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Vilmos Zsigmond

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Occupation  Cinematographer
Years active  1955–2015

Name  Vilmos Zsigmond
Role  Cinematographer
Vilmos Zsigmond httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Born  June 16, 1930 (1930-06-16) Szeged, Hungary
Died  January 1, 2016, Big Sur, California, United States
Education  Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest (1951–1951)
Children  Julia Zsigmond, Susi Zsigmond
Parents  Vilmos Zsigmond, Bozena Zsigmond
Movies  Close Encounters of the Thir, The Deer Hunter, McCabe & Mrs Miller, Deliverance, Heaven's Gate
Similar People  Laszlo Kovacs, Michael Cimino, Robert Altman, Deric Washburn, Mark Rydell

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Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC ([ˈvilmoʃ ˈʒiɡmond]; June 16, 1930 – January 1, 2016) was a Hungarian-American cinematographer.


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In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild placed Zsigmond among the ten most influential cinematographers in history.

Vilmos Zsigmond Vilmos Zsigmond Hot Shot With a Camera Rolling Stone

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Life and career

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Zsigmond was born in Szeged, Hungary, the son of Bozena (née Illichman), an administrator, and Vilmos Zsigmond, a celebrated soccer player and coach. He studied cinema at the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest. He received an MA in cinematography. He worked for five years in a Budapest feature film studio becoming "director of photography." Together with his friend and fellow student László Kovács, he chronicled the events of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Budapest on thirty thousand feet of film and then escaped to Austria shortly afterwards. This early chapter of his professional life, with some of their footage of the revolution, constitutes the opening segment of the bio-documentary by PBS's Independent Lens (2009) called No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos.

Vilmos Zsigmond Vilmos Zsigmond Oscarwinning cinematographer dead at 85 Ink To

In 1962, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He settled in Los Angeles and worked in photo labs as a technician and photographer. During the 1960s, he worked on many low-budget independent films and educational films, as he attempted to break into the film industry. Some of the films that he worked on during this period credited him as "William Zsigmond," including the classic horror B-Film, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. The first film he worked on in the United States was The Sadist, starring Arch Hall, Jr. In 1964 working with a favorite crew which included László Kovács, Jim Enochs, and Ernie Reed, Vilmos shot the European style, neo-noir, black and white film Summer Children (aka A Hot Summer Game) which has recently been fully restored digitally for DVD release.

Vilmos Zsigmond Vilmos Zsigmond OscarWinning Cinematographer Dead at 85 Rolling

He gained prominence during the 1970s after being hired by Robert Altman as cinematographer for McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Subsequent major films he shot include Altman's The Long Goodbye, John Boorman's Deliverance and Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the latter of which won him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Zsigmond worked with Brian De Palma on Obsession, Blow Out, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and The Black Dahlia, with Michael Cimino on The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate, with Richard Donner on Maverick and Assassins, with Kevin Smith on Jersey Girl, with George Miller on The Witches Of Eastwick, with Mark Rydell on Cinderella Liberty, The Rose, The River, and Intersection, and with Woody Allen on Melinda and Melinda, Cassandra's Dream, and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

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In 1974, Zsigmond was dismissed as DP on the Barbra Streisand musical Funny Lady, released in 1975. Columbia executives—not Streisand or director Herbert Ross—felt his style (although patterned after 1930s musical cabaret, accurate for the period of the film) was too dark. He was replaced by veteran cinematographer, James Wong Howe.

Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer Zsigmond of Deer Hunter Close Encounters fame

He was a longtime user and endorser of Tiffen filters, and is also associated with the technique known as 'flashing' or 'pre-fogging'. This involves carefully exposing the film negative to a small, controlled amount of light in order to create a muted colour palette.

In 2012, Zsigmond along with Yuri Neyman, ASC co-founded Global Cinematography Institute in Los Angeles, CA with the mission to educate cinematographers, and to preserve and extend the role of the cinematographer as the major expert and contributor in the image building process in all current and future variations of the complex mix of artistry and technology.

On January 1, 2016, Zsigmond died at his home in Big Sur, California at age 85.

Awards and honors

  • Oscar, 1977, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, 1978, The Deer Hunter
  • National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography, 1973, The Long Goodbye
  • Emmy Award, 1993, Stalin
  • Nomination, BAFTA, 1971, McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  • Nomination, BAFTA, 1977, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Nomination, Academy Award, 1978, The Deer Hunter
  • Nomination, Academy Award, 1984, Mark Rydell's The River
  • Nomination, Emmy Award, 2002, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon
  • Nomination, Academy Award, 2006, The Black Dahlia
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997, from the Camerimage Festival
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 1999, from the American Society of Cinematographers
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010, from the Manaki Brothers Film Festival
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014, from the Cannes Film Festival
  • References

    Vilmos Zsigmond Wikipedia

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