HOLLYWOOD, June 3, 2010 – The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) held an open house today to reveal the renovation and expansion of its historic clubhouse. Los Angeles Councilman Tom LeBonge and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler joined a group of cinematographers, filmmakers and professionals from all sectors of the industry at the opening ceremony. Five-time Oscar nominee Owen Roizman, ASC was chair of the committee that guided and managed the clubhouse renovation project.

“Our clubhouse has been a second home for the world’s most talented cinematographers for nearly 75 years,” said ASC President Michael Goi. “We are committed to perpetuating the spirit of artistry that resides within the walls of the ASC clubhouse, and enhancing our capacity for educational outreach programs for the next generation of filmmakers from around the world.”

The aim of the renovation project, which began four years ago, was to  preserve the heritage of the original clubhouse, and add 1,500 square feet of space to accommodate larger groups. “It’s a debt that we owed to past generations of ASC members as well our commitment to the future,” added Goi. “I am grateful for the many members and supporters of ASC who helped to make this dream come true.”

Cinematographers and other industry leaders on hand for the opening were extremely pleased. “They’ve taken our beloved clubhouse and made it better than any of us could have imagined,” enthused Nancy Schreiber, ASC. Robert Elswit, ASC called himself “overwhelmed” at the transformation. Rob Hummel, CEO of Prime Focus Post Production, noted that the “spectacular” results managed to keep the flair of the old building at the same time the space was expanded and improved. “And the way the cameras are displayed is a real tribute to the art of cinematography,” he added.  Panavision EVP Phil Radin gave kudos to the ASC for its long and often arduous process to restore the facility. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this,” he says. “I’m ecstatic at how it came out.”

And cinematographer Woody Omens, ASC gave perhaps the most professional assessment of the renovated space. “Every room is photogenic,” he said. “Art direction and lighting get an A+. There are no bad angles or lighting. You can immerse yourself in the place.”

The clubhouse is an historic building with an illustrious past, matching the ASC’s own history as the oldest existing organization in the motion picture industry, dating back to 1918. The state of California granted a charter to the American Society of Cinematographers on January 8, 1919. That same year Mary Pickford appended ASC after Charles Rosher’s name in the main title credits for all of the films he shot with her in a leading role. That recognition became a standard practice.

In 1936, ASC purchased a house that was built on the corner of Orange Drive and Franklin Avenue as part of a new Hollywood subdivision in 1903. The house was silent movie star Conway Tearle’s home during the 1920s.

The first meeting in the new ASC clubhouse was held on February 28, 1937. Later that year, the ASC began inviting individuals who were working in other sectors of the motion picture industry to join the organization as associate members. The goal was to include people who provided tools and services used by cinematographers to join the dialogue for advancing the art and craft of filmmaking.

The renovated clubhouse also contains a treasure trove of film history, including a Kinetoscope projector that was designed by the Edison Company during the 1890s, early motion picture cameras, lenses, photographs of cinematographers who have set the standards for artful filmmaking, books and other memorabilia.

In recent years, with the advancements in film, digital and hybrid technologies going full force, the ASC has been actively involved in helping to determine the best practices for these innovations, separating fact from fiction and sharing that knowledge with the world. The ASC has also collaborated with professionals and organizations in other sectors of the industry. For instance, ASC’s participation in the Joint Technology Subcommittee on Previsualization with the Art Directors Guild (ADG) and the Visual Effects Society (VES) led to the formation of the Previsualization Society. With the added participation of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the coalition is now in the midst of exploring the world of virtual production.

“For our members, the bottom line is that artistry drives technology,” says Goi. “All of our involvement in new technology is aimed at one goal – to give incredible artists the best tools to achieve their vision. The memorable, indelible images of the future will be the result of the diligence and foresight we bring to the process today. Our clubhouse is where all the magic originates. It comes from the exchange of ideas we share in the casual atmosphere of our clubhouse where cinematography truly lives.”

The ASC has more than 300 active members who live in or originally came from some 20 countries, and over 150 associate members from allied sectors of the industry today.