Tom Ackerman

It is generally recognized that there are no group hugs in my classes. Students who want to work in the film business are not well-served by wishful thinking. So the basis of my teaching is pragmatism. For aspiring cinematographers, hard work and mastery of the craft are essential. What follows is the nurturing of talent. However, a solid foundation of craft and industry know-how is the beginning of everything.

I insist that students strive for excellence. Good is not good enough in a job market that grows more competitive by the day.


  • 50 years in motion picture creation

Career Highlights

  • Shot for multi-Oscar-winning documentarian Charles Guggenheim 1970-1973
  • "Beetlejuice" 1988 - Director of Photography
  • "Christmas Vacation" 1989 - Director of Photography
  • "Jumanji" 1996 - Director of Photography
  • "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" 2004 - Director of Photography

 Awards, Recognitions and Honors

  • CINE Golden Eagle for "The Oceans: Source of Life" 1978 United States Information Agency, Writer/Director/Cinematographer
  • CINE Golden Eagle for "The Computer: A Universal Tool" 1979 United States Information Agency, Writer/Director/Cinematographer


  • American Society of Cinematographers
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • International Cinematographers Guild
  • Directors Guild of America


B.A.The University of Iowa