The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced Donald McAlpine as the 2009 recipient of the annual ASC International Achievement Award. The award, presented to a cinematographer who has made significant contributions to the art of moviemaking, is “an expression of our admiration for Don McAlpine both as a human being and as an artful filmmaker,” says Awards Committee chairman Michael Goi.

McAlpine is the first Australian recipient of this prestigious award. He began his career shooting slow-motion films for his college coaches to analyze athletes’ techniques and later applied for a job as a television news film stringer on a whim. McAlpine, who has likened cinematography to composing music, has since built an impressive body of work that spans 35 years and includes such successes as Moulin Rouge!, Predator and Mrs. Doubtfire.

“Whether he is shooting a musical, a film based on popular fairytales, a comedy or a dark drama, his cinematography invariably transports audiences to the times and places where the stories occur, and subtleties in his images help amplify the emotional tone,” says ASC president Daryn Okada of McAlpine. “Don achieves all this while being a wonderful gentleman and collaborator.”

The ASC, first organized in 1919 by 15 first-generation cinematographers, will honor McAlpine at the 23rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 15, at the Century Plaza Hotel.

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