ASC To Build Museum, Campus In Hollywood
Hollywood, October 19, 2001 — The American Society ofCinematographers (ASC) unveiled a comprehensive plan designed to helppreserve the history and define the future of the art of filmmaking.The initiative includes building a campus surrounding a museum at thesite of the historic ASC clubhouse on the corner of North Orange Driveand Franklin Avenue. ASC will also establish an endowment fund as partof an ambitious program to nurture future filmmakers.
“We are committed to preserving the integrity of the historyof our art form by establishing a museum that will be easily accessibleto the public, scholars, students and filmmakers around theworld,” says ASC President Victor J. Kemper. “We will alsobuild a state-of-the-art screening room and conference area in acampus-like setting where today’s and tomorrow’s filmmakerscan discuss their work and share ideas for advancing the art form. Theendowment fund will be used to assist talented young filmmakers whoalso will be mentored by our members. Our initiative will also benefitthe Hollywood community by significantly improving theneighborhood.”
Kemper says that the project will cost approximately $8 million,including the endowment fund. Donors have already pledged more thanthree and a half million dollars, including “generousgifts” from Eastman Kodak Company, Panavision, Technicolor, andthe ASC Board of Governors.
“We thank our friends at these companies who have historicallystood for progress and supported the goals of ASC and itsmembers,” Kemper says. “This initiative isn’t justfor cinematographers. It is for all current and future filmmakers, andalso for scholars and fans, who care about the future of our artform.”
Kemper says ASC is in the early stages of organizing a broad-basedcampaign committee that will help guide plans for the building projectand endowment fund.
“Steven Spielberg was among the first to accept our invitationto join the committee,” says Kemper. “That is appropriate,because in 1993 Steven Spielberg was the first director to be honoredfor his contributions to the art form during the annual ASC OutstandingAchievement Awards. His vision of the future is very important tous.”
The architectural firm of Goldman and Firth, in Malibu, California,consulted with various ASC members before designing plans for thecampus.
Kemper says the organization has also discussed its plans withofficers of the Hollywood Historical Society, the Hollywood Chamber ofCommerce and other local organizations. ASC has already filedconstruction plans with the city of Los Angeles requesting buildingpermits though no date has been set for breaking ground.
ASC is among the oldest existing organizations in the motion pictureindustry. It was founded during a meeting of 15 cinematographers atWilliam C. Foster’s home in Los Angeles on December 21, 1918,while the film industry was still in its infancy. Movies were black andwhite and silent, and longer narrative films were just beginning tofollow in the wake of the success of The Birth of a Nation.
“There were writers, directors, art directors, producers, setand costume designers before there were movies,” says Kemper,“but cinematography was a totally new endeavor. Cinematographerswere literally inventing a new language for telling stories with movingimages. ASC provided an opportunity for them to meet and discussideas.” The organization was chartered by the state of Californiaon January 9, 1919, for the purpose of advancing the art of narrativefilmmaking. From the beginning, ASC membership has been by invitationbased on the individual’s body of narrative film work. Theorganization grew to 130 members by 1930. There have been some 680members over the years, including many of the industry’s definingartists. There have also been 315 associate members from ancillarysectors of the film industry, who were invited to join ASC based ontheir contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking. The currentmembership includes 235 cinematographers from approximately 20different countries, and 106 associate members.
The ASC clubhouse was built approximately 100 years ago as a privateresidence in a new development called Hollywood. During the 1920s,Conway Tearle, a popular silent movie star, lived in the house. ASCacquired the building in 1936, and it subsequently became a meetingplace for the industry’s most prominent cinematographers.
“Over the decades, many members and friends of ASC havedonated cameras, letters, scripts, photographs and othermemorabilia,” Kemper says. “Our collection is unique and weexpect it to grow. This museum will be a place where movie fans,historians, teachers, students, scholars and filmmakers can get intouch with the roots of this art form that has become so important toour culture.”
In addition to the museum, the new buildings will contain some15,000 square feet of space, including the screening room, conferencearea, and offices for the staffs of ASC and for AmericanCinematographer magazine. There will also be underground parking. Foradditional details, visit the ASC website atwww.cinematographer.com.