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ASC Dedicates 2010 Heritage Award to Memory of Richard Moore

Organization Accepting Submissions


October 2, 2009

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has dedicated the 2010 Heritage Award for outstanding achievement in a student film to the memory of Richard Moore, ASC. The award is annually re-named in dedication of a person who made noteworthy contributions to advancing the art of cinematography. The Richard Moore ASC Heritage Award will be presented during the 24th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration here at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on February 27, 2010.

Submissions for the award are currently being accepted by the organization. The deadline is November 3, 2009, by noon.

“Richard Moore was a true visionary who co-founded Panavision and was responsible for significant advances in filmmaking technology,” says ASC President Michael Goi. “He was also an exceptionally talented cinematographer whose credits include The Reivers, Myra Breckinridge, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, and Annie, among other memorable films.”

Richard Crudo, ASC, chairman of the Awards Committee, adds, “Our goals are to recognize artful cinematography by student filmmakers, and to encourage them to pursue their dreams. Richard Moore is an ideal role model for them.”    

Applicants for the 2010 Richard Moore Heritage Award must either be in their final year or a recent graduate of a school in the United States. Requirements include a recommendation by the dean, a department head or another faculty member. Films that are submitted will be judged by a jury of ASC members who will evaluate both the artistry of the cinematography and how effectively the images augment the visions of the directors and performances by the actors.

Moore blazed a nontraditional career path. He was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1925, where he lived on the family farm during his childhood. Moore was an avid movie fan, and an 8mm film and still photography hobbyist during his youth. He majored in naval science and minored in cinema studies as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California (USC). After serving in the Navy, Moore earned a graduate degree in cinema studies at USC.

“In those days a film school degree and a nickel bought you a cup of coffee in Hollywood,” Moore said in a 2005 interview. “I shot 16 mm travelogues and supported myself by working in a camera store in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.”

That’s where he met Robert Gottschalk who was also working at the camera shop. The U.S. distributor of the Aqualung invented by Jacques Cousteau contacted Gottschalk and Moore and asked them to develop an underwater housing for a 16mm Bolex camera. Moore had heard about an anamorphic lens made in France. He experimented with adapting it for underwater cinematography.

Moore also shot a few short, 16mm films in anamorphic format in 1953. The Robe, the first motion picture produced in widescreen CinemaScope format, was slated for release that year. The head of a major manufacturer of cinema screens heard about the experiments shot by Moore. He asked him and Gottschalk if they could develop an affordable lens that could be used with projectors already in cinemas to present motion pictures in CinemaScope and other widescreen formats.

Moore and Gottschalk embraced the challenge. The first Panavision office and research lab were on a balcony in the camera store. They collaborated on the design of the lens, which “sold like hotcakes,” using Moore’s words, and went on to develop and manufacture other innovative motion picture products.

In 1959, Moore, Gottschalk and Douglas Shearer shared a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for developing a 65mm camera and projector.    

Moore left Panavision in 1962 to pursue his passion for cinematography. He began his new career as an assistant cameraman and persistently worked his way up through the ranks. Moore earned his first cinematography credit for a feature film in 1965 called Operation C.I.A, which featured Burt Reynolds in his debut as an actor.

Winning was one of Moore’s personal favorite endeavors as a cinematographer. The 1969 film featured Paul Newman in the role of a race car driver. Moore designed and built a remote control system which enabled him to operate a camera mounted on the race car that Newman was driving. He was able to zoom, tilt the camera and change T-stops.

When his colleagues presented the ASC Presidents Award to Moore in 2005 he said, “One of the things that has fascinated me about filmmaking for all these years is that it provides an opportunity to express yourself in a language everyone understands. You can educate as well as entertain people, and hopefully improve the condition of mankind. I think it is incumbent on every human being, but especially those of us who are in the film business, because we have the ability to do so.”

Moore was 83 years old when he died of natural causes on August 16, 2009.

“Richard Moore was a talented cinematographer who was passionate about the art and craft of telling stories with moving images,” says Isidore Mankofsky, ASC, chairman of the Education Committee. “He was also a generous human being who always had time for students and other young filmmakers when they asked for advice.”  



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