Daryn Okada, ASC has been elected president of the
American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). The organization's officers
include Vice Presidents Michael Goi, ASC, William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC and
Caleb Deschanel, ASC; Treasurer Victor J. Kemper, ASC; Secretary Michael
Negrin, ASC and Sergeant At Arms John Hora, ASC.
"I am both humbled and honored that my colleagues have chosen me for this
role," Okada says. "I will rely on the advice and the support of our members
and associates as we continue on the historic mission defined by the founders
of ASC nearly 90 years ago. We are dedicated to advancing both the art and
the craft of filmmaking."
The organization's new board of governors also includes Curtis Clark, ASC,
George Spiro Dibie, ASC, Richard Edlund, ASC, Francis Kenny, ASC, Isidore
Mankofsky, ASC, Woody Omens, ASC, Nancy Schreiber, ASC, John Toll, ASC, Kees
Van Oostrum, ASC, Roy Wagner, ASC and Haskell Wexler, ASC. Alternate members
of the board are Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Stephen Lighthill, ASC, and Robert
"The art of filmmaking and the evolution of new visual technologies have been
inseparably linked from the earliest days of the industry," Okada notes. "Our
goal is to help assure that the evolution of technology serves the cinematic
Okada was born and raised in Los Angeles. He got his first camera and began
taking black-and-white still photographs when he was 6. Okada began making
Super 8 movies when he was 9. "I was always the kid with the camera," Okada
recalls. "It was a magical experience when my dad let me buy a splicer and I
could edit my own shots."
He was also an avid movie fan. Okada has indelible memories of his parents
taking him to see such films as THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE FRENCH CONNECTION,
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, BULLITT and PAPER MOON.
When Okada asked his high school career counselor about the possibilities of
pursuing a career in the motion picture industry, he was told that it was an
impossible dream. He was advised that engineering or being a technician in
the medical field were more practical goals.
After Okada graduated from high school at the age of 16, he found work as a
projectionist at East Los Angeles City College. The school frequently
screened motion picture programs for the community in a 2,000 seat auditorium
sponsored by the National Foundation for the Arts, including classic archive
films from Mexico and Japan.
He investigated the possibility of enrolling at the film school at the
University of Southern California but their admissions were at capacity nor
was it affordable. Instead, Okada volunteered to work on student films. That
was the first step he took on an unorthodox career path.
By the late 1970s, Okada was working as a gaffer, grip and occasionally as a
camera operator on ultra-low budget films while photographing small
commercials. He earned his first credit for NOMAD RIDERS in 1981. Okada has
subsequently compiled more than 40 credits, including WILD HEARTS CAN'T BE
BROKEN, MY FATHER THE HERO, ANNA KARENINA, LAKE PLACID, DR. DOLITTLE 2, JOE
SOMEBODY, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, MEAN GIRLS, PAPARAZZI, JUST LIKE HEAVEN, and
STICK IT. His work on the miniseries IN A CHILD'S NAME (1991) earned him an
ASC Outstanding Achievement Award nomination. Okada is currently shooting the
independent feature SEX AND DEATH 101.
"I believe that those of us who are privileged to work in this extraordinary
industry have an obligation to the filmmakers who inspired us in the past, to
future generations and the public who are relying on us to explore the next
frontiers," he says.
The ASC traces its roots to the dawn of the motion picture industry in 1913
when cinematographers organized camera 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 and organized the
ASC in December 1918. ASC was chartered in California in January 1919.
There are some 280 active members of ASC today who have national roots in
some 20 countries. There are also some 170 associate members from sectors of
the industry that support the art of filmmaking. Membership is by invitation
based on contributions individuals have made to advance the art of visual
storytelling. For additional information about the ASC visit www.theasc.com.
Daryn Okada Elected President of American Society of Cinematographers
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