Irwin Young is Chairman of the Board of Du Art Film Laboratories and Du Art Video Incorporated in New York City, and President of Western Broadcasting WOLE (Channel 12) Aquadilla-Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Young’s interest in motion pictures extends to all aspects of the industry, including science, technology, and entertainment. Young also keeps his hand in the creative end of the industry. Some of the independent films he has produced are; “Nothing But A Man”, which was a double prize winner at the 1964 Venice Film Festival; “Alambrista!”, which received, in 1978, the Camera d’or Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Gran Concha de Oro at the San Sebastian Film Festival; “The Maze”, a 30-minute documentary that received the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film Festival; Executive Producer of “American Me”, a film starring Edward James Olmos released by Universal Studios in 1992 and Producer of the film “Caught” which was premiered at the Sundance film festival in 1996. “Caught” was directed by Robert M. Young, and it also starred Edward James Olmos and Maria Conchita Alonso and was released by Sony Pictures Classics in 1996.
Young has been with Du Art since graduating with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University in 1950. During his over 50 years in the film industry he has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (Oscar) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the SMPTE Progress Medal, the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and the IFP’s First Annual Gotham “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
His past services have been President of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Inc., President of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), three term President of the Association of Cinema and Video Laboratories (ACVL), Chairman and Board Member of the Moving Image Inc. (Film Forum Theater, NYC) and he is a past member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technical Achievement Awards Committee, The Colorado Council on The Arts and Humanities and The New York State Council of The Arts.
Young is a fellow of the SMPTE and the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society (BKSTS) and still a very active member of SMPTE.
2008 – Directors Guild of America honoree
2001 – Gordon E. Sawyer Award (Oscar) – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1996 – Independent Filmmaker Award – Boston Film Festival
1996 – Humanitarian Award – Cinema Arts Centre/Long Island Film & T.V. Foundation
1991 – First Annual Gotham “Lifetime Achievement” Award – Independent Feature Project
1988 – New York State Governor’s Arts Award for Supporting Independent Filmmakers
1987 – The Progress Medal Award from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in recognition of outstanding technical contributions to the progress of engineering phases of the motion picture and/or television industries.
1986 – AIVF Indie Award – The Eastman Kodak Award of Excellence 1984 – Friends of Independents Award – Production Service From the Independent Feature Project (IFP/West)
1983 – Recipient of a Telluride Festival Silver Medallion for helping independent filmmakers
1979 – Recipient of Technical Achievement Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1977 – Recipient of the INDIE Award – The Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers (AIVF)
The legendary Irwin W. Young, is the 90 year-old owner and chairman of DuArt Media Services. He is a pioneering film innovator, angel-to-the-artists and colorblind engineer. To be color blind and work in creating colors in the film industry speaks volumes to Irwin’s ability to face impossible challenges and to overcome diversity. He is described as the ‘Les Paul’ of the movie industry and has a couple Oscars to prove it.
Irwin and I met through the SMPTE. He was a steadfast volunteer of his time at the Society and was the President of the Society when I interacted with him. So, I engaged with him in numerous SMPTE volunteer work efforts, at Society conferences in NYC and LA, at many dinners and banquets, and in event planning meetings for regional events that we produced in Toronto, Montreal, and Rochester. I never actually did professional work with Irwin, yet I have spent enough time with him to know that he is a fun, intelligent, interesting, and a gracious member of the media industry. He has a charming sense of humour and could easily bring even the most dry technical conversations to laughter and make these exchanges light and fun. The perfect leader and a good friend.
His father, Al Young, began as a film editor and documentary filmmaker working briefly in Hollywood. His film a “Fight for Peace” had a 1938 White House screening. He bid at auction and purchased a film developing business on west 55th street in Manhattan, naming it DuArt Film Laboratory in 1922. He ran the film laboratory, was a timer ,and was very much involved in the technology of the industry.
Over the past century, and under Irwin’s careful watch, DuArt has processed film, performed color timing, and created theatrical prints for some of the world’s most influential filmmakers. They have created or supported the development of the most critically acclaimed motion pictures of all time. Hit films like “Mighty Aphrodite,” “Forrest Gump,” “Philadelphia” and “Dead Man Walking” were all printed at DuArt for theatrical release.
The 80’s marked a turning point for DuArt as they embraced Super 16 film processing and perfected a technique to offer extremely high quality 35mm blow-up prints, an important milestone that allowed lower budget independent films to compete in the worldwide marketplace.
Groundbreaking films such as Robert Young’s (Irwin’s brother) Cannes Camera d’Or winner, Alambrista and John Sayles’ The Return of the Secaucus Seven gained world wide audiences. Barbara Kopple’s, Harlan County U.S.A. was able to qualify for an Academy Award and won the Oscar for best documentary as a result of DuArt’s processes. Important new directors such as Spike Lee, Susan Seidelman, Robert Altman and Errol Morris all benefited from the process of high quality 16mm blow-ups from DuArt.
It was this process and innovations like Continuous 35mm Processing Machine and a computerized system for negative preparation, timing, and color correction called The Frame-Count Cueing System that revolutionized lab work and led to the Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 1979.
With one foot in science and the other in the arts, Irwin Young strikes the perfect balance needed to succeed in the world of filmmaking. Early in his career he went on a mission to help the young filmmakers achieve their goals by offering free processing to film students and many other discounts to independent filmmakers all over the world.
Famed director Spike Lee was one of these young students to get Young’s support while attending university. Lee’s films have explored race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. He has won numerous accolades for his work, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a Student Academy Award, a BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, two Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and the Cannes Grand Prix. He has also received an Academy Honorary Award, an Honorary BAFTA Award, an Honorary César, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
Irwin helped to contribute this incredible success in his own small way.
He became a mentor and advocate for such directors as Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Barbara Koppel, Oliver Stone, and a list that reads like a who’s who of film.
Films by Woody Allen, James Ivory, Ang Lee, Gordon Parks, Tom DiCillo, Susan Seidelman and more have been processed at DuArt over the years.
The main reason for Irwin’s endless support of the arts and the origin of DuArt’s amazing Super 16 enlarging technology started with his brother Robert M. Young.
“We needed Super16 and superior 35mm blowups for my brother’s films. It was a family affair but he should get the credit”, said Mr. Young.
In 1998, Irwin’s daughter, Linda Young was appointed President and CEO, under her leadership the company has expanded and transformed into a digital powerhouse and changed the name to DuArt Media Services. In the last decade, DuArt has also been internationally recognized for their highly acclaimed Localization services with a client list that includes The Pokémon Company International and many other renowned animation companies.
In the last century, DuArt Media Services has evolved from a premier film lab to the high technology full service media provider it is today. It has been my pleasure to know Irwin and his daughter, Linda.
Jacobson, M. (2014). Irwin Young: Film Processing History & Color Blindness. Category Five Studios. Retrieved on November 26, 2019 from, https://categoryfivestudios.com/irwin-young-film-processing-history-color-blindness/
Unaccredited. (2019). Irwin Young: Alumni Profile. Lehigh University, Retrieved on November 26, 2019 from, https://engineering.lehigh.edu/alumni/irwin-young
Unaccredited. (2019). The History of DuArt. DuArt Media Services. Retrieved on November 26, 2019 from, http://www.duart.com/history
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.
He is a business and technology consultant. He is employed by Wirepas Oy from Tampere, Finland as the Director of Business Development. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.