by Nigel Walters, BSC – President of IMAGO and Vice President of BSC
Operators Night was originally instigated as an opportunity for BSC Cinematographers to celebrate the achievements and companionship of their creative team members. Operators are alive and kicking in the British film industry and this annual occasion is intended as a token of respect and gratitude by the Cinematographers for whom they have worked.
In recent times the event has become a final opportunity for Companies, Cinematographers and Operators to meet before the Christmas celebrations. The venue for 2014 was one of the finest Victorian banking halls in London. Now recognised as a fine banqueting venue, it comfortably seated 240 guests of the Society. However anyone ordering an extra bottle of wine would have needed to be a banker at the cost of £28.
As an indication of the importance of television, the BSC instigated its inaugural Best Cinematography in a Television Award which was duly won by a recently elected member of the Society Tony Miller BSC for his work on the film “Quirke”.
It is interesting to reflect that the first recipient of the prestigious Bert Easey Award was given to the Chief engineer at Denham and Pinewood Studios, George Ashworth, in 1949 for perfecting a beam splitter camera which advanced the technique of the travelling matte process. Much can happen in 65 years.
The Award is still given to an individual or company who has made an outstanding contribution by means of endeavour and equipment. Not for the first time the Bert Easey Award has crossed the Chanel, the BSC Board selection going to Thales Angenieux for the development and production of high resolution lenses. It was received by their President and CEO Pierre Andurand. A previous French winner in 1997 was Jean Pierre Beauviala for his contribution to advancement of camera technology.
The Arri/BSC John Alcott Award was first given in 1986 following the tragic death of the great cinematographer. It is given to an individual who has contributed most towards perpetuating the original aims of the Society. The Award was given to the editor of the British Cinematographer magazine, Ronnie Prince. Under his ten year editorship the journal has grown in international stature, indirectly furthering the aims of the BSC. The Award was presented by Judith Evans (Petty), Head of Corporate Marketing and Russell Allen Director of Operations at Arri.
The Final Award, the ACO, BSC/ GBCT Operators Award for 2014 was voted by membership for Peter Taylor for his outstanding contribution to the success of “Gravity”. It was a fitting end to an evening when the toasts were both to the Operators and the Society.