The American Film Institute has selected “Blue Velvet” cinematographer Frederick Elmes as this year’s recipient of its Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni medal.
The award is presented to an AFI alumnus who embodies the qualities of Schaffner — “talent, taste, dedication and commitment to quality storytelling in film and television.” Schaffner earned 28 Academy Award nominations during his 40-year career.
Elmes graduated from AFI in 1972 and received his first credit on David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” in 1977. He went on to work on Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” in 1986 and “Wild at Heart” in 1990. He won Independent Spirit Awards back to back years for “Wild at Heart” and Jim Jarmush’s “Night on Earth.”
Elmes won the National Society of Film Critics award for “Blue Velvet” and was nominated for a primetime Emmy for “In the Gloaming.”
Other credits include Tim Hunter’s “River’s Edge” (1986), Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm (1997) and “Ride with the Devil” and Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes,” as well as HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge” and “The Night Of.” He’s also a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
The presentation of the Schaffner Medal will take place at the AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Diane Keaton in Hollywood on June 8. Elmes collaborated with Keaton in 1987 on her directorial debut “Heaven.”
Lynch won the first Schaffner Medal in 1991. Other winners include Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), Patti Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”), Janusz Kamiński (“Schindler’s List”), Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”) and Wally Pfister (“The Dark Knight”). Lesli Linka Glatter of “Homeland” won the award last year.