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Who are NZCS?

The New Zealand Cinematographers Society was established in 2008 to foster the profession of cinematography.  Today we have members from all image related fields. 

Join, and you become part of a network of image-makers working in all genres and across all distribution channels -from the web and TV, through to cinema and live shows.


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Upcoming events

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  • 21 Jan 2016 1:24 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    Dave Cameron ACS won a gold at the 2015 NSW/ACT Australian Cinematography awards held last week.  Our NZCS vice-president, who holds ACS accreditation, was recognised in the Dramatised Documentaries category for his work on The Monster of Mangatiti.

    The film aired on TVNZ Sunday Theatre in September and tell the harrowing story of Heather Walsh, a young woman lured to a remote farm, and held captive for almost six months before escaping.



  • 21 Jan 2016 1:19 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

    The people entering our industry today will determine its strength in the decades to come. Yet it has never been harder to get that first step that will set you on the right path – your first work experience on a professional set.

    This is ironic because it has never been easier to buy a camera and go out and shoot. Pretty decent cameras and editing gear are within reach of young people, and there are ready distribution channels via YouTube and other video websites.



    Kevin Riley

    The people entering our industry today will determine its strength in the decades to come. Yet it has never been harder to get that first step that will set you on the right path – your first work experience on a professional set.

    This is ironic because it has never been easier to buy a camera and go out and shoot. Pretty decent cameras and editing gear are within reach of young people, and there are ready distribution channels via YouTube and other video websites.

    This new world of democratised technology may help build a pool of talent with a good eye for composition and how things will cut together, and probably boosts the quality of film school graduates. However, that does not necessarily help win one of the coveted places for camera trainees on highly choreographed drama or high-end commercial sets, let alone international productions. After all, our industry revolves around relationships and the talented but inexperienced men and women trying to get into the industry have not yet built those relationships. What potential might the industry be missing out on, as a result of this structure?

    New program

    This is where a new NZCS program has the potential to play a pivotal role in channelling and fostering emerging camera talent. Named Camera Pathways, it is the brainchild of longstanding cinematographer Kevin Riley. The program will identify talented people who are committed to a future behind the camera and help them find a path into the industry.

    This is good for the trainees, benefits participating productions, will help build a stronger industry, and will help enhance New Zealand’s reputation for a highly skilled workforce that is attractive to both local and international productions.

    Deceptively simple

    The idea is deceptively simple:

    1. A new trainee applies to NZCS to join the Camera Pathways program. If the applicant meets the criteria and is accepted then –

    2. The trainee meets with an NZCS DoP from a participating production. If this goes well –

    3. The applicant is offered 1-3 days unpaid work experience on a participating production. If this goes well –

    4. As openings become available, the applicant is offered a paid camera department trainee position of one month or more by the same production or another participating production. Normal trial periods and crew terms apply. If this goes well –

    5. The trainee is offered a free NZCS associate membership to assist networking, building relationships, and establishing their career.

    This is a chance to give talented people of varied backgrounds an opportunity to launch their image-making careers. (Of course, some might quietly drop away as they find out they are not suited to life in the camera department).

    For UPMs and DoPs, it means they can quickly call on a pool of potential camera trainees. They can confidentially talk to the NZCS DoPs and UPMs who have had contact with them in the past – all without wading through vast stacks of random CVs from newly minted graduates.

    Right timing

    The new program has been in the works for some time as Kevin Riley worked out the details – he even relinquished the chair of NZCS to concentrate on it. He says the launch timing is perfect right now, as we look forward to a pickup in production.

    The timing also reflects a move by NZCS to ramp up its core philosophy – to foster the art and craft of cinematography. We will continue to offer great events, workshops, and represent cinematographers, but Camera Pathways is the first move to be more inclusive.

    Reaching out

    Adding a pro-active program to help talent get into the industry is just one of the ways we will reach out and better reflect the broad mix of skills of all those who work with cameras and images.

    Cinematography was once the more or less exclusive preserve of middle-aged men pictured standing next to a large white Panavision magazine on an equally large film camera. Not anymore. A cinematography society today, like the profession of cinematography, covers the whole spectrum of capturing and processing images in the screen industry. As well as drama and commercials, news and current affairs, documentaries, television, online content, camera department crew, colourists and VFX are all part of it.

    The future is going to be built on a lot of these overlapping skills, and it is going to be built by those entering the industry today who learn from the skilled older hands and turn what they learn into something new.

    And that is what the Camera Pathways program, and indeed, NZCS is all about.

    To find out more about the Camera Pathways program or participate email kevin@nzcine.com


  • 06 Aug 2015 4:58 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    Maria Ines Manchego has been awarded the JC CineFem Scholarship for a female cinematographer. Part of  the New Zealand Film Commission’s new gender policy, the JC CineFem Scholarship is the first annual scholarship for female screen practitioners.




    Maria Ines Manchego has been awarded the JC CineFem Scholarship for a female cinematographer. Part of  the New Zealand Film Commission’s new gender policy, the JC CineFem Scholarship is the first annual scholarship for female screen practitioners.

    Twenty-five applications for the scholarship were received and a shortlist of eight was selected by a panel of NZCS cinematographers Ginny Loane, Mairi Gunn and Richard Bluck NZCS. The decision to recommend Manchego for the scholarship was unanimous.

    Manchego was the cinematographer on two films by Florian Habicht, Love Story and Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets.

    “The scholarship was initially designed to be a year-long mentorship with the recipient’s cinematographer of choice,” says Professional Development Executive, Bonnie Slater. “But during the interview process, Maria mentioned she was one year into the prestigious two-year Masters in Cinematography programme at the American Film Institute. She was about to withdraw from the second year due to the fees and the panel was interested in exploring whether the scholarship would be better used to contribute to Maria continuing the AFI course.

    “Both Jane Campion and the panel felt that completing this programme would allow Maria numerous opportunities to work alongside high-calibre mentors, create an extensive portfolio and achieve an internationally recognised qualification.”

    While this is a departure from what was initially proposed, all parties agree this is the best way to support Manchego’s career and, in a step which largely fulfils the original criteria, Campion has offered Manchego an intern role on an upcoming production to further extend her experience. As the timing of this will need to work around Manchego’s studies, details are yet to be confirmed.

    A new scholarship will be introduced next year and will focus on a different area of the industry where female participation is low. Feedback from industry guilds will be taken into consideration when deciding on future scholarship positions.

    Maria Ines Manchego has been awarded the JC CineFem Scholarship for a female cinematographer. Part of the New Zealand Film Commission’s new gender policy, the JC CineFem Scholarship is the first annual scholarship for female screen practitioners.

    Twenty-five applications for the scholarship were received and a shortlist of eight was selected by a panel of NZCS cinematographers Ginny Loane, Mairi Gunn and Richard Bluck NZCS. The decision to recommend Manchego for the scholarship was unanimous.

    Manchego was the cinematographer on two films by Florian Habicht, Love Story and Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets.

    “The scholarship was initially designed to be a year-long mentorship with the recipient’s cinematographer of choice,” says Professional Development Executive, Bonnie Slater. “But during the interview process, Maria mentioned she was one year into the prestigious two-year Masters in Cinematography programme at the American Film Institute. She was about to withdraw from the second year due to the fees and the panel was interested in exploring whether the scholarship would be better used to contribute to Maria continuing the AFI course.

    “Both Jane Campion and the panel felt that completing this programme would allow Maria numerous opportunities to work alongside high-calibre mentors, create an extensive portfolio and achieve an internationally recognised qualification.”

    While this is a departure from what was initially proposed, all parties agree this is the best way to support Manchego’s career and, in a step which largely fulfils the original criteria, Campion has offered Manchego an intern role on an upcoming production to further extend her experience. As the timing of this will need to work around Manchego’s studies, details are yet to be confirmed.

    A new scholarship will be introduced next year and will focus on a different area of the industry where female participation is low. Feedback from industry guilds will be taken into consideration when deciding on future scholarship positions.


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