Daryn Okada Re-Elected as President of ASC
June 18, 2007
HOLLYWOOD —Daryn Okada, ASC has been elected to serve a second one-year term as president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). The other new officers are Vice Presidents Michael Goi, ASC, Richard Crudo, ASC and Owen Roizman, ASC, Treasurer Victor J. Kemper, ASC, Secretary Michael Negrin, ASC and Sergeant At Arms John Hora, ASC.
Other members of the new board of governors are Caleb Deschanel, ASC, George Spiro Dibie, ASC, Richard Edlund, ASC, William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC, Francis Kenny, ASC, Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Isidore Mankofsky, ASC, Robert Primes, ASC, Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC, Kees Van Oostrum, ASC and Haskell Wexler, ASC. Alternate board members are Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Matthew Leonetti, ASC, Russ Alsobrook, ASC and Sol Negrin, ASC.
“Just being an ASC member is like a dream come true,” Okada says. “Our founders defined the mission for ASC in 1919, when the motion picture industry was still in its infancy. They were dedicated to providing a collegial environment, where members could share ideas and solve problems for the purpose of advancing a new art form. That remains our top priority today. Our industry is experiencing a renaissance of cinematography and postproduction technology, and the ASC has kept the new techniques focused on visual storytelling. ASC members have always been generous in spreading our knowledge gained from experience to our industry colleagues and the young of filmmakers of tomorrow.”
Okada is a native of Los Angeles who was self taught in the art of cinematography. He was a black-and-white still photographer and Super 8 film hobbyist, as well as an avid movie fan as a pre-teen. However, when Okada told his high school career counselor that he wanted to become a filmmaker, he was advised to think about doing something more practical. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, Okada worked as a projectionist at East Los Angeles City College. He considers that experience part of his education. The school frequently screened classic motion pictures from around the world for the local community.
The film studies program at the University of Southern California wasn’t an affordable option for Okada, so he volunteered his services as an unpaid crew member for their students. Okada advanced to working as a gaffer, grip and occasionally as a camera operator on small, independent movies before he was 20 years old. That led to opportunities for him to photograph commercials.
Okada earned his first feature credit in 1981. He has subsequently compiled an eclectic list of more than 40 credits, including Anna Karenina, Lake Placid, Dr. Dolittle 2, Joe Somebody, Cradle 2 the Grave, Mean Girls, Paparazzi, Just Like Heaven, and the TV miniseries In a Child’s Name and the Dawson’s Creek pilot. Okada recently completed principal photography for the sequel to Harold and Kumar. He is currently shooting Baby Mama, a comedy produced by Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn, written and directed by Michael McCullers with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin and Sigourney Weaver cast in leading roles. Both films are slated for release in 2008.
“When I was in my very early teens, I was an avid movie fan. I still have vivid memories of films that my parents took me to see, including Bullitt (shot by William Fraker, ASC, BSC), Paper Moon (shot by Laszlo Kovacs, ASC) and The French Connection (shot by Owen Roizman, ASC),” he says. “Now, I am serving the ASC with the cinematographers who shot those films. I believe that those of us who are privileged to work in this extraordinary industry have an obligation to the filmmakers who inspired us, and also to future generations of filmmakers, and to the public.”
The ASC traces its roots to the dawn of the motion picture industry in 1913 when the first generation of cinematographers organized clubs in New York and Los Angeles. They held informal meetings to resolve technical issues and share creative ideas. Sixteen members of the two clubs met in Los Angeles in December 1918 and organized ASC. The organization was chartered in California in January 1919.
There are currently 290 active members of ASC today who have national roots in some 20 countries. There are also 150 associate members from sectors of the industry that support the art and craft of filmmaking. Membership and associate membership is by invitation based on contributions that individuals have made to advance the art of visual storytelling.
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