Michael Fash BSC
Place of birth: New Malden, Surrey
My father was an architect so I was going to be one!
I was studying all the required subjects for architecture but I also painted in oils. On Wednesday afternoons I painted nudes. My professors would come and visit to discuss my maths papers etc. - and to have a crafty look at who was sitting for me!
One professor observed also that I had a very interesting mix of art and technical talents.
“Film would be my forte” he commented and explained the BBC was taking a few people a year to train, which in 1959 was the only official training available in film and TV.
I was selected and never looked back!
I went to the BBC training facility in Evesham in Oxford and then worked in live TV as a trainee in all the categories. I then transferred to the Ealing Film Studios choosing to specialize in film.
After working as an assistant on documentaries, film for TV, school programs etc. I began to travel the world specializing in documentaries as a director of photography. For the next several years I sent material back to London from most of Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
I then was asked by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, who had become head of programming at Thames TV, to join him there. I formed my own company with my own equipment and worked as an independent for Thames TV for the next several years. I found myself caught up in a few wars! I had just finished a documentary about Israel when the six day war broke out. I took my camera to Jerusalem and was with the Israeli army when they took Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall. I also experienced some tight squeezes in Nigeria who were fighting the Biafra War and also got rare footage out of Hanoi before the end of the Vietnam war. I then began working on movies for TV, winning several awards.
I became friends with Lindsay Anderson shooting my first feature film for him.
I started to get plentiful offers from the USA and after several films there taking me away from my family I emigrated there with my wife and three young children to Connecticut.
An Emmy that year for best photography for one of my US movies facilitated my green card!
I formed a commercial company in New York thriving on the reputation of British commercial directors like the Scotts.
Combining commercials with movies I shot all over the US and also in Toronto and Vancouver.
One summer I founded a “film school” for underprivileged children in Bridgeport CT.
I taught them how to make documentaries every Saturday and enrolled other local people from the industry to help out teaching in their various departments.
Our work was sent to Washington by the Mayor and we recieved a $50,000 grant for our school!
Too much away from home set off my divorce and I then moved to California to the sun.
Plenty of work including being sent to Budapest to be the supervisory director on a series for ABC.
Invited to become a professor at USC Film School and enjoyed teaching there for three years.
Ready for a rest, in 2007 I moved 2hrs east to live in sunny, peaceful La Quinta, California near Palm Springs.