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WFTV on why are there so few female cinematographers?

Blog
14 May 2014

There's a terrific list of the best British directors of photography working in film this year in the June issue of Televisual.

But why, in the 21st century, do we still have no women on the list? Short answer: because no women have been working as cinematographers on major feature films in the UK in the last twelve months.

When I was a producer at BBC Scotland in the 1980s, film crews were all male. Why? Women were 'unable to carry the equipment, they lacked the necessary authority, didn’t understand technical stuff, and would find the hours too long and too disruptive to their home lives.'

Few people would voice these opinions today, but changing a culture takes time…

The good news is that there are lots of excellent young camerawomen moving up the ranks, gaining expertise, experience and awards/nominations along the way.
Here are three of them:

Chloë Thomson is a cinematography graduate of the National Film and Television School, and has shot a number of award-winning films.

Her work has been screened at festivals worldwide, including Cannes and Sundance.

Chloë shot 2nd Unit for the feature documentary 20,000 Days On Earth, which premiered at Sundance 2014, and had two short films in competition at Sundance 2013 – Jonah, a Film4 short, and Volume, her fiction graduation film, which won the British Independent Film Award 2012 for Best Short Film.

Jonah was also nominated for a 2013 BIFA for Best Short Film, and won Best Cinematography at Underwire Festival 2013. Chloë also shot BFI short, Field Study, directed by the award-winning filmmaker Eva Weber.

Taina Galis was born in Bucharest and has lived in London most of her life. She studied at FAMU, LSE and Oxford University.

Her feature work includes Full Firearms, directed by Emily Wardill (FLAMIN) and the documentary, Prisoner of War: The Story of the real Rambo, directed by Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Taina was mentored by Peter Suschitzky through Guiding Lights 2010/11.

She won Best Cinematographer at the Underwire Film Festival 2012 for A Cuillin Rising, directed by Catriona MacInnes (Urbancroft/Digicult).

The Curse, her third collaboration with director/writer Fyzal Boulifa as cinematographer and co-editor, won Best Short Film at Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival, and was BAFTA nominated.

Annemarie Lean-Vercoe was the first cinematographer ever selected for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow 2012 feature, which highlights Britain’s top film talent.

She studied cinematography at NFTS where she was the recipient of the Freddie Francis Scholarship, and won cinematography awards for two consecutive years at the Kodak Student Commercial Awards.

Since graduating in 2003, Annemarie has shot award winning short films, promos, feature films and documentaries across Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.

She has worked several times with acclaimed British directors Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, and Wreckers – a feature film starring Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Shaun Evans – premiered at the BFI London Film Festival and was Annemarie’s first collaboration working with the director DR Hood.

They have a new feature project This Family which is currently in development.

I look forward to seeing some of these names in Televisual’s future best British directors of photography lists before too long.
Onwards!

Kate Kinninmont is CEO of Women in Film and Television (UK) 

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