His credits range from comedies to naturalistic looking dramas and stylized action adventure films. He is a source of inspiration and a great role model for cinematographers.

Slocombe joins a distinguished list of ASC International Achievement Award winners, beginning in 1992 with Freddie Young, BSC. The other recipients are Jack Cardiff, BSC, Gabriel Figueroa, AMC, Henri Alekan, Raoul Coutard, Freddie Francis, BSC, Giuseppe Rotunno, ASC, AIC, Oswald Morris, BSC, and Billy Williams, BSC.

?I am, of course, delighted to have been chosen for this honor and I am also deeply moved by it, says Slocombe. ?Throughout most of the history of cinema, the ASC has been associated with the names of so many of the worlds greatest cinematographers. This award, coming from my American peers, is one that I will always cherish.

In 1940, Slocombe earned his first cinematography credit for his work on a seminal United States documentary, Lights Out in Europe, which gave the Western world a grim, behind-the-scenes look at reality, including stark footage of the Nazi invasions of Poland and Holland. After that experience, Slocombe joined Ealing Studios in London as an action photographer shooting background materials for Ealings wartime films.

Slocombe spent 17 years as a contract cinematographer at Ealing Studios, segueing into narrative filmmaking after the war. He quickly established his reputation by shooting such Alec Guinness films as Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Man in the White Suit and The Lavender Hill Mob, which are now considered classics.

Slocombe has collaborated with many high profile directors, including Fred Zinneman, John Huston, George Cukor, Norman Jewison, and Steven Spielberg, which is certainly no coincidence. ?I met Steven Spielberg when my crew and I spent a marvelous week in Bombay shooting scenes with him for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Vilmos Zsigmond (ASC, who shot the film) was busy on another project. Steven was very creative and extremely receptive to ideas. He promised to keep me in mind for a future picture. It is the sort of promise that you often hear in situations like this one.

Spielberg was true to his word, however. Slocombe had mixed feeling when the director asked him to shoot Raiders of the Last Ark. Slocombe wasnt interested in shooting action-adventure films. He preferred ?more literal dramas, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets and Julia, which ?sparked his imagination.

?My doubts dissolved as soon as we began preparation, he recalls. ?It was a completely new type of work for me. I believe that one of the things I aim to do is apply a sense of what feels right, and translate that feeling into a look the director wants. Steven envisioned a sharp quality with no diffusion, although he did want some contrast. We found the right look on the first day and stayed with it.

Slocombe has been honored many times in England. He received top honors from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for The Servant, The Great Gatsby and Julia, and other nominations for Guns at Batasi, The Blue Max, The Lion in Winter, Travels with My Aunt, Rollerball, Jesus Christ Superstar, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In 1993, he received a special award for lifetime achievement from BAFTA. His peers in the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) awarded him top cinematography honors for The Servant, The Great Gatsby, The Lion in Winter, Jesus Christ Superstar and Julia, along with numerous other nominations. In 1995, Slocombe was awarded the BSC Lifetime Achievement Award.

ASC was founded in January 1919 by 15 cinematographers who were dedicated to advancing the art and craft of the new art form. Some 680 cinematographers from around the world have subsequently earned the right to put the letters ASC after their names. Some 315 associate members from ancillary sectors of the industry have also been invited to join ASC because of their demonstrated commitment to the art form. The ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards were inaugurated in 1986 for the purpose of recognizing and inspiring the pursuit of excellence in the art of filmmaking.

For information about the ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards, go to

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