ACVL Member Spotlight - Manuela Hung
/ Astro Labs
/ Astro Labs
"By accident, that's how I got into this business," says Manuela Hung
, with a wide smile.
The personable General Manager of Filmworkers/Astro Lab
in Chicago and Sanitary Lab
in Dallas, never saw herself as a technical person until she
started working in film labs.
Early on, Manuela
had a studio and tried to make it as a photographer while she
worked at a still photography lab.
"I shot everything to make money," she
says, "including weddings on the weekends!
A guy she
knew went to work for Allied Films
, and eventually offered her
"Allied had just completed all this renovation, so he
asked me, 'how would you like to work at a brand new motion picture lab?'" Manuela
didn't know anything about motion pictures, but she
They offered her
the job for more than she
was making, but there was a hitch.
They wanted a five year commitment.
couldn't do that, but she
promised them one year.
career in film has spanned a variety of lab departments and labs on the Chicago scene, including Gamma Photo Labs, Allied Films, Sanitary Lab
and Filmworkers/Astro Lab
The commonality that colors all of her
experiences is her
laser focus on quality.
is passionate about solving quality issues and improving quality at the lab.
When Allied lost its chemist, Manuela didn't want to know anything about chemistry, but the lab needed someone to do analysis.
started looking at the instruction manuals and finally called the senior quality controller at the main lab in Detroit for help.
"I found it was kind of like cooking," she
With guidance, she got involved in analysis and eventually became the senior quality controller.
In the early 80s she
moved to the video department at Allied and turned her
attention to online editing.
That lasted for over a decade.
was like a kid in the candy store when he
the processor in his
basement that someone in New York had built for him.
"The guy took him to the cleaners," she
"It was a mess.
I said oh my god, have you ever been to a lab?
said no, but I want to do it right.
He convinced Manuela to join Filmworkers and set up Sanitary Lab.
found equipment at Columbia College
and did a crash training course.
"It was a very tough job and I thought I was going to die.
But, by the time it started, we had it all put together and it was very satisfying."
, membership in the ACVL
"In Chicago, we are very isolated because we're the only lab.
The economy has changed and it's a relatively small market, so ACVL
gives me the opportunity to meet with other people in the industry and discuss technical issues.
says the ACVL
is doing a great job, particularly with looking ahead, preserving film and providing information about developing ideas.
"I love film.
I love every kind of film," says Manuela
with a sparkle in her
must, as her
original one year commitment is still going strong!