Czech Society of Cinematographers

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History of the Society

Cinematographers first began to associate in Czechoslovakia in 1920 through the Czech Club of Motion Picture Photograhers (Klubu českých kinofotografů), whose first chairman was cinematographer Václav Münzberger, followed by Josef Kokeisl or Svatopluk Inemann. Before World War II, cinematographers founded the Union of Cinematographers (Odbor kameramanů) within the Czechoslovak Film Union (Československá filmová unie) — The Cameramen Section, which was a free association of feature film cinematographers. Its first chairman was Karel Dégl. There were five to eight members. This Section existed even in the German occupied Czechoslovakia and shortly after World War II. Cinematographers Jan Stallich, Jan Roth, Václav Hanuš, Jaroslav Tuzar among others were it’s members. All attempts of any professional unions were destroyed after the communist coup in 1948. Cinematographers could meet only within the communist labour union.

The first cinematographer’s organisation could form only after the „Velvet Revolution“ in 1989. The first conceptual meeting  of the Association of Czech Film Photographers took place on 5th January 1990. The code of rules and conditions for new membership were coined at this meeting. Miroslav Ondříček, Jan Čuřík, Jaromír Šofr, Jan Kališ and Jaroslav Brabec were, among others, cinematographers who worked in this group.

The constituent meeting of this group took place on 3rd February in the Praha cinema in Prague. The group was renamed to the Association of Film Photographers (SFILK in Czech). A Board of 8 feature film cinematographers, 7 short film cinematographers, two animated and special effects cinematographers, two assistants and two FAMU students was elected. As of 2nd May 1990, this organisation had 138 members. It was renamed in 1992 to the Association of Czech Cinematographers (Asociace českých kameramanů — AČK) and Kristián Hynek was elected it’s chairperson. The first president, Josef Hanuš, was elected on 20th November 1994.

Marek Jícha, was elected second president of the AČK in 2013 and Josef Hanuš became the Honorary President.

The Association of Czech Cinematographers (AČK) works eversince continuously. Since 1996 it holds the Annual Awards of the Association of Czech Cinematographers, publishes it’s Zpravodaj (Reporter),  which was later on transformed to the website by Marek Jícha. Annually, the AČK holds an exhibition of still photography by it’s members and also organises friendly gatherings of it’s jubilees with the Association members. Furthermore, the Association fights for recognition of the cinematographer’s profession in the copyright law. Josef Hanuš, Josef Špelda, Jiří Myslík, Jiří Macák, Marek Jícha, Jan Vaniš, Kristián Hynek, František Spilka, Ivan Vít, Vidu Gunaratna, Klaus Fuxjäger, Martin Čech, Jan Šuster, Jaromír Šofr, Jessica Horváthová and Tomáš Choura are, among others, AČK members who served in the Board.