3rd May 2022 trailblazer
1. a person who is the first to do something; an innovator.
i. "they were trailblazers for many ideas that are now standard fare"
2. a person who makes a new track through wild country.
It’s late-April as I confront the next blank page. The incoming high tide of a deadline creeps ever closer. But fortunately, I am writing on the back of the great wave that was the BSC Expo. Crashing once again into the exhibition hall of the Evolution in Battersea Park, bringing with it a cascade of innovation and technology; a fresh catch for the nets of the Cinematographic community.
Over three days, 7000 attendees flowed through the hall like flotsam and jetsam. Drawn from stand to stand, conversation to conversation, by the same curiosity that drives exhibitors to push the boundaries of technical capability. In pursuit of image-making excellence, the individuals and companies that inhabit the stands fuel the evolution of the moving image. The symbiotic relationship between filmmaker and technical innovator is never more apparent than during the meetings, seminars, and panels at the BSC Expo.
Returning from a COVID-induced hiatus, it was great to be back in a room with so many colleagues and friends. Although the world seemed to have turned at a slower pace during 2020, filmmaking and the industry that supports it have been busier than ever, as the displays of new technologies and workflows illustrated. Presentations demonstrated new equipment allowing crucial hands-on practice. Panel discussions debated the important topics of gender representation, and physical and mental safety and well-being on set. Seminars sought to demystify the process and inspire a new generation of Cinematographers to pick up tools and go to work.
Technological trailblazers standing alongside image-makers, working together to elevate each other’s endeavours. The opportunity for this kind of interaction is exactly why the BSC Expo is an enduring feature of the calendar and why, after a two-year absence, it was so great to be back inside the exhibition hall again.
The human connection within the Cinematography department is the force that drives the innovation and evolution on which we all thrive. Demands are made and requirements met on every set. For every pioneer; an army of personnel and resource. For every leap of innovation; a hundred setbacks and hurdles to be overcome with effort and labour. The human element is often overlooked in the search for technological gains, but BSC Expo remains a celebration of the whizz-kids. Let’s raise a glass to the innovators!
Shortly after our last issue dropped, the Society gathered to honour and pay tribute to the filmmakers that have delivered examples of work that put them amongst the. Greatest practitioners of our craft...glasses were raised in celebration for the BSC Awards 2022.
The Grovesnor House welcomed us back into its warm embrace and provided the atmosphere for a joyous return to in-person human interaction...a revelation! Director Edgar Wright was Guest of Honour and led the charge for a celebration of all things cinematographic. His speech highlighted
the significance of his relationships with the Cinematographers, Camera Operators and Gaffers across his filmography. Edgar spoke of the intense collaborations and the loyalty. Time was taken to reflect on those members of our community that are no longer with us, to honour their commitment to our craft and to celebrate their legacy.
And so, to the awards. In recognition of great people doing great work. The Operator’s Awards were of the very highest standard; Mitch Dubin SOC ACO and John “Buzz” Moyer pulled off a kinetic camera ballet for “West Side Story” and Daniel Bishop ACO gracefully investigated an intense emotional landscape. The finest work in service to the finest stories.
Nominations for Cinematography were similarly inspiring and eclectic. Erik Wilson BSC unleashed his inner-maverick with the radical “Landscapers”, a collage of visual techniques and imaging tricks and treats, to bring an unbelievably true story to life. This maverick spirit was strong in the feature category too, as “The Power of the Dog” came out on top, with Ari Wegner ACS delivering the most delicately robust portrait of masculinity set amongst the big skies of Montana (New Zealand). Ari’s contribution plays with the conventions of the Western genre and carves channels straight to the heart of the characters...intimate, honest and grandiose in the finest combination. Lending an unconventional eye to familiar scenes Ari and Erik blaze a trail.
The final honour of the evening, for a Lifetime of Achievement, was presented to Phil Meheux BSC for his selfless contribution to the world of Cinematography, with a list of credits of the highest calibre, working across every genre around the globe. From “Play for Today” to “Scum” to “The Long Good Friday” to “Mask of Zorro” to “Casino Royale”... Phil lead the charge and elevated the cinematographers that followed in his wake.
To each of these pioneers... To the non-conformists... To the radicals...
To the trailblazers...
Innovate, inspire, evolve... swell the tide of progress.
“The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any
cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!” Martin Luther King Jr