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Steven Poster Elected President of ASC

Agenda includes constructing campus, and assisting young filmmakers (January 11, 2002)
Steven Poster, ASC has been elected president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), along with a strong supporting cast of officers, including John Bailey, ASC, Richard Crudo, ASC and John Toll, ASC as first, second and third vice presidents; Robert Primes, ASC as treasurer; John Hora, ASC as secretary; and George Spiro Dibie, ASC as sergeant-at-arms.

“The Society has an unique legacy,” says Poster. “More than 80 years ago, the ASC was founded as an organization committed to advancing both the art and craft of filmmaking. That spirit is flourishing today in a new generation of members who are dedicated to progress but are determined to act as guardians of the integrity of the art form.”

After studying at the Art Center College of Design and earning a degree from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Poster launched his career at the age of 21 by shooting commercials in Chicago. He earned his first feature credit in 1981 for Blood Beach, a horror film that has become a cult classic. His cinema credits range from comedy (Life Stinks) to drama (Someone to Watch Over Me), relationship stories (Donnie Darko, The Cemetery Club, etc.) to effects-rich, fantasy sagas (the upcoming Stuart Little 2).

Steven Poster, ASC
Poster’s narrative television credits include such critically acclaimed films as Testament, Courage, The Roswell Incident and The Color of Justice.

Members of the new board of directors include Stephen Burum, ASC, Russell Carpenter, ASC, Allen Daviau, ASC, Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC, Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Victor J. Kemper, ASC, Owen Roizman, ASC, John Toll, ASC, Haskell Wexler, ASC, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, Howard Anderson, III, ASC, Dean Cundey, ASC and Michael O’Shea, ASC.

“The ASC has an extraordinary array of some 240 talented and dedicated members, including many of the defining filmmakers of our times,” says Poster. “The 110 associate members include many top scientists and leading figures in new technology.”

The new ASC president has set an ambitious agenda including the fulfillment of plans to construct a campus surrounding its historic clubhouse in Hollywood. The campus will include a 250-seat screening room and large conference area. The clubhouse will be converted into “a living museum” containing rare artifacts, publications and photographs spanning the history of the motion picture industry.

“Another important part of this project includes an endowment fund dedicated to assisting talented young filmmakers who will be mentored by our members,” Poster says. He expects the ASC to break ground for the new campus during the summer. However, that ambitious undertaking is just part of the ASC’s roadmap to the future. Poster notes that this could be a milestone era for the entertainment industry with the evolution of new film, digital and hybrid imaging technologies for production, postproduction and display on cinema, television and even computer screens.

“We are enthusiastic about some of the evolving technologies because they could provide powerful new tools for producing stories in interesting ways,” he says.

“However, we are also determined to play a central role in setting expectations and standards for digital image capture, digital mastering and digital cinema exhibition, so they enhance rather than diminish the experience for audiences. So far, there has been far too much hyperbole about these new technologies dominated by people who are not filmmakers.”

Poster recalls that the ASC spoke up about a decade ago when the FCC was establishing standards for high-definition television transmission and display.

“If the vested interests had prevailed, the American public would have been stuck with an obsolete HDTV system with interlaced scanning, and all display of content locked into an inflexible 16:9 aspect ratio,” he says. “We fought successfully for digital transmission, progressive scanning and letterboxed content in its original aspect ratio.”

The ASC traces its roots to the dawn of the film industry. Around 1906, a handful of cinematographers organized clubs in New York and Los Angeles. They met informally to discuss creative and technical issues. Poster points out that most of the jobs required to produce films existed in the live theater before there were movies. Cinematography was a major exception. The two clubs coalesced into one organization when 16 cinematographers met at William C. Foster’s home in Los Angeles, on December 21, 1918. The ASC was chartered January 9, 1919.

“When I was starting my career as a young filmmaker, cinematographers like Laszlo Kovacs, Vilmos Zsigmond, Owen Roizman, Victor Kemper and Bill Fraker were redefining the art form,” Poster recalls. “I always dreamt that someday I’d be alongside them with all the other great cinematographers in the ASC. I am incredibly honored that my colleagues have asked me to serve the ASC in this role.”

The ASC will conduct its 16th Annual Outstanding Achievement Award ceremonies at the Century Plaza Hotel on February 17. For information about this event and related activities visit the ASC website ( or call Patty Armacost at 323-969-4333.

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Related Keywords:ASC, Cinematographers, Poster, filmmaking, film

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