THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE’S STEPHEN LIGHTHILL
ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Lighthill is Senior Filmmaker-In-Residence, Cinematography at AFI Conservatory
Stephen Lighthill, ASC, the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence for Cinematography at its AFI Conservatory, has been elected President of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), replacing outgoing ASC President Michael Goi, who served the maximum three consecutive terms.
The AFI Conservatory – named the #1 film school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter – is renowned for its collaborative approach to hands-on filmmaking and its advanced training of the next generation of storytellers in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. The AFI Conservatory is also respected for its diversity of emerging talent – this year’s class is comprised of 45 women and 77 men, with one-third of graduates coming from international countries. Alumni of the AFI Conservatory include Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN), Todd Cherniawsky (AVATAR), Keith Cunningham (THE SOCIAL NETWORK), Patty Jenkins (MONSTER), Janusz KamiÅ„ski (SCHINDLER’S LIST), Heidi Levitt (THE ARTIST), Matthew Libatique (BLACK SWAN), David Lynch (BLUE VELVET), Terrence Malick (TREE OF LIFE), Wally Pfister (INCEPTION), Robert Richardson (HUGO) and many other award-winning and master storytellers.
Lighthill began his association with the AFI Conservatory in 2001 and became head of the Cinematography program in 2004. Lighthill’s commitment to sharing his experience and extensive knowledge with emerging filmmakers led him to become an AFI faculty member. “Working cinematographers are often in an educational role during production, keeping collaborators informed of helpful techniques and processes, so it was natural for me to transition to a full-time educator while still remaining active in my profession and supporting the important work of the ASC,” said Lighthill of his dual roles as AFI Conservatory discipline head and as newly appointed ASC President. He added, ”There has never been a more exciting time to tell stories visually – the creative options are so abundant today. It’s so fulfilling to teach the next generation of filmmakers at AFI Conservatory and to collaborate in the diverse challenges affecting the role of the cinematographer.”
Lighthill’s career start was for San Francisco Bay area news programs and national news shows such as 60 MINUTES. He segued into documentary cinematography, working on such films as GIMME SHELTER (1970) and BERKELEY IN THE SIXTIES (1990), the latter which was nominated for an Academy Award® and won the Audience Award at Sundance. Lighthill’s narrative credits include the television dramas VIETNAM WAR STORY (1987), EARTH 2 (1994-1995), NASH BRIDGES (1996-1997) and SHE SPIES (2002-2003), among many others.
Always active in the filmmaking community, Lighthill has long served as an officer on the National Executive Board of the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG). In 2000, he was presented with the Society of Camera Operators (SOC) President’s Award, recognizing his career achievements. In 2010, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recognized Lighthill with the Kodak Educational Award for outstanding educational contributions to the motion picture industry.