IPA News Item


Los Angeles/ December 2016 – One of the awards season’s most unique honors is the Tesla Award, handed out for recognition of Visionary Achievement in Filmmaking Technology by the International Press Academy, which this year will be presented to John Toll, acclaimed cinematographer.

Not only is Toll being honored for his past works reflected in such classics as “Legends of the Fall” and Braveheart”, but for his continuing innovations in filmmaking, such as with the Wachowski’s Sense8” series and Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”.

Toll’s recent work will set a new bar in the future of digital filmmaking with the use of Sony F65 cameras in 3D for “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”. Quoting Ang Lee; “This is really the beginning of a quest for new storytelling. We’re at the start of finding out what digital cinema can do.” The camera was used in a hyper-realistic way to put the viewer in up-close battlefield combat.

Toll has collaborated with many of the world’s most celebrated directors – including Francis Ford Coppola, Edward Zwick, Terrence Malick, Mel Gibson, John Madden and many others.

He worked as a camera operator on “Norma Ray” in 1978 and is one of only four cinematographers to win back-to-back Academy Awards for Best Cinematography. Toll won in 1994 and 1995, for “The Legends of the Fall” and “Braveheart”. He was also nominated for an Oscar for “The Thin Red Line”.

His work spans across a wide array of genres, including science fiction, epic period pieces, drama and comedy. He has won BAFTA and ASC honors and the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures ‘Career Achievement Award for Cinematography. He also won a Satellite Award in 2004 for “The Last Samurai and another for “The Thin Red Line” in 1998..

Toll explains his process as slow but meticulous, as well as restrained. “You are reluctant to think about whether or not you might be making a great film while you are actually making it. If it comes out to be great, you won’t know till later. You just keep going, trying to do your best work and hope that it turns out to be everything you’d imagined and worked for.”

Toll joins a prestigious list of past recipients, including famed creature make-up artist Rick Baker, legendary director Richard Donner, Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, nine-time Oscar winner for visual effects Dennis Muren, master make-up creator Stan Winston, “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, the entire company of Industrial Light and Magic and Walter Murch, Oscar winning editor and sound pioneer.

When comedian Jerry Lewis accepted the award for his industry-standard “video assist” technology, he said, “This is the most important award I have ever received.” And, James Cameron showed off his latest camera technology when he received this award.

Last year’s winners were co-founders of HIV Lighting, Robert Rutherford and Jon Edward Miller.

The award is named after Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American revolutionary engineer and inventor whose devices and discoveries laid the foundations of many branches of modern science. The award statuette was designed by noted sculptor Dragan Radenović, whose works are in the private collections of Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren and Princess Grace of Monaco.