VIP Awards Ceremony & Reception

JUNE 2, 2023

8 PM to 11 PM

Awards Presented

Karl Kresser Heart of the Community Award

Johnny Simmons, ASC

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This year, the first Karl Kresser Heart of the Community Award will be awarded to John W. Simmons, ASC

Born and raised in Chicago, John Simmons came of age at the height of the politically charged 1960s. In 1969 his talent as a photographer was recognized and he was given a scholarship to Fisk University. It was a life-changing experience where he studied with Carlton Moss, Aaron Douglass, Earl J. Hooks, Martin Puryear, Stephine Pogue and Greg Ridley.

Since attending graduate school at the University of Southern California in cinematography, John has worked behind the camera shooting documentaries with film director Carlton Moss, and made movies made for television including: The Killing Yard, The Ruby Bridges Story, Selma Lord Selma as well as numerous documentaries. His first multi-camera prime time show The Hughleys began an illustrious career in multi-camera sitcoms. Simmons has earned three Emmy nominations and in 2016 won the Best Cinematography Emmy for the Nickelodeon primetime multi camera series Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn. He is presently shooting and directing for various networks.

Through it all John Simmons has continued to carry a still camera. His haunting street photography reveals the heart and soul of America, from his fly-on-the-wall shots of ’60s and ’70s civil rights activists to his uncanny ability to reveal the simple sweetness of real folks caught in a black and white frozen moment in time. His work is held in the collections of the Los Angeles Getty Museum, Harvard Art Museum, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, American Society of Cinematographers, the University of Maryland, Wes and Missy Cochran Foundation, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Chicago.

A member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2004, he served as Vice President in 2017- 2018 and has just been voted in for the second time. He currently is the co-chair of the ASC Vision Committee. After acting as Adjunct Professor in the Television/Film and Theater Department at UCLA for twenty-five years he continues to mentor many lucky up and coming cinematographers. Also on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy, he consistently champions diversity on-set. Known as “Johnny”, his warm spirit and engaging smile brightens any room he enters.

Legacy Lifetime Award

Otto Nemenz

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Mr. Otto Nemenz, founder and CEO of Otto Nemenz International, is an accomplished Director of Photography and has a degree in engineering from the Vienna Technical Institute in Austria. He has been instrumental in the advancement of technology in the motion picture industry since 1963, and is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers and a member of the
I.A.T.S.E. Local 600.

Born in Austria in 1941, Otto spent his youth between Austria, Greece, and Tukey, then moved to the United States to pursue his dreams in 1963. His illustrious career began at Panavision (now one of his competitors) as a lens technician, then on to various sets including the racing epic Grand
Prix, and finally to the establishment of his own camera rental business, Otto Nemenz International.

The company was founded in 1979 in Otto’s garage off Sunset Blvd. before he built the Hollywood location on Vine St. in 1982. In 2020, after 38 years in Hollywood, the company moved to a brand new 38,000 square foot facility in Culver City, CA.

Not only has Otto built a strong company in camera rentals, he has lent his expertise and vision to the design and building of various lenses. The Canon/Nemenz Zoom lens was awarded the Academy of Art and Sciences “Award for Technical Excellence.” Otto was instrumental in the design process for the Leica Summilux – C lenses, and recently with his trusted employees Fritz
Heinzle and Dan Lopez, the company has released the Ottoblad lenses.

Otto has cemented himself and his company as entertainment industry standards for his excellent business success, and maintaining the highest standards for quality service for camera teams across the globe

Visionary Award

Michael Goi, ASC

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Michael Goi was born and raised in Chicago, where he established himself in the fields of documentaries and commercials. As a cinematographer he has compiled over 75 narrative credits, four Emmy nominations and four ASC Award Nominations. As a director, he has helmed the pilot and fi rst regular episode of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” for Netfl ix and serves as its executive producer, was executive producer and director for “The Rookie: Feds”, and directed episodes of
“American Horror Story”, “Big Sky” and many other shows. He wrote and directed the viral
movie sensation “Megan Is Missing” and directed and photographed the feature film “Mary” starring Gary Oldman.

Michael Goi is a three-time past president of the American Society of Cinematographers, serves on the Board of Governors of the ASC, and is the editor of the 10th Edition of the ASC Manual. He is the co-chair of the Directors Guild of America’s Television Diversity Task Force and serves as
an alternate to both the DGA National Board and Western Directors Council. He is a member
of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is the chair of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council’s AI Exploratory Committee.

Michael was accorded an Honorary Doctorate Of Arts degree by Columbia College Chicago, was Cinematographer-In-Residence at UCLA, and has appeared as a guest speaker at the American Film Institute, the University of Southern California, Walt Disney Animation Studios (for whom he demonstrated ice and snow lighting concepts for animators working on the fi lm “Frozen,”), Cine Gear Expo, IBC, NAB and many other international industry events. He regularly mentors students for various industry programs.

Emerging Star Award

Ksenia Sereda

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Ksenia Sereda is a cinematographer who graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of  Cinematography and has since amassed credits including Little Bird (2014) , Petersburg. A Selfi e (2016), House of Clauzewerts’s Head (2018) and Acid (2018). She was the Director of Photography for the Russian fi lm Beanpole (2019), which screened at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2019, she received her fi rst APSA nomination for Beanpole. Sereda took part in extensive pre-production and pre-shooting to make sure the image had the exact contrast, color and light. For her work on
Beanpole, Sereda was listed as one of the “20 Cinematographers You Should Know at Cannes 2019” alongside industry veterans Kyung Pyo-Hong, Darius Khondji, and APSA-winning Jingsong Dong.

She most recently worked on HBO’s THE LAST OF US, which is known to be one of the best Video-Game-To-TV adaptations.

Technical Achievement Award

Blackmagic Design

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Blackmagic Design, with more than 1,500 employees in seven countries, has tens of millions of customers around the world. This includes Oscar winning cinematographers to 15 year old students; and projects from Avatar 1 and 2, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to Game of Thrones, the AFL, tours by Elton John and Billie Eilish, and live streaming the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time fi lm scanners for the feature fi lm, post production and television broadcast industries.

In November 2002, Blackmagic launched the DeckLink capture card and in doing so single handedly made working in true 10 bit uncompressed video on a Macintosh OS X™ system an affordable reality.

Since 2002, Blackmagic Design has designed hundreds of new film and video products, and Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6GSDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workfl ows. Their globally known product lines include revolutionary digital fi lm cameras such as the URSA Mini Pro 12K and Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, the hugely popular ATEM line of live production switchers, a host of powerful and
affordable routers, converters, recorders and other production and post production hardware
and software, as well as the world’s most used post production software, DaVinci Resolve.

Because of its focus on innovation, Blackmagic Design is one of the most highly awarded companies in the technology sector for the video, fi lm and broadcast industry. The company has won more than 350 industry awards for innovative products, technologies and industrial design since it
fi rst started and was the fi rst Australian company to win the prestigious Red Dot Design Team of the Year award in 2016 – and now it has won seven.