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ASC Announces Top Student Cinematographers

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has named the 2009 recipients of the ASC Burton Stone Heritage Award for outstanding achievement in student filmmaking. Nathan Levine-Heaney from Florida State University took the top prize in the Graduate category, and Aaron Dunson from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts won in the Undergraduate competition. Their awards will be presented here during the 23rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration on February 15, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.

“These students have demonstrated an ability to create images for their films that visually evoke the emotions of the story in a collaborative environment,” says ASC President Daryn Okada. “The ASC designed this award to encourage talented student filmmakers to pursue careers in cinematography. Several past winners are now working in the industry and following their dreams.”

Also receiving honorable mentions for their submissions were graduate students Andrew Russo (University of Southern California) and Amanda Treyz (American Film Institute), as well as Golnar Fakhrai (California State University, Long Beach), and Jeffrey S. Taylor (University of North Carolina School of the Arts) who are pursuing undergraduate degrees.

Applicants for the Heritage Award must be either in their final year of film school or a recent graduate. Their submissions must be accompanied by a written recommendation from a film school chair, dean or teacher. Entries were judged by a jury of ASC members.

Each year, the ASC Heritage Award is rededicated to the memory of a different industry professional who contributed to the art and craft of cinematography. “Bud Stone was an eternal ally and friend to cinematographers both young and old,” notes Isidore Mankofsky, ASC, chairman of the Student Awards Committee. “He had an unwavering appreciation for the role that cinematographers play in the collaborative art of visual storytelling. He also made incomparable contributions to supporting cinematographers and raising their public profile.”

Stone worked his way up through the ranks at several film labs in New York and New Jersey before being named president of Deluxe Laboratories in 1976. He served in that role until 1994, when he retired. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the prestigious John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation to Stone “in appreciation for outstanding service and dedication in upholding the highest standards of the industry.” Stone was also an honorary member of the ASC, and served as chairman of the Outstanding Achievement Awards Committee for 17 years. Stone died on April 18, 2008.

The 23rd Annual ASC Awards will be preceded by an open house with the honorees and nominees at Mole Richardson in Hollywood, CA, on February 14, beginning at 11 a.m.