SA eNews November - Award Winners! Apocalypto Screening / Q&A. Wrap up Mao's Screening/Q&A & Lighting Master Class, Profile Richard Back, plus more.

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2013 SA & WA Award Winners

Almost 100 attended our 33rd Annual SA & WA Awards for Cinematography at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hindley Street, Adelaide on Saturday November 2.

Daniel Sokeov ACS was presented his accreditation by National President Ron Johanson ACS and Malcolm Ludgate ACS was presented his Life Membership Award.

Our Guest of Honour, Peter James ACS ASC, enlightened us with some well chosen words and we were kept entertained by our MC, comedian George Kapiniaris and heard some great music from Ellie Foster.

One thing I noticed this year was the number of younger members who used to occasionally win a bronze or silver over the past few years but now they're winning Gold's. The bastards, how am I supposed to win a gong with these guys coming up! David LeMay from WA, Daniel Sokeov ACS, Brant Cumming and the ABC won a swag of awards between them and the special awards on the night went to:

Milton Ingerson Award for Best Entry:
Geoff Hall ACS for Drift

News Directors Award:
Dan Soekov ACS for Christmas Island Detention

Cliff Ellis Award to a promising young Cinematographer:
Michael Tessari for Isis

MRC $3,000 Student Encouragement Prize:
Aaron Kleemann for Chrysalis

Many thanks to the hardworking SA committee for all their efforts to put on another wonderful awards night. Congrats to the Award winners (and to those who won the great door prizes) and keep shooting great images, we look forward to seeing the entries next year.

Check out all the winners via this link:

Winners_SAWA_2013_rev.pdf »

Apocalypto Screening and Q&A

Dean Semler AM ACS ASC will present Apocalypto on Tuesday November 26th at the Mercury Cinema 13 Morphett Street, Adelaide. 6pm for 6:30 screening.

So RSVP real soon to reserve your seat for what promises to be a great night:

ACS members free, MRC Members $5donation to ACS, General Public $10 donation to the ACS. The bar will be open to purchase drinks from 6.

A rundown on Dean's illustrious career follows as you may not realise that Dean is from SA!

Dean Semler AM ACS ASC was born and raised in Renmark in South Australia. You amy not know that Renmark is an aboriginal word for 'red mud'. At 17 years old he started his career as a props boy at one of Rupert Murdoch's first TV stations in Australia. After about a year of moving scenery around stages he graduated to operating a live studio camera.

Dean had not studied photography and there were no film schools but he aspired to shoot film, and after a couple of years he became a news cameraman using a 16mm Bell & Howell camera and only black and white film, from then on he was totally self taught.

This early work led to current affairs and documentaries, followed by a 9 year stint at Film Australia, the government film making body. Here he worked on a broad range of films, from documentaries, short films for cinema, television drama and his first feature 'Let the Balloon Go'. The documentaries included anthropological films used for educational purposes, both with the Australian Aborigines and the tribes in the New Guinea highlands, what he describes as "an exercise in pure film making".

Semler earned critical acclaim for his innovative camerawork in a series of early 1980's films, including 'Road Warrior', 'Dead Calm', 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome' and 'Razorback' which earnt him the prestigious AFI award.

His US credits include 'Cocktail', ‘Young Guns', 'City Slickers', ‘Waterworld', 'The Bone Collector', 'Bruce Almighty', 'The Longest Yard', 'Get Smart', 'Secretariat', 'We Were Soldiers', 'Apocalypto', 'In the Land of Blood and Honey', 'Grudge Match' and 'Maleficent'.

Semler won an oscar and the American Society of Cinematographer's Outstanding Achievement Award for his work on 'Dances with Wolves' and an ASC nomination for 'Apocalypto'.

In 2002 it was announced that Semler was the recipient of a member in the general division of the Order of Australia, appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 for services to the arts , an honor bestowed on him by his fellow countrymen.

2012 saw Dean receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers.

RSVP for Apocalypto - Please state if you are an ACS or MRC member or neither. »

Mao's Last Dancer Screening and Q&A

Forty attended the Peter James ACS ASC screening and Q&A of Mao's Last Dancer at the SAFC theatre.

Peter generously talked us through his photographic approach while the film was being screened. He highlighted some of the difficulties with the weather and working in China. Pointed out 'comped' scenes and explained various tricks to achieve the different time periods of the film.

This was followed by about a 30 minute Q&A session where he openly discussed some of the challenges and solutions he came up with whilst making this film.

Many thanks to the producer Jane Scott, to Marty Pepper from Kojo and to Peter for sharing his expertise and time.

Lighting Master Class Wrap-up

The Peter James ACS ASC lighting Master Class at Anifex studios was well attended with a full house of 36 gaining invaluable info on lighting and photographing protraits. This is something we are all likely to do whether it's a talking head for news, a beauty shot of a model in a TVC, an actress in a feature, or a presenter in a doco so it was an invaluable night.

Peter demonstrated how best to light faces, demonstrating lighting angles, choices of diffusion, effect of colour gells, exposure and it's effects, lens choices, lens height and much, much more.

This was a free event only for our ACS SA branch members and a few comments at the end of the night included: a great night, learnt heaps,, that was great, it was amazing to clearly see demonstrations of what affect the choice of lens & light angles has to different shape faces and skin tones.

Many thanks again to Dai and James from Picture Hire for supplying the RED Scarlet, Cameraquip for their big lens the 24-290 zoom, David Tang 1st AC, Graeme Shelton for lighting, Jo Rossiter Best Boy, John Smith gripping, ProAV Solutions for monitoring and Anifex for their studio & support.

Of course special thanks go to Peter James ACS ASC for again graciously sharing his knowledge and experience with us. Without all these contributors it would not be possible to put on night's like this.

BTW Cameraquip donated a ticket to attend our 33rd Awards night as a door prize for a student member which was won by Jordan Agutter.

Profile: 'Old' committee member Richard Back

Favourite Film? “Big Lebowski” and not just because people see some similarity between me and the Dude!?! I’m a fan of the Coen brothers.
Other interests – I’m a sailor, have been since the late 70’s - cruising and racing!

So Richard tell us about your career:
I started out in 1978, while I was working as a welder/crane operator etc for Quarry Industries, doing a camera course part time at the old Education Multi Media Unit when it was at Kilkenny – it was a place that made educational films for TAFE, (or its 1978 equivalent). The next year I became involved in live theatre (because I could weld sets together) and that is the way it’s gone since – some time making films and some time in live performance.

In 1981, after working in mines and saving a bit of money, I studied a BA in Communication Studies with a minor in Cinematography at what is now UniSA (used to be SACAE). We learned mainly on Super 8 and 16mm and of course that minor took a major part of my time! I continued building sets for theatre during my time at Uni and when I finished was appointed Administrator of the Riverina Theatre Company in Wagga – go figure - that lasted a year, I’m not an administrator! So the mid 80’s were shooting independent shorts with people from college etc and still making a living building sets etc for theatre.

In ‘87 I went to AFTRS and did the 1st AD course and when I returned was offered the job of Technical Manager at the Centre for the Performing Arts (CPA) when it was in Grote Street - again not exactly what you’d expect after having just done the AFTRS course, but at that time I had two small kids and wanted to be in Adelaide. I had started teaching Actors about hitting their marks and the basic technical aspects of working for the camera at SA Casting and so continued that and also shot many dance pieces and shorts with the Acting students at the CPA. I built a small TV studio in the old stables out the back, it was low band Umatic, reject equipment from the same unit I started with at Kilkenny (only they had moved to Light Square by then), we shot a lot of class work in that studio.

While at the CPA video projectors became more affordable (and almost portable) and I started working a lot with projection for live performance, not that it hadn’t been done before - I’d shoot film, Super 8 and 16mm for projection over dance and drama projects. A couple of my favourite memories from that time are the Super 8 projection of the ghost character in a theatre production of Hamlet and a rig I built for a sequence in a short film - the camera (Arri16 BL) was attached to the rig and shot into a mirror mounted to reflect at about right angles to the lens, all built in steel, (ridiculously heavy but I was young !) No we didn’t consider flipping the image in post as it would have cost us as much as the budget of the film (in camera effects were the only way!) and the result was amazing all handheld and ramped to high speed it gave us the deterioration of the characters’ mind in a very effective way.

I left the CPA in 1993 and spent the next year travelling around the world with the family. When we got back I ended up with a job as Promo Producer (organise, shoot and edit promo’s and openers etc) at Imparja TV in Alice Springs for about 5 months. Then back to Adelaide and to do the directing course at the Drama Centre at Flinders, I’d never really done the rehearsal and prep work with actors, so thought that would be a good idea. I graduated in 1998 and having made a few films while studying and had already begun teaching acting for camera part time. I put together another TV studio in the existing Dance Studio at the Drama Centre (see a pattern here? - put together a little video editing and live switching suite at SA Casting too).

The 90’s were essentially working in theatre with live projection, studying and teaching at Flinders. A couple highlights being a show called “Spool Time” which utilized the projection to mess with time in the production and “Masterkey” a mystery set in a Japanese boarding house, the rooms of which were like wardrobes on stage with actors immersed in various projections over their rooms. In1999 I worked on a show called Exile where we again created an immersive Dance /Theatre piece, we had 5 projectors shooting into a gauze cube (with other interior gauzes) about 10 metres square creating various environments (such as stuff we had shot out in the middle of Lake Gairdner) for a Japanese Butoh dancer. In 2000 we built the TV studio at the Drama Centre and I ended up being employed fulltime teaching cinematography for the Screen Dept and Acting for camera for Drama.

I get out every now and then to shoot something, most recently in the theatre I worked on a Border Project/Sydney Theatre Company co pro called “Vs Macbeth” a look at the curses and myths surrounding that play in theatre history. I teach basic screen directing, I tend to work with directing students as DoP rather than just being a supervisor and so have a couple of ACS awards from those projects. Recently I shot “River Water” and won a Silver ACS Award for it, that film was written and directed by one of our Drama Centre graduates Sara West and I’m currently shooting her next project “Dirt Girls’.

A very extensive and varied career Richard, so what have you been involved with on the committee?

I’ve been on the committee for quite a few years now and have had a few different roles – edited the newsletter for a few years and was a vice president for two years, I am currently the assistant treasurer, not that I get to do much in that role as Mylene is all over it, I often help out at awards time too!

Thanks Richard for your continuing input and support, it is very much appreciated.

Cheers, SA Pres Ernie Clark ACS

SAFC Attachment Register

Interested in registering to become an attachment?

The SAFC are at the stage of collecting expressions of interest for attachments.

They have not yet put in the “attachments” category on the crew and services directory (so therefore the formal “register” is not up and active yet).

This will happen over the next few weeks, so for the time being interested people can email Andrada Tudor,, their CV and what area they would like to be listed as a potential attachment for, and she will follow up to complete their register profile once the category is properly up and running.

Click for 2012/13 Phonetography entries »

Phone-tography 2013 - 2014 Comp

Our Phone-tography Comp is on again in 2013 - 2014. There are great prizes to be won, the results to be announced at our AGM in August 2014. To enter email your phone pics to

So get your phones out and start snapping. If you'd like to see a gallery of last years entries check them out via the link below:

Phone-tography T&C's:
photos to be taken at work, on set, on location, photos related to filming, but the photos MUST be taken on a Phone and then submitted into our Phone-tography competition. The photo/s must be taken by entrant. It's not just about the image but could also be about the subject matter, the location, the people, the occasion, even you! And you could win CASH PRIZES from a prize pool of $900.

The photos must be submitted via email by July 31 2014 and will be judged in 5 Categories (make sure you title each entry as 50 photos called untitled doesn't really work!):

1. Best Composition
2. Most Creative
3. Funniest Photo
4. Best Selfie (a picture you took of yourself)
5. Best Manipulated (Includes: Panoramics, Instagram filters, Hipstamatic + other apps)
6. People's Choice (voting for Cat 6 will take place @ 2014 AGM)

1. Entry is free and only open to SA branch ACS members
2. Photos taken on Phones only after 13/8/13 and submitted before 31/7/14
3. Photos to be taken "On the Job" i.e on set, on location, at work
4. No Photoshopping or filters allowed, except in Category 5.
5. The photo/s must be taken by entrant.
6. Entrants agree by the act of entering the ACS SA branch Phone-tography Competition that they give the ACS the right to publish the photos as they see fit
7. To enter email please ensure you title your picture and select a category if you wish.
8. Please consider the photos may be seen publicly
9. The decisions of the judging panel will be final and binding. The judges may use their discretion and not award all prizes
10. Winners will be announced at the SA branch AGM in August 2014

1st Prize in Category $100
2nd Prize in Category $50
Plus the People's Choice prize of $150

Upcoming dates

November 11 Committee Meeting @ Anifex

November 26 Apocalypto Screening and Q&A with Dean Semler AM ACS ASC

December 2 Committee Meeting @ Anifex

December 9 ACS Christmas drinks @ The Colonist,The Parade Norwood

February 3 First Committee Meeting for 2014 @ Anifex

May 28 National ACS Awards for Cinematography Brisbane, Queensland

August 11 SA AGM

November 1 34th Annual SA & WA Awards for Cinematography

ACS SA Branch Facebook page

The ACS SA branch has its own Facebook page.

We will use this page to advertise upcoming events, as well as create photo albums of Awards and Trade Nights.

To become a fan, go to the link below and click the 'like' button.

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