August “Augie” Stephen Cinquegrana, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and editor, died Aug. 16 at his San Francisco home. He was 58.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he moved with his family to Long Beach, Calif., where he lived until he joined the Army. After serving three years in France, he joined his family, who had moved to S.F. He graduated with a B.A. in broadcast communication from San Francisco State U. in 1967 and then did graduate work in film.
He became an editor at KPIX-TV and CBS News. He remained at KPIX until 1973. In 1971, he cut the lead story about the Patty Hearst kidnapping for “The CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite,” and each day for some three months cut the lead story as it unfolded. KPIX won an Emmy for its coverage, including his editing and for his footage.
In 1977, he received the AFI Independent Filmmakers Award, which paid $10,000. With the award money, he made a 30-minute verite style documentary about the boxing world in Los Angeles, “Goodnight Miss Ann,” which won several film festival awards and was nominated for the documentary short-subject Oscar in 1978.
In 1980, he directed an hourlong docu, “Toxic Time Bomb,” for HBO, about the threat posed by toxic waste in America. He also directed “New Beginning,” about deep ocean mining, for Lockheed Corp.
Working with Charlie Pearson, he directed and edited three national public service spots for Amnesty Intl.
In 1981, he was picked by Francis Ford Coppola for his First Directors program at Zoetrope Studios. The next year Cinquegrana moved to L.A. to work on a feature-length documentary about Zoetrope Studios on the occasion its 15th anniversary.
He returned to San Francisco, where he worked for the rest of his life on a number of projects, including “The Mob,” a series of three one-hour documentaries for PBS, and “The Digital Divide,” a documentary on the social consequences of the computer revolution, to air in January.
Cinquegrana is survived by his wife, Prudence; a daughter; two grandchildren; two sisters; and a brother.
Donations in his memory can be made to the American Cancer Society.