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Gender Diversity Program update

13 Apr 2022 2:32 PM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

Photo: DP Intern Nikki Winer with DP Bevan Crothers on Wellington Paranormal 3

The NZCS is seeking production company partners to collaborate on our Cushla Lewis Gender Diversity Program which places women in paid roles on films, as interns in the camera department - either at the trainee level or as an emerging cinematographer observational role. The NZCS will subsidise 50% of a living wage for up to five weeks (camera trainee) or three weeks (DP intern) and production company pays the balance.

We had four placements in 2021, although the difficulties of production under the Covid 19 conditions have made it a challenging year for the program. 

The Gender Diversity program was established in 2019 and has proved a great success, with thirteen placements so far, giving women an opportunity in roles to enhance their career development on projects such as The Luminaries, The Power of the Dog, Sweet Tooth, and Wellington Paranormal 3.

There remains a great need for this initiative. While it is hard enough for anyone to get a career established in camera, it is even harder for women, and this program will make a significant difference to the ongoing imbalance in gender diversity, if it can be sustained. 

Looking forward, our hope is that we can continue to address gender diversity issues by helping women kick-start their careers in camera. This will, however, depend on engagement from producers to provide opportunities and budget for interns on their upcoming projects. We have NZCS funds available to subsidise the roles, an unfulfilled need, and a gender imbalance that we have only begun to address. 

Since current participants are generally in the early to mid-stages of their careers, the full effect will only become truly apparent in future decades when women, among the ranks of senior cinematographers, are no longer a novelty but a normality. 

If you are a producer with an interest in supporting this program, please contact Donny Duncan on  

When roles become available, they will be advertised in the NZCS newsletter or direct mail and NZCS members who identify as female are encouraged to apply. We also have intern positions available to all genders and advertised from time to time when the NZCS is approached by production companies with a vacancy.

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