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Student Heritage Award Nominees Selected by American Society of Cinematographers

Feb 5, 2021

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has selected its nominees in three categories of the 2020 Student Heritage Awards competition. The awards are one of many programs designed by the organisation to support a new generation of talent in the early stages of their cinematography careers. Winners will be chosen on February 27.

To qualify, a student’s undergraduate, graduate or documentary project is submitted and judged by an ASC blue-ribbon panel for demonstrating exceptional cinematographic skill.

Each year, the ASC Student Heritage Awards also celebrate the memory of an esteemed ASC member. This year’s Undergraduate Award honors five-time Oscar-nominee Allen Daviau ASC (Bugsy, Avalon, Empire Of The Sun, The Color Purple, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial).

Michael Chapman ASC (right) stands by as director Ivan Reitman takes a look at the shot while filming the comedy Kindergarten Cop (1990)

The ASC Graduate Award recognizes two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Chapman ASC (Raging Bull, The Fugitive).

Allen Daviau ASC checks his light while shooting Empire Of The Sun (1987) on location in China.

The Documentary category is enduringly dedicated to Oscar-winner Haskell Wexler ASC (Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Bound For Glory).

Haskell Wexler ASC (right) makes a point to director Mike Nichols while filming Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Contenders for the 2020 ASC Student Heritage Awards, sponsored this year by Sony, are:

Michael Chapman Student Heritage Award – Graduate Category:
Becky Baihui Chen for Welcome Back (University of Southern California)
Ai Chung for A Young Tough (Chapman University)
Chaochen Li for Mr. This For That (University of Southern California)
Vanon Li for Nobody’s Boy (University of Southern California)
Yiyao “Kelsey” Zhu for Paz (Chapman University)

Allen Daviau Student Heritage Award – Undergraduate Category:
Andres Aragon for Silly Human (Biola University)
Drew Gardella for Intrepidus (Chapman University: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts)
Elias Ginsberg for Milk Teeth (University of Southern California)
Gabriel Knoos-Newton for Iron Head (Chapman University: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts)
Griffin Voth for Places We Won’t Walk (Loyola Marymount University)

Haskell Wexler, ASC Student Documentary Award:
Melanie Grams for Driven (University of Southern California)
Sean Thomson for Haven In The Booth (Chapman University)
Hark Xu for Dream with One Eye Open (University of Southern California)

Many recognized by the ASC Student Heritage Award programme since inaugurated in 1999 have gone on to have successful careers in filmmaking, including the Student Awards Committee co-chairs Craig Kief and Armando Salas, alongside other ASC members Nelson Cragg, Masanobu Takayanagi, and Lisa Wiegand.

For additional information about the ASC, visit


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