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Werner Herzog Offers Advice To The Next-Gen At ICG Event

Werner Herzog Headshot - P 2011
Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty Images

The International Cinematographers Guild presented its Emerging Cinematographer Awards Sunday at the DGA Theater.

Guest speaker Werner Herzog urged the honorees at the International Cinematographers Guild’s 16th annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards to gain an understanding of celluloid film.

“I encourage working with celluloid although almost every one of you will work with digital. [Film] is such a good [education] for image making,” the filmmaker said Sunday during the ECA ceremony held at the DGA Theater.

Herzog offered some of his recommended dos and don’ts, and likes and dislikes. Among his dislikes—a video village on location. “Everybody only focuses on the video screens and not the actors who are in arms length. It is distracting," he said. "As a cinematographer you should have the guts to pull the plug.”

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He also urged cinematographers to avoid excessive coverage when shooting. “It doesn’t do good for the editor, it doesn’t do good for the actors, and it doesn’t do good for the budget,” he said. “Be watchful in establishing a scene. You don’t need to shoot endless amounts of coverage.

“Be bold, develop your own vision, and stick to it. And don't be afraid—because you are the future,” he told the honorees.

Also offering advice was Eli Roth, who spoke via a recorded message from his new “Goretorium” in Las Vegas. Encouraging collaboration between cinematographers and directors, he said: “Usually the shots that I like the best are the ones that neither of us could have thought of without each other. … Directors have huge egos, so do DPs—they are very poetic. The best thing you can do is put that aside and focus on what is in front of the frame.”

During the ceremony, shorts from the honorees—selected from a record 100-plus submissions, according to ICG president Steven Poster—were screened in the packed auditorium. They are camera operator John Barr (The Carrier), 1st AC Daron Keet (Ripple Effect), camera operator Brian O’Carroll (Angel), camera operator Michael Pescasio (Don’t Let Your Love Annihilate), camera operator James Takata (Only Child), camera operator Pete Villani (Carjack), camera operator Robert C. Webb (The Girl in the Dark Room) and 1st AC Stewart Whelan (The Money Pet). Additionally, 1st AC Michael Lloyd (Dawn) and 1st AC Basil Smith (Cowards and Monsters) received honorable mentions.

There will be a screening of the recognized shorts in New York on October 21. The ECA-honored films will also be presented later this year at Poland’s Camerimage festival.