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ACS South Australian Branch


June 2021

From the Pres
ACS Society Beginnings
Profile - Aaron Schupan
From the Pres

Some good news, we have secured our venue for the prestigious 41st SA & WA ACS Awards for Cinematography which will be held on Saturday November 6 at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club in Seaton. Put the date in your diaries and remember the Awards entry window opens August 1 and closes CoB August 21 so start thinking about what you might enter this year. Also remember that the only way to enter the National ACS Awards is to have won Gold at the State or Territory level.

By the time you read this newsletter you should have received your membership renewal for 21 / 22 so please pay promptly as they are due by June 30 and if you pay by then you should be able to claim a tax deduction if you are eligible.

If you are thinking of applying for ACS Accreditation please talk to me, the SA President, soon about your application as the window to submit Accreditation Applications is September 1 to September 30.

Apologies to any of our recent Profiles whose pictures appeared sideways, when I laid them up they were the correct orientation and when I sent test emails they were also correct. I'm not sure why this has occurred but it seems there's a glitch occasionally in Mailchimp.
ACS Society beginnings
At the National ACS Awards for Cinematography the ACT branch had put copies of this press story from the Sunday Telegraph published on March 24 1946.

We've come along way from 9 founding members to currently 1,785 across every State and Territory!

SA has had a surge in memberships over the last year from 148 last year to 175 now. May I take this opportunity to welcome all of our new members.

If any of our members have any ideas or suggestions for equipment, trade, educational or screening and Q&A nights please let one of your committee know and we'll do our best to make it happen. You can find who are on the SA Branch committee via this link.

Profile Aaron Schupan

When did you decided to work in our industry?
It's all I've wanted to do since I was eight years old!

What attracted you to join the ACS?
The truthful answer is that it was an overwhelming case of imposter syndrome that kept me from applying to the ACS for so long. It actually took the encouragement of a couple collaborators and getting a couple of really strong projects under my belt for me to join. My pathway to being a cinematographer was very unusual and as such I struggled to think of myself as a legitimate one. I have no real formal training in the role and never worked my way up the ranks through crewing like many others. When I was making movies right out of school I just happened to be the one in the group who sort of knew which end of a camera to point forward and I learned by failing and failing and failing again. I am really glad I joined because the community is so encouraging and I've been able to speak closely with cines from such varied career paths that I really wished I had joined a lot sooner.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
My Oma, a WW2 widow and immigrant, once said to me when I was really upset, "Things are never ideal. Sometimes we just have to make do." That was profound life advice but something I think about on set ALL THE TIME. Don't have a crane? Make do. Can't afford an Arri... MAKE DO.
Who do you look up to in the industry, did you have any mentors?
While I struggle to recall any mentors in the traditional sense I really find that inspiring admiration in many of my peers. Liam Somerville (fellow ACS member) of Capital Waste Pictures is someone I have worked alongside for years and his work ethic and attitude are a great guide for me. He's a creative wizard who pushes the boundaries of making visuals into arenas that boggle my brain and he has a clarity of vision that I aspire to.
What has been your most interesting or challenging project so far?
Every project is a challenge in its own way. The web-series Lucy and DiC was a challenge in that the second lead is a CG robot who didn't exist on set. Learning how to incorporate him into the world through framing and lighting choices was a big learning curve. It was also a challenge in that it was essentially an 8 episode two-hander set in one apartment. In order to keep it dynamic we were constantly changing up blocking and lighting conditions but always in a story-justified way. Recently I shot the short film Coffee and Quasars using the new Unreal engine Virtual Production techniques. The tech was so new at the time we were figuring it out as we shot. Lighting human subjects to match the virtual environments is a really interesting puzzle. If it's slightly off it just pulls me out of the moment and I can't stand it. In January this year I was asked to shoot a feature film in 7 days! A huge challenge as you can imagine but I threw myself at it excited to see if I could. I mean you can always just drop sticks and let things play out in a prosaic fashion but I really wanted to push the dynamics and keep myself to shooting to my own high standards. You basically click into a fugue state where you are thinking and moving so fast that it becomes surreal. Really happy with the results tho.
What’s your next project?
I have a short film with We Made A Thing Studios coming up in May. A dusty, violent neo-Western that I'm really excited about. We are going for a very harsh and unforgiving lighting style - lots of hard edged chiaroscuro and tension filled framing. After that I am directing a project of my own called Heavy Red - a blood-soaked survival-horror set in the Adelaide Hills. Liam will be shooting that and I'm looking forward to the challenge of handing the rig to someone else and figuring the right balance of letting them do their thing while also getting the very specific visuals I have in mind. We might have our first fight on that set. ;-)
What would you be doing if you weren’t shooting?
I count myself lucky in that I also pursue writing and directing so even when I'm not shooting I am busy re-writing a script or planning something. I find that learning as much as I can about every aspect of film-making feeds back into the specific roles. The more I understand script and story structure the better I am at breaking down scenes into coverage and shot choices. The more I learn about shooting the better I become at visualising scenes when writing. It's all a big, infinite puzzle I'll never fully solve.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know, do you have any hidden talents?
I'm a licenced and registered wedding celebrant. True story. Here's a picture of me at work.
If you could change anything in this industry what would it be?
I'd wave a magic wand and magic away the cultural cringe that Australian audiences have for our own films. I'd love more than anything to see Aussie movies of all kinds play to packed houses at the cinema.

Thanks Aaron, although you've only recently joined the SA ACS branch it's great to see you collect at our Awards and well done with Lucy & Dic, the interaction with Lucy and the Robot really worked well.

ACS Facebook Group

Current financial ACS members are welcome to join our Facebook group. Members can post their work, connect across states, link to events, ask for advice, and put up equipment for sale, etc. To join, follow the link below and request to join, and one of your local committee members can approve your request. If you're not a member please don't apply as we really don't want to have to reject you. Thanks.

Upcoming Dates


June 1 to 30 Membership fees Due
June 7 Committee Meeting
July 5 Committee Meeting
August 1 - 21 Awards Entry Window
August 16 SA AGM
September 1 Accreditation Window Opens
September 6 Committee Meeting
September 30 Accreditation Window Closes
October 4 Committee Meeting
November 1 Committee Meeting
November 6 41st SA & WA Awards for Cinematography @ Royal Adelaide Golf Course
December 6  Committee Meeting
December 14 Christmas Drinks

February 7 Committee Meeting
March Committee Meeting
April  Committee Meeting
May Committee Meeting
May    52nd National ACS Awards for Cinematography in Adelaide
June 7 Committee Meeting
July 5 Committee Meeting
August 1 - 21 Awards Entry Window
August 16 SA AGM
September 1 Accreditation Window Opens
September 6 Committee Meeting
September 30 Accreditation Window Closes
October 4 Committee Meeting
November 1 Committee Meeting
November 5 42nd SA & WA Awards for Cinematography in Perth venue TBC


South Australia Major Sponsor
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South Australia Gold Sponsors
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South Australia Silver Sponsors
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South Australia Bronze Sponsor
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National Major Sponsor
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National Platinum Sponsors
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National Gold Sponsors
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National ACS CineKids Sponsor
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National Bronze Sponsors
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National Supporters
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South Australian Branch
Australian Cinematographers Society
C/- PO Box 278, NORMANVILLE, SA 5204

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