Cinematographer turns 100 in August

LONDON — The British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave a special award to Austrian-born cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky Thursday night.

In a special event hosted by BAFTA and the British Film Institute, Suschitzky, known in the industry simply as Su, was presented with a BAFTA for creative contribution to British cinema.

The award came at the close of the event introduced by producer Nik Powell, the chairman of BAFTA’s film committee and director of the National Film and Television School.

The evening featured extracts from Suschitzky’s career and tributes from colleagues including actress Virginia McKenna and directors Hugh Hudson (read in his absence) and Peter Pickering, as well as from his son Peter Suschitzky, David Cronenberg’s regular cinematographer.

Suschitzky, who turns 100 in August, started his career in the 1930s in documentaries with Paul Rotha Prods. and in 1944 helped form the Documentary and Technicians Alliance, the first British film co-operative.

He went on to work in cinema and television, on shorts and features, docs and fiction. He is best known for his work on Mike Hodges’ classic British film, “Get Carter” and cult British children’s TV series “Worzel Gummidge,” which ran for four seasons in the late 1970s and early 80s.

In a brief on-stage interview, Suschitzky said of his start, “Documentary films in the 1930s aimed to make films useful to society. We were all amateurs, there was no film school.”

Questioned about modern working methods he said the only thing he didn’t like were the hours, joking, “I had to stop when I was 80 because the days got too long.”

Suschitzky received a standing ovation on collecting his award saying simply, “Thank you ever so much.”

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