Female Cinematographers – three articles worth reading
Women in film is a topic that has become increasingly present in the media, which is a really good thing and long overdue. In a way it’s a shame that it is a thing that needs to be talked about at all, but it’s positive that it is happening regularly considering the state of affairs. The statistics are terrible, particularly for female cinematographers. As Indie Wire’s article that I link to below states,
In the last five years, women accounted for just 3% of the cinematographers among the 250 top-grossing films. Even more shocking, no female DP has ever been nominated for an Academy Award.
This refers specifically to the biggest films being made at the highest level, but it’s still a given that throughout the industry from the largest to the smallest productions, the majority of cinematographers and those working in the camera department are men. There’s no doubt about it, in my experience I have definitely seen camera and lighting crews made up of a male majority. Often no women at all. I’m not one to drive a petition about the issue, I just believe it’s a totally backwards way of thinking to accept that the department is an all boy’s club. I’m glad to say that on the cinematography course I’m on at the NFTS there are 3 female cinematographers who are fantastic to work with. There are 5 guys including myself who complete the number in my year, and the same ratio is true of the year below. So while the boys are still the majority, these statistics definitely lean towards a positive future for the industry. Gender isn’t something I take into consideration when I crew up for a shoot and I hope it’s not something that others do either. The crew you decide to work with should boil down to personality and ability, and that’s it.
This is kind of off the direct topic, but in terms of recent films I’ve watched shot by female DPs, there’s been one stand out for me photographically. I encourage you to go and watch The Rover, directed by David Michod and shot by Natasha Braier. Michod is a brilliant Australian director whose debut feature Animal Kingdom is an incredible piece of cinema and one which I only found and watched this year. So I was really excited about this film, which came out just a couple months ago. As soon as I saw the trailer that excitement went up ten fold, as it just looks incredible. I feel it’s been shot in a way that encapsulates the story visually, and supports the characters and performances all the way through. Captured on 35mm, the look isn’t too heavy or present that it’s distracting, but the way Braier has lit and composed each frame is a real inspiration. She carves a mood an atmosphere through the whole piece that I absolutely loved. The film has its flaws, but if ever there was an argument for some female photographic attention, Braier’s work on The Rover is it. Go watch. Here’s the trailer for the film, and here’s a link to an article written by Braier herself about the shooting process on The Rover, for Movie Maker.
Here are two articles by Indie wire which you should absolutely read: