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Supporting Gender Diversity in Cinematography

Fewer than 1 in 15 cinematographers are women*.

With support from the NZFC, we have been running our 'Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Programme'. Our overall objective is to inject a new level of diversity into the camera community by supporting more women in the earlier stages of their career, increasing visibility and therein building change. We are acknowledging the base of women who already work in the camera department and giving them an opportunity to up-skill in their role. Visibility is critical to profiling a career path enabling women to key positions who are then more likely to engage other women.

Under our Gender Diversity scheme, we are seeking women to place into short term paid mentorships that would boost their knowledge base by being attached to an experienced DOP doing both observation and practical work on a significant production. This method is a direct result of a women's' roundtable initiative to redress the gender imbalance in Camera. It is explicitly aimed at countering the low percentage of women currently populating the field of Cinematographers.

We are in the process of generating various positions with Productions as they arise. Depending on the size and duration of the Production the placements can vary in both length and role. From five days to five weeks and for a variety of positions suitable from emerging cinematographers to camera trainees.

To date, our placements have been:

- Kelly Chen with Denson Baker NZCS ACS on ‘Luminaries

- Ainsley Calderwood with Drew Sturge on 'The Educator'

- Tammy Williams with Aaron Morton NZCS on 'Sweet Tooth'

- Zyanya Jackson on ‘Black Christmas

- Nina Wells with Sigi Spath NZCS on 2x TVCs

- Mara Yambao with Ginny Loane NZCS on 'The Justice of Bunny King'

- Bailey Mitchinson with Ari Wegner ACS on 'The Power of the Dog'

- Niki Winer with Bevan Crothers on 'Wellington Paranormal'

- Bayley Broome-Peake with Aaron Morton NZCS on 'The Lord of the Rings Series'

- Alyssa Kath with Dave Garbett on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Daniela Conforte with Dave Garbett on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Alice Toomer (Camera Trainee on 2nd Unit) with Ziga Zupancic on 'on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Jess Charlton with Richard Bluck NZCS on feature film 'Avatar'

- Mike Potton with Richard Bluck NZCS on feature film 'Avatar'

- Bridie MacInnes (Camera Trainee/2nd AC) with DP John Toon NZCS on feature film 'A Mistake'

- Sofi Issak-Zade (Camera Trainee) with DP Paul Mockrdge on the Reality TV series 'Taskmaster'

- Pikihuia Haenga-Little with Mike Berlucchi on TV series 'Stonehenge'

- Aline Tran with DJ Stipsen NZCS on TV series 'Stonehenge'

- Vanessa Vandy on 'Our Flag Means Death S2'

For those who are not currently members, it may mean joining because this initiative is open to members only. The NZCS is working purely for the advancement of knowledge within the community and getting a better balance of gender amongst cinematographers is one of our current priorities. An associate membership fee costs $207 per annum and this process can be completed by clicking here.

You can express interest here by emailing a current copy of your CV and showreel (if you have one) for us to hold on file. Then we can keep you in the loop if applicable opportunities arise.

As we provide a short list of candidates to the DPs to select and interview, there is no guarantee a placement will result from membership with us. However, we have a very minimal pool of candidates which is part of the driving reason for putting together such an initiative in the first place!

To be eligible must be a NZCS member and a NZ resident.

If you have any questions or just want to chat about it further, please feel free to get in touch.

*The words ‘women’ and ‘female’ are inclusive of gender non-conforming, transgender & intersex.

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