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    Mandy Walker, First Woman to Win ASC’s Top Film Prize

    Mandy Walker is a talented cinematographer who has worked on a number of successful films. Her credits include Lantana, Shattered Glass and Australia.

    Her cinematography has won her numerous awards including the Satellite Award, Australian Cinematographers Society award and Cannes Camera d’Or. She is also a well known international TV commercials director.

    About Mandy Walker

    Cinematographer Mandy Walker made history on Sunday night at the 37th American Society of Cinematographers Awards, becoming the first woman to win the ASC’s top film prize. She topped a field of nominees which included Roger Deakins (“Empire of Light”), Greig Fraser (‘The Batman’), Darius Khondji (“Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”) and Claudio Miranda (“Top Gun: Maverick”).

    Walker is an Australian filmmaker who began her career as an unpaid assistant and loader on film sets in her home country before working with director Baz Luhrmann on Australia, Lantana, Shattered Glass and more. She also has an impressive portfolio of commercial work shooting for Nike, Toyota, Caltex, Cingular Wireless and Foxwoods Casino.

    Her Career

    Cinematographer Mandy Walker has been a renowned director of photography for over 25 years, working on films such as Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed Australia and Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures. She has a passion for capturing captivating imagery and believes in working on an emotional level to convey the story of a film.

    Her interest in cinematography began early, and she learned the craft by shooting documentaries on her own time for free, and by doing an apprenticeship on set as a runner or 3rd AD. She says this allowed her to really learn how the job worked, and to see how a DP worked behind the scenes.

    At the 37th annual ASC Awards ceremony held Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Walker was honored as the winner of the American Society of Cinematographers’ top film prize. Her win over fellow nominees Greig Fraser (Dune), Darius Khondji (Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths), Roger Deakins (Empire of Light) and Claudio Miranda (Top Gun: Maverick) marked the first time a woman has ever taken home the top prize.

    Her Work on ‘Elvis’

    The ASC handed out its top film prize last night, and cinematographer Mandy Walker made history by becoming the first woman to win it. Her work on director Baz Luhrmann’s delirious biopic of Elvis Presley earned her the honor and a chance to battle for the Oscar next March.

    Walker’s “Elvis” work captivates with meticulous archival recreations and hauntingly vivid 1970s Las Vegas scenes. She and Luhrmann also sought to capture dramatic energy and emotion throughout the movie, utilizing a broad range of handheld, Steadicam and dolly work to keep her camera moving.

    During prep, she immersed herself in inspirational imagery, including the photography of Saul Leiter and Gordon Parks, to support the visual story arc. She also consulted with Dan Sasaki at Panavision, LA on her camera and lens package.

    Her Final Words

    Mandy Walker has taken a step toward becoming the first woman to win the American Society of Cinematographers’ top film prize for her lensing on ‘Elvis,’ but she has an even bigger challenge: winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography. She topped a field of ASC nominees that included Roger Deakins (‘Empire of Light’), Darius Khondji (‘Bardo’), Greig Fraser (‘The Batman’) and Claudio Miranda (‘Top Gun: Maverick’).

    With ‘Elvis,’ Walker pushed her skills to their limits by modulating images and camera movement so that scenes could reflect the dramatic changes in Presley’s life. She also drew from stills photography of the time, including those of Gordon Parks and Alfred Wertheimer, to find inspiration for some of the film’s desaturated looks.

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