Join us for a presentation by Les Zellan is Chairman of Cooke Optics Limited, maker of Cooke lenses, the legendary lens brand that captured virtually all films shot in Hollywood in the first half of the 20th century.
Zellan is a 1973 graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University with a master’s degree in Technical Theatre. After graduation, he sold, designed and installed theatrical stage lighting systems for Berkey Colortran and then became sales director for FERCO, a film equipment rental company in New York City.
That association led him to an emerging product, the Aaton 16mm camera, and Zellan’s first company, Zellan Enterprises, Ltd., was formed in New York City in 1979 to promote and sell the product for Aaton in the U.S. as exclusive importer and distributor. He added Cooke lenses as well as Canon and OpTex to his distributorship shortly thereafter. In 1998, Zellan purchased the Cooke lens division from Taylor-Hobson of Leicester, England and a year later, his new design team won Technical Academy Awards and a CINEC award (Munich, Germany) for the optical and mechanical design of the company’s new Cooke S4 Prime lenses for 35mm/Super35mm cinematography.
In 2013 Mr. Zellan accepted on behalf of Cooke Optic an Academy Award of Merit for Cooke’s ongoing contribution to the motion picture industry.
Mr. Zellan commutes between the Cooke facility in Leicester, England and his home in the United States regularly. He is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and lectures at colleges on the art of lens manufacture.