The American Society of Cinematographers has gone deep art house in its sensibilities, having chosen the d.p.'s behind "Renoir," "Ida" and "Winter Nomads" as the nominees for its inaugural ASC Spotlight Award.
"Ida" lensers Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski recently won the Golden Frog, the top prize for features at Poland's cinematography fest Camerimage in November. The Polish-set 1960s drama follows an 18-year-old orphan who must confront a family secret, dating from the Nazi occupation, before entering a convent. It also won the FIPRESCI special presentation award at Toronto and also nabbed the top prizes at Gdynia, Warsaw and London.
Mark Ping Bing Lee, who lensed "Renoir," also has collaborated with noted visual stylist Wong Kar-wai ("In the Mood for Love") and Wen Jiang ("New York, I Love You"). France's pick for this year's foreign-language Oscars, "Renoir" is a biopic on painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, his son and their shared muse.
Camille Cottagnoud hails from the doc world, with "Winter Nomads" depicting the four-month odyssey of two shepherds leading 800 sheep across a frozen stretch of Switzerland. It won top doc kudos at Camerimage and the European Film Awards, and the Swiss Film Prize for cinematography for 2013.
The organization, which announced its seven feature film nominees for its 28th annual awards last week, created the new prize to recognize features and docs screened at film fests, released internationally or shown in limited theatrical release.
"We've been honoring outstanding achievement in cinematography since we started the ASC Awards in 1987," ASC awards chairman Lowell Peterson said in statement. "Several ASC members developed the concept for this award after being inspired by these types of productions. We chose to add this new honor to recognize and praise areas of our art form that previously might have been overlooked."
The exclusive org's active members will vote on the winner, who will be announced on Feb. 1 at Hollywood's Ray Dolby Ballroom.