The American Society of Cinematographers today announced that Ellen Kuras will become the first woman to receive the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which she is planning to accept in person at the ASC’s 36th annual awards presentation on March 20, per The Hollywood Reporter

Kuras has enjoyed a long and varied career as a cinematographer, producer and director that stretches back to the late 1980s. She’s steadily worked in both TV and film, constantly shifting between narrative work, documentaries, and even concert films and music videos. In 2019, Kuras served as a mentor for the Academy’s Gold Women’s Fellowship recipient Eliana Pipes.

Kuras has worked with many acclaimed directors, including Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme, Jim Jarmusch, Michel Gondry, Sam Mendes, Brett Morgen, Rebecca Miller, and George Clooney. As a cinematographer and a camera operator, some of Kuras’s work includes Bamboozled, Blow, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jane, Rolling Thunder Revue, the TV miniseries The Night Of, and 2020’s film version of David Byrne’s American Utopia

2008’s The Betrayal earned Kuras an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature (for her directorial debut, no less), and she’s been increasingly active as a director in recent years, helming episodes of Ozark, Catch-22 (which she also produced), and The Umbrella Academy, among others. 

Her first narrative feature film as director, Lee – the true story of a fashion model who served as a war correspondent for Vogue during the 1940s – is currently in pre-production, with Kate Winslet set to star as Lee Miller, and co-starring Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Samberg, and Josh O’Connor. 

Several other figures will be honored with honorary awards during the upcoming ASC Awards, including Peter Levy, John Lindley, and Dan Sasaki. Current ASC President Stephen Lighthill commented on the honorees, saying, “We’re thrilled to be honoring our colleagues who have all made a significant impact on not only our artform, but our community as well. Each of these recipients has made a unique contribution to cinema as leaders, storytellers and artists.” 

Speaking specifically about Kuras, Lighthill said, “Ellen is undeniably a trailblazer. She has consistently brought a daring and compelling creative talent to her work as a director and cinematographer. She is known to be a passionate collaborator, strong leader, and generous soul.” 


What to Watch: February 2022 Movie Releases

Edward James Olmos Reflects on the Longevity of His Career and the Importance of Sharing Authentic Stories

​​How 'The Fallout' Helped Megan Park Flourish as a Director (Exclusive)