Stephen H. Burum, ASC will receive the
American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award,
which is presented annually to an individual who has made exceptional
contributions to advancing the art form. The award will be presented at the
22nd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration on January 26,
2008, here at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom.
?Stephen Burum was in the front ranks of a new generation of talented
cinematographers who entered the industry during the 1970s,? says ASC
President Daryn Okada. ?His innovative cinematography has made a deep
impression on a constantly evolving art form.?
Burum earned ASC Outstanding Achievement Award nominations for The
Untouchables in 1988 and The War of the Roses in 1990. He took top honors in
the annual ASC competition along with an Oscar® nomination for Hoffa in 1993.
His body of work includes an eclectic range of other memorable films,
including The Outsiders, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Rumble Fish, St.
Elmo?s fire, Casualties of War, Carlito?s Way, The Shadow, Mission:
Impossible, Snake Eyes and Mission to Mars.
Burum joins a formidable cast of previous recipients of the ASC Lifetime
Achievement Award, including George Folsey, ASC, Joseph Biroc, ASC, Stanley
Cortez, ASC, Charles Lang, Jr., ASC, Phil Lathrop, ASC, Haskell Wexler, ASC,
Conrad Hall, ASC, Gordon Willis, ASC, Sven Nykvist, ASC, Owen Roizman, ASC,
Victor J. Kemper, ASC, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, William Fraker, ASC, BSC,
Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC, Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Bill Butler, ASC, Michael
Chapman, ASC, Fred Koenekamp, ASC, Richard Kline, ASC and Allen Daviau, ASC.
?Steve Burum has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues for his
ability to tell stories with images that touch the soul,? says Russ
Alsobrook, ASC, who chairs the organization?s Awards Committee. ?His work is
often daring, and it is invariably innovative.?
Burum was born and raised in the rural community of Dinuba near Fresno. During
his early teens, he purchased a Kodak Brownie 8 mm camera with money he earned
doing summer chores.
After seeing a picture in Life Magazine of a soundstage at the UCLA School of
Theater Arts (now the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television), and
reading the accompanying article about the school, Burum enrolled. His mentors
included such legendary filmmakers as Arthur Ripley, Dorothy Arzner, Henry
Koster, and Charles Clarke, ASC. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees
at UCLA, where he also shot an estimated 70 films for other students who
wanted to be directors. After graduation, Burum spent about six months
shooting 16 mm animal films for Disney?s series The Wonderful World of Color.
He was drafted by the Army in 1965, and assigned to the Army Pictorial Center
in New York where he photographed numerous training films. After completing
his military obligation, Burum returned to California, determined to break
into the film industry as a cinematographer. For a while, he assisted other
cinematographers who were shooting commercials and non-union, low-budget
A chance to travel to Sweden and shoot an Ann-Margret television special led
to opportunities to shoot film for other TV specials. By the early 1970s,
Burum was also shooting non-union slasher and horror films. He also worked as
a lighting director for live and videotaped late-night television programs.
That got him into the union in the special category of director of photography
He lit Johnny Mann?s musical variety show Stand Up and Cheer, Dinah Shore and
Andy Williams specials, Sid and Marty Krofft kid shows like The Lost Saucer,
and an ABC series of classic dramas called The Midnight Special. By then,
Burum was shooting commercials and special effects for television, including
Little House on the Prairie and Mork & Mindy series. He earned a share of a
technical craft Emmy for Cosmos, a PBS TV special that explored outer space
with Carl Sagan.
In 1976, his former UCLA classmate Francis Ford Coppola brought Burum to the
Philippines as second unit director and cameraman on the Oscar-winning film
Apocalypse Now. Burum did more second unit work on The Black Stallion with
director Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, ASC. When
Deschanel directed The Escape Artist the following year, he gave Burum his
first opportunity to earn a cinematography credit on a mainstream film.
In 1982, Burum shot Something Wicked This Way Comes. He followed that film
with The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, directed by Coppola, and Body Double, the
first of his eight projects with Brian De Palma at the helm.
ASC Bestows Lifetime Honors to Stephen Burum
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