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Ang Lee and NASA to accept top IBC awards

Mr Ang Lee, director of movies as varied as Sense and Sensibility and Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hulk, is this year’s recipient of the IBC International Honour for Excellence. He will accept this prestigious award during the IBC Awards Ceremony tonight at 18.30.

Born in Taiwan, Ang Lee first studied theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. In his career he has won two Best Director Oscars and has been nominated twice more. Life of Pi was the first 3D movie to win the Oscar for Best Director.

The International Honour for Excellence is IBC’s highest award. It goes to an individual who has made a significant and valuable contribution to our industry. In the case of Ang Lee, it is by taking continual advances in technology and using them to find new and engaging ways to tell stories.

He successfully adapted Yann Martel’s book Life of Pi – generally regarded as unfilmable – using stunning post production to tell the story of a boy and a tiger sharing a small boat. His latest movie, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, will draw audiences into the emotional atmosphere using very high frame rates (120 fps), high dynamic range and 3D.

“In the past few years, I have come strongly to believe that new technology will upgrade filmmaking in terms of story-telling,” Ang Lee reflected. “I made Life of Pi in 3D as a way of adding depth to the characters and the ideas which move them. In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the use of high frame rate and high dynamic range will provide, I hope, a unique opportunity to feel the realities of war and peace through the protagonist’s eyes.”

Receiving the prestigious Judges’ Prize at the ceremony on Sunday night will be NASA, recognising all the work they have done to bring us awe-inspiring pictures from space.

The act that set up NASA in 1958 called for the agency “to provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof”, so from the very beginnings of American space exploration, cameras have been present.

It started on film and when Neil Armstrong took the first steps onto the moon on 20 July 1969 the world was watching. Live video has quickly become the norm and today NASA provides multiple broadcast channels, including a new 4K Ultra HD channel.

Accepting the award on Sunday night will be Carlos Fontanot, Imagery Manager for the International Space Station and Kelly O. Humphries, the voice of mission control for more than 50 shuttle missions and hundreds of space station activities.

As well as a fascinating glimpse into the history of pictures from space, this year the ceremony will be packed with other treats. There will be a chance to see excerpts from some of Ang Lee’s most famous titles, as well as a look forward to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Also receiving a special award this year is SMPTE, marking its centenary.

In addition, the evening features presentations to the best conference paper, the most attractive exhibition stands and of course the three IBC Innovation Awards.

The IBC Awards Ceremony starts at 18:30 on Sunday, in the RAI Auditorium. Admission is free to all IBC visitors, but with all of the above in store this year it is sure to be very popular, so be there in plenty of time to get a seat and be ready for blast-off.