Among the most unsung heroes of the film industry are the cameramen and their assistants who toil behind the scenes and produce wonderful images that play the most important role in the success of the film.For many years on end, when technology was highly undeveloped, directors had to depend purely on the visualizing capacity of these workmen to create the desired effects on their ancient equipment. These men were mostly self trained as there were hardly any formal training facilities available.Tremendous concentration was needed for the 1/50 second exposure that each frame needed within their camera and thereafter they had to undergo the suspense and anxiety waiting for the film to be developed to check the rushes. Further their work involved day and night duty, travel at short notice and untimely food intake and sleep timings. All these take a toll on their health and longevity of life.However, even after a lifetime of sweat and toil, they suffered from penury and insecurity in their advanced years and were a neglected lot. In the early 90s, it was decided to organize themselves to handle their financial problems.The CAM BENEFIT TRUST was started in the year 1995 with the aim of serving the long-term interests of cameramen and their assistants. Funds are raised with the help of doyens of the industry including leading artistes, producers, financiers and other worthy souls. Music programs and Star Nites are organized and funds are generated.
The funds are utilized for the purpose of helping those suffering from health problems including surgeries, medicine and hospitalization. Further educational loans for children of members are also disbursed.CAM BENEFIT TRUST took up the task of honouring technicians, not just cinematographers but also directors, artistes, films in five languages, namely, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada in a gigantic event entitled “SICA AWARDS”. Technicians of different crafts were the juries and the viewing and selections were done only by them.Even though the association had chalked up extensive plans to institute awards and celebrate in a humongous scale, they were impeded with a number of problems. It is quite a huge task to bring together diverse elements under one banner and get them to agree to common goals and objectives. But due to indefatigable work done by office-bearers, the event was rendered possible.SICA has instituted an award for the best Veteran Cinematographer for their invaluable contribution towards the field of Cinematography in yesteryears. Soon SICA will also honour them with “LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD’ in each language.