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Framing the Future

Panavision and the ASC Vision Committee partnered for a day of education, inspiration, and support for an inclusive industry.

Co-presented by Panavision and the American Society of Cinematographer’s Vision Committee, the daylong “Framing the Future” event was organized to educate and inspire while supporting diversity and inclusion in the motion-picture industry.

“We are honored to partner with the Vision Committee to put on this event,” said Panavision President and CEO Kim Snyder while welcoming the day’s attendees inside the theater at Panavision’s headquarters in Woodland Hills, Calif. “All of you chose a career in this industry because you’re creative, you’re artistic, and you have stories to tell. Unfortunately, for some of us there have been barriers to being able to tell our stories. The only way that’s going to change — and we all know it must change — is through action.”

“That’s why events like this are important,” added Vision Committee co-chair John Simmons, ASC. “[The Vision Committee] was founded about four years ago as a way for the Society to address diversity issues in the industry and on our crews. As department heads, we actually can change the face of the industry, because we’re responsible for hiring the camera crew, the electrical crew, the grip crew, and we can make those people look like this audience out here.”

“In order to sustain a long-lasting career in this business, you need a great support system,” Vision Committee co-chair Cynthia Pusheck, ASC noted. “That’s your friends, your crew members, your network, and vendors like Panavision who are there when you need them. I hope today that you build that network and you find your allies, because it will help you throughout your career.”

Dan Sasaki, Panavision’s senior vice president of optical engineering, then shared a presentation on optics that branched into art, psychology, science, and beyond. “You have much more control than you might be led to believe as a cinematographer,” Sasaki said. “Your craft can be stronger than ever because there are more options and more content, and your ability to bend and manipulate images has never been greater in the history of motion pictures.”

Following Sasaki’s presentation, the attendees split into groups and rotated through three stations. On the prep floor, an experienced team of 1st ACs were set up with a Panavision Millennium XL2 35mm film camera and pair of Millennium DXL2 large-format digital cameras, with which they offered an overview of a camera prep. Meanwhile, Jim Roudebush, Panavision’s VP of marketing, and Aaron Saffa, manager of Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program, led tours through the Woodland Hills facility, providing a firsthand look at departments including engineering and lens assembly. In the third station, Sasaki joined cinematographer Natasha Braier, ASC, ADF on the Panavision stage for a lens demonstration that highlighted the unique characteristics of a number of lenses from Panavision’s vast rental inventory. Their demonstration lent artistic insight into why a cinematographer might be drawn to one set of optics over another.

The day concluded with “Prepping for Success,” a panel discussion moderated by Pusheck and Simmons that featured Braier and fellow cinematographers Baz Idoine, Donald A. Morgan, ASC, and M. David Mullen, ASC. The panelists spoke to their varied career journeys, shared advice that ranged from “always continue learning” to “never say ‘can’t,’” and addressed the need for inclusivity within the motion-picture industry.

Capturing the event’s overriding spirit and sentiment as the panel and the day drew to a close, Simmons noted, “Everybody in this room is here because we love what we do. Always know that that love is greater than any obstacle that gets in the way.”