Famous Czech cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček (1934-2015), patron of the Film Academy in Písek, was a co-creator of forty feature films.
Richard Crudo, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, said about him: “Miroslav Ondříček was born with the soul of an artist and he masterfully acquired the skills needed for cinematic expression. He became a source of inspiration for filmmakers around the world.”
Ondříček stood behind the camera of famous Forman’s and Passer’s films in the 60s and collaborated with Forman later on famous american film Hair, Valmont, Ragtime and Amadeus. For the last two mentioned films he was nominated for Oscars. He collaborated also with Krejčík and Vávra, with Englishman Anderson, with American directors Mendel, Hill, Marshall and others. In 2000 he was awarded with the Czech Lion Award for his contribution to the Czech film. For Lifetime Achievement he was awarded in Macedonian Bitola. By American Society of Cinematographers he was awarded for his contribution to the international cinema in 2004 in Los Angeles.
It was only the second filmmaker from Eastern Europe awarded by the American Association. The American Society of Cinematographers Award can count as the highest expression of appreciation, which Ondříček received. “I appreciate it, you know I do! I didn’t receive the prize from the American Association as an American cameraman, I received an international award for a lifetime work, it’s an ending before going to the happy hunting grounds. It’s a professional award given to you by cinematographers and that’s the best. It‘s 40 years behind the camera, and 54 years of filmmaking altogether – that’s enough, isn’t it? And the fact that someone notices you there, that’s nice. “
Ondříček, born in Prague, filmed often abroad during the previous (communist) regime, but he didn’t decide to emigrate at the end. In the film he started from scratch, he was among the extras and learned in the Barrandov laboratories. He was a camera assistant and in the late 50s he finished the evening school of filmmaking at FAMU in Prague. At this time his way of work with a camera was formed and he learned to master the former technical resources. But over the last decade the technology has changed markedly. “It was easier starting in the 60s, when the cinema was not yet such as today. Media carriers are so terrible nowadays, that a film can one watch on a watch anywhere. “
“The 21st century is a century of image, everything is expressed visually… I do not know what will happen with the camera work in the future. But one thing is for sure, whatever medium it is going to be, there will always be ideas and eyes needed. And who will have ideas and eyes, will perhaps catch on, “said Miroslav Ondříček, who was a big fan of young film talents with whom he was always willing to share his life experiences.