Sivan is the first South Asian to be selected for membership to the American Society of Cinematographers
Ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan last week became the first South Asian to be given the prestigious membership of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) for his outstanding work. The ASC membership is extended to individuals through invitations from existing members. “I was first invited by American cinematographer Michael Chapman, who had shot Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Subsequently, two other members sponsored me. Then there was an interview that was reviewed by all ASC members,” said Sivan. The director-cinematographer said he was informed about his selection last week and it would be announced in the next issue of the ASC journal American Cinematographer.
Multi-talented Sivan, who graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, is an actor, producer, director and a cinematographer who has worked in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English cinema in a career spanning more than two decades. A four-time National Award-winning cinematographer, he has worked on 45 feature films and 41 documentaries.
“I want to dedicate this honour to my father who was a regular reader of the American Cinematographer,” said Sivan. His father, also popularly known as Sivan, is an award-winning producer and director. The young cinematographer added that he was deeply moved by a note send out by Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Beristain who was present at the ASC meeting on behalf of Sivan’s sponsors, Theo Van de Sande and Michael Chapman.
“Everybody thanked us for proposing such an interesting and original mind to our organisation. Santosh Sivan was a big star at the membership meeting of the ASC last Saturday. He blew everybody away with his wit and phenomenal vision,” read the note by Beristain. “Just before his meeting, the committee had interviewed another prospective candidate whose main strength is in the stereoscopic (3D) world. The well-attended meeting had a good deal of technical information, so they found – in their words – very refreshing to hear Sivan,” he added.
Currently, there are 302 cinematographers from 20 countries as ASC members. The society also has more than 150 associate members working in ancillary sectors of the motion picture industry.