Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cameron Duncan (who earned an ICG Emerging Cinematographer Award in 2007 for Year of the Dog) traces his interest in photography back to his father's home movies, as well as the many superlative images he soaked up in National Geographic Magazine. He studied film production at California State University, Northridge, where he shot more than a dozen student projects. After graduation, Duncan worked at Panavision for four years, where Dan Sasaki taught him about optics while he was prepping camera packages for cinematographers.
"I the joined the Guild in the mid-1990s as a loader," Duncan recounts. "I was fortunate enough to work with people like Dion Beebe, ASC, ACS (Memoirs of a Geisha), Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC (Atonement) and Bill Pope, ASC (The Matrix trilogy), which was the best graduate film school anyone in this industry could have."
In Mr. Marceau (directed by Jared Allen), Tom Fitzpatrick plays an elderly recluse who collects clocks. As his beloved timepieces begin to disappear, he finds wisdom by learning to accept life's triumphs and tragedies with equilibrium and grace. The 20-minute film was produced in three days in the director's apartment - dressed to depict the recluse's home. Duncan used a RED camera that belongs to a friend.
"I avoided a sharp, digital look by using a 1/8 Classic Soft filter and creating a lot of haze," Duncan describes. "It was a great surprise getting the call from Steven Poster (ASC) telling me our film was being recognized. That tells me I'm on the right track."
ICG judges across the country have selected the honorees for the 14th annual Emerging Cinematographers Awards. The short films will be screened at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles on September 26.
Tod Campbell, an operator out of Austin TX, was chosen for his 13 minute film "The Big Bends;" second assistant Cameron Duncan, from Venice CA, for the 20 minute "Mr Marceau;" Stephanie Dufford, based in Los Angeles, also a second assistant, honored for "The Fantastic Magnifico," with a running time of 11 minutes. Loader, Santa Monica's Patrick Jones' "Android Love" came in at 18 minutes, while Rodney Lamborn, operator living in New York, will show his "Meridian," which at 2.36 minutes is the shortest film in the group. Operator Samuel Pinger from Pasadena was honored for his 15 minute "The Cycle;" John Snedden, living in San Diego, also an operator, was selected for his "Brite Eyes," clocked in at 12 minutes. Rounding out the group is first assistant, Brian Udoff, whose 26 minute "Les Mouches" is the longest film to be screened. He lives in Los Angeles. In addition, there are two honorable mentions-operators Tim Bellen, from Santa Rosa CA and Aaron Medick, living in Astoria NY, whose films are respectively titled "State of Grace" and "Weequahic."