Famous Czech cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček (1934-2015), patron of our Film Academy in Písek, was a co-creator of over forty feature films.

Richard Crudo, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, said the following 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 on famous Forman and Passer films in the 1960s and collaborated with Forman later on well known American productions including Hair, Valmont, Ragtime and Amadeus. For the these last two mentioned films he was nominated for Oscars. He also collaborated with will known Czech directors such as Krejčík and Vávra; with the English director Lindsay Anderson; and with American directors including Mendel, Hill, Marshall and others. In the year 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Czech Lion Award for his contribution to the Czech film. In Macedonia’s Bitola, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement prize, and in 2024 he was awarded for his contribution to international cinema by the American Society of Cinematographers in Los Angeles.

He was only the second filmmaker from Central / Eastern Europe to be awarded this honor by the American Association, who consider it to be the greatest expression of appreciation. When he received the award Ondříček said: “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, often filmed abroad during the previous (Communist) regime. He didn’t, however, like many others decide to emigrate permanently. In the film industry he began from scratch. He was started out amongst the extras at Barrandov Studios and visited the film laboratories there. He then began as a camera assistant, and in the late 1950s he graduated evening school at FAMU in Prague, where he honed his camera skills. The rest, as we say, is history on the screen.

“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.

Ondříček remained an import academic contributor and part of our school until his passing in 2015.