Early this summer, Mexico’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica hosted an ASC delegation that included cinematographers Dean Cundey and Richard Crudo and associate members Mark Bender of Tiffen and Gary Paz of Cinelease. The group also visited Churubusco Studios and Telemundo Expo at the World Trade Center in Mexico City, where they conducted seminars and workshops sponsored in part by Canon. The trip exemplified the ASC’s commitment to educational outreach and highlighted the importance the Society places on inspiring the next generation of filmmakers.
Henner Hofmann, ASC, AMC, is the director of the CCC. “The opportunity to meet with ASC filmmakers, whose images are seen all over the planet, is so important for our kids,” says Henner. “The message that they bring — that cinematography is at its heart about storytelling, whether you have a big Hollywood budget or not — is so important and motivating. Dramatic, successful, beautiful and well-made movies can be done simply, and sometimes they will be stronger because they come straight from the heart. Richard was very clear on that point.”
Henner continues, “The ASC recognizes the work of great cinematographers, but in order to be accepted as a member, you are evaluated as a human being as well. As a result, the ASC includes many generous, wonderful people. That’s the spirit that is demonstrated during these visits, and it makes me very proud to be an ASC member.”
Henner has long been a key link between the ASC and the AMC, and he is a former president of the latter. The ASC and the CCC have also had a long relationship, also thanks in great part to Henner. Guillermo Navarro, Robert Yeoman, Gabriel Beristain and Xavier Grobet are among the many ASC members who have visited the school in the past.
ASC Circulation Director Saul Molina played a key role in organizing this summer’s visit, says Richard. “Saul has a longstanding relationship with our friends in Mexico,” he notes, “and at his urging, I finally had an opportunity to travel down there to see what’s happening in terms of our outreach. I found an incredible desire for contact with Hollywood, for an exchange with the ASC, and for ways to broaden knowledge and experience directly. The students were very well informed and very capable, but I think we were able to begin to help them fill a gap [and] step up to the next level.”
Richard’s workshop presentation was about testing the dynamic range of electronic sensors. At the expo, he accepted an award from Telemundo recognizing his work and the ASC’s role in encouraging unity among cinematographers around the world. “I love Mexico,” Richard said at the presentation. “It’s been a wonderful experience reaching out to our brothers and sisters around the world … [and] we look forward to growing and enriching that relationship. There is a great potential for us all to learn and grow as artists, and that is our aim. It’s not about the technology, it’s about what’s in our hearts.”
Dean Cundey also received an award at the expo. In his remarks, he said, “It’s a great privilege to work in an art form that touches so many people around the world … to work in so many film cultures … and to see so much that we share in common.”
Looking back on the experience, Richard echoes those sentiments. “Last summer, we traveled to China and had a similar experience,” he says. “The world is a messy place right now, and the news is always sketchy, it seems. That leads to certain perceptions, but when you throw that aside and actually meet and greet individuals, suddenly it’s all about what we have in common.”