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

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Featured Camera Pathways member

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  • 26 Jan 2016 3:23 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    First Camera Pathways trainee Jamieson Montgomery, being introduced to the big bad world of Television Cinematography! Well done to Jamieson, and also to Kevin Riley for a useful scheme. Having a formal framework to employ and train was very useful, and I am sure will improve quality and outcomes for production and the students.


    Jamieson Montgomery (L) and Guy Quartermain (R)


  • 26 Jan 2016 3:19 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    Michael Engelbrecht recounts a new experience while shooting

    Along with Dan, the DoP,  I was in the front passenger seat as we drove across Mount Wellington in the early hours of Sunday morning recently to shoot a music video. As 1st AC, I held a Ronin on my lap fully rigged and ready to go. Our director Tim was in the van ahead of us as we followed in convoy to our location, an empty office building. 



    Along with Dan, the DoP,  I was in the front passenger seat as we drove across Mount Wellington in the early hours of Sunday morning recently to shoot a music video. As 1st AC, I held a Ronin on my lap fully rigged and ready to go. Our director Tim was in the van ahead of us as we followed in convoy to our location, an empty office building. 

    There were no other cars on the road at that time so it was easy to see the unmarked police car quite blatantly tailing us. Thinking it just must be a quiet night for them, we didn't read too much into it and pretty soon we arrived at our location and the cop car disappeared.

    About 15 minutes later, the sun was just starting to come up and a light rain had started falling on us. Tim and I were outside unloading the van and Dan was inside setting up when we amazed to hear, ‘Turn around and put your hands in the air!'    
    I turned around to see, just like on an episode of cops, a bunch of police officers popping into view with their guns drawn and pointed directly at us. My first reaction was, obviously, terror (the first time anyone has pointed a gun at me before, let alone multiple guns).

    Pretty soon, after seeing the uniforms and connecting that to the cop tailing us earlier, the thought ran through my head: 'It’s OK, it's just the cops and they've just made a massive stuff up, I'm probably not going to get shot'.

    Very quickly, Tim and I found ourselves on the ground in puddles with officers standing over us, while the rest of them looked inside for Dan and this mysterious 'firearm' that I had been spotted holding in the front seat. Judging from the all of the camera/lighting gear and the lack of any weapons, they realized pretty quickly that we were as we said we were and, as if not wanting to admit they were in the wrong, sheepishly said we could stand up and relax. 

    The one officer that did admit to the mistake was the one in the unmarked car who had called it in, and he was clearly apologetic and very embarrassed by the whole thing. 

    Before they had even left, his colleagues had already begun teasing him about it, and no doubt they will for a long time yet. 

    As ridiculous as it was, it could have turned out much worse than it did. I got a great story out of it, and that is one cop who won’t make the same mistake again. It’s just a shame we weren’t rolling. 

     






  • 26 Jan 2016 3:08 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    When you go on the Universal Studio tour, you know perfectly well that you are not seeing the real thing, unless you count the backs of distant trucks down studio side alleys. You can understand why – extra people on a film set is a hassle they can do without.

    This is why it was such a coup when ...


    Dave Cameron explains his shoot from within the main set 

    When you go on the Universal Studio tour, you know perfectly well that you are not seeing the real thing, unless you count the backs of distant trucks down studio side alleys. You can understand why – extra people on a film set is a hassle they can do without.

    This is why it was such a coup when Dave Cameron ACS, NZCS vice-president and DoP on Filthy Rich, convinced the show’s producers to allow him to open the set and show NZCS members how he was approaching the shoot.

    This was never going to be an ordinary lecture where a cinematographer shows a few clips and talks about his work. This time, NZCS members would be able to sit in the East Tamaki warehouse sets, watch selected scenes and have Cameron actually show them how the shots were achieved.

    Nor was this a sanitised tour, as Cameron related the pressures and compromises he faced, and how he tried to turn them into positives and advantages.

    To give a taste of what belonging to NZCS offers, the event was opened to non-members, and this proved to be a winner. People who are filmmakers and camera operators, but not on full-sized drama productions took full advantage of the invitation. Corporate members too, used the opportunity for staff who don’t normally get onto sets.

    The evening began after the day’s wrap, when the visitors – once they’d signed confidentiality agreements and had a drink – were ushered into the main set. 
     

    Challenged

    Cameron showed a trailer for the show, and talked about how he was challenged to make dollars go further. Even though it is publicised as New Zealand on Air’s biggest budget TV series to date, it is a 20-episode show, and for Cameron that meant stretching each dollar further than before.

    He says within the budget he couldn’t afford the 10K lights that would normally be used to simulate daylight streaming in from windows on the sets. This left him with a three-way trade off between illumination levels, lens speed, and acceptable camera ISO.

    His solution was to use the more expensive ARRI Zeiss Master primes which reach T1.3 wide open, ARRI Amira cameras set at 1280 ISO, and 5K fixtures outside the windows. This was the most cost-effective combination and Cameron is happy with that images came from a set that until now, would probably be regarded as under-lit.
     

    Not afraid

    To take advantage of the lens speed means shooting wide open, and what’s more Cameron was not afraid to use long primes, revealing a high level of confidence in his focus pullers, Sam Matthews and Dave Steel. They seemed remarkably cheerful and relaxed about the whole thing, nearly always pulling remotely from monitors in another room.

    The lighting was inventive in more ways than one, with home-made soft light boxes overhead in some sets, fluro strips built into others, and the edge taken off LED panels with a variety of soft boxes and egg crates rigged up by gaffer Grant McKinnon – a character who completely understates his insane ability to simultaneously hold the position of gaffer, builder of one-off lighting fixtures, and B camera operator. To top it all, he sometimes steps up to DoP if Cameron is called away.
     

    Surprise

    After showing selected scenes, and running through his approach, Cameron took his visitors on a tour of the sets, surprising many with his talents for making the set look far more expansive on screen than in real life. 

    The evening wrapped with a chance to meet and greet the crew who had set up the gear, and had stayed behind to explain their part in the shoot.

    NZCS is indebted to producer Steven Zanoski and line producer Nikki Baigent for their generosity in allowing this event, and the crew (see below) who stayed behind to help make it happen.

     

    Sam Matthews Focus Puller
    David Steel Focus Puller
    Daniela Conforte Camera assistant
    Johnathan Guest        Data Wrangler/Video split
    Grant McKinnon Gaffer / camera operator
    James Young Best Boy 
    Matthew Thomas Lighting assistant
    Alex Young  Lighting assistant
    Alex Jenkins  Generator operator
    Jeremy Osborn Key grip
    Rajiv Raj Grip assistant
    Jack Potter Grip trainee
       

    Filthy Rich is due to air on TV2 in Autumn 2016.


  • 21 Jan 2016 1:29 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)
    In THE REVENANT, the highly anticipated film from 20th Century Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a fur trapper and frontiersman who is left for dead deep in the unchartered American wilderness by a traitorous member of his team,  John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).  Inspired by a true story, the film is directed and cowritten by renowned filmmaker and Academy Award-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu    (Birdman, Babel).  

    “BEFORE AMERICA WAS AMERICA” CAST AND CREW DISCUSS THE AMBITIONS AND CHALLENGES OF MAKING THE REVENANT 

    I. RECREATING AN UNKNOWN PAST
    How do you recreate a past that’s barely been documented? That was just one of the challenges that faced the cast and crew of The Revenant. As star Leonardo DiCaprio observes: “Making the film was almost like making a science fiction movie because there was so little to work with.  I mean, not only would cinema audiences not know much about this time period, but I don’t think historians know that much about this time period either.  Simply because America wasn’t America.  It was the Amazon at that time. It was inhabited by indigenous people and the fur trade was sort of the first infiltration of the white man into nature, and how he manipulated that for capitalistic purposes.  The fur trade was before the gold rush.  It was before the oil rush.  It was before we sent explorers to understand what this landscape was like.”

    This sense of journeying into the unknown, or at least the unfamiliar, was just one of the attractions for director Alejandro González Iñárritu: “It is a very interesting moment in the history of this country,” he offers. “These were people in unchartered territory having real adventures. Not like us with our GPS and ‘Oh, let’s have an adventure in India.’ We don’t have adventures anymore. We know where things are. But I feel the early 19th Century has never been explored in depth because it was an unknown.  There are literally no stories that have captured that period with accuracy.  There was no photography; there was nothing.  So everything from that period is still kind of more legend than fact.  Even the Hugh Glass story.  We know he survived a grizzly bear attack and sought revenge on those who abandoned him, but before and after that, his life is unknown.”

    “A lot of research was done through the journals that the fur trappers kept,” confirms DiCaprio. “Because there were no novels at that time about this.  There were no writers going there.  It was just men hunting.  There are no photographs, only etchings and drawings and stories from American Indians about what it was like.”

    Production Designer Jack Fisk echoes DiCaprio: “I read the journals of people who were there, clerks, trappers; I read everything I could. But in terms of visuals, I looked at the work of the Swiss painter Karl Bodmer, which is exquisite. Because even with all the journals, paintings and sketches you can find, you still have to interpret the material. Even at the time, people were interpreting things in their own way – you have to read between the lines a bit. I tried to read around and behind the subject. You find details – the soldiers had open latrines, there would be lice and rats… it wasn’t pleasant. In fact, a lot of the trappers would choose to live with the Native Americans because they were cleaner, they bathed every day, and their habitats were just better maintained.”

    To accurately portray the grim lives of the trappers, many of the cast were sent to ‘Boot Camp’ to learn some of the skills of the era.

    “I actually found that rather enjoyable,” says Will Poulter, who plays trapper Jim Bridger. “We did kind of everything from skinning beavers to riding horses to trying to build your own fire.  A lot of what we did was really fun and very informative, not to mention quite integral in bringing us together as a group.  The boot camp was very useful in terms of forging a genuine bond between us all. We were all staying in the same hotel and eating with each other every night, and all of that really helped to create a genuine sense of camaraderie.  I think it was essential to what we ended up having to do on screen.”

    “The camp definitely helped,” agrees Domnhall Gleeson, who plays Captain Andrew Henry. “Every little skill you learned, even if you didn’t use it in the film, brought you a little closer to your character.”

    “I learned everything about survival there,” says DiCaprio. “And there was a lot of detail embedded in the script too.  We had specialists to learn about the muskets we were using, which take a minute to reload.  And the bear fur I had to wear… an animal which nearly kills me all of a sudden becomes my means of surviving the elements.  How to start fires,   how to eat, how to survive the cold temperatures.  We needed to learn all of that stuff. The journals of the fur trappers gave us a sense of the conditions that these men had to go through, and they were clearly incredibly tough.  It’s a different era of man, so to speak.  I mean, I love nature. I do environmental work and stuff in the wild all the time.  But by no means would I ever be able to say I’m a Bear Grylls-type!  I couldn’t do what these men did.”

    As well as portraying the trappers as authentically as possible, the filmmakers naturally wanted to do the same with the Native Americans.

    “The most important thing,” explains Iñárritu, “was that they did not become just the classic ‘Oh, the Native Americans’, ‘the Indians, or ‘the bad guys,’ or ‘the dangerous guys,’ or ‘the mysterious guys.’  My intention was always to give them very strong and very human reasons like any other person, not patronize them, and not make them the victims. I didn’t want to make them just pure and good either. I simply tried to humanize them. They are not good. They are not bad. They are just looking for exactly the same things as anyone: respect, dignity, to be heard.”

    II. LOCATING THE AUTHENTIC
    Authenticity was crucial to The Revenant. That meant not only researching the lives of the characters, but also finding locations that would help make the film a totally immersive experience, even if those locations were remote.

    “I actually started scouting locations about five years ago,” says Iñárritu. “I knew that the film would require almost 100 locations, and it’s not like shooting in a city where you can say, ‘Okay we need a bar, we need a building, we need an apartment, we need a taxi,’ you know? Often times, the logistics are easy to solve, but when you have a landscape and a film that is in an autumn and winter, and where it goes from deep woods with huge trees to the plains, and ends up in the Rockies, and then in the middle of a valley… the distance to get to those locations, the logistics that imply even going from one little hill to a creek with snow, sometimes those locations are extremely difficult with a crew and camera and cranes etc. And then every location, in a way, has to be pointing to ‘the right sun direction’ to shoot with the right light, at the right hour and the trees, and the kind of nature has to make sense narratively to the distance that he is going… “

    Iñárritu breaks off, laughing at how elaborate this sounds. “I guess what I am saying,” he smiles, “is that it was complex, but I knew that the landscapes and these locations would not just be ‘locations;’ they would basically become characters that will embrace Hugh Glass and will make him feel or will heal him or will damage him or will transform him or will give him shelter or will give him a nightmare or will protect him or will threaten him. The landscapes became a huge part of what the submersion of the audience would be, so I knew that I need very special landscapes, very remote, untouched, that didn’t look like you had seen them in other films. It was incredibly challenging, but absolutely worth it, I think.”

    Production Designer Jack Fisk agrees. “I was out at those locations four or five months before the actors,” says Fisk. “Hiking to each of them was exhausting, but also exhilarating. As soon as I met Alejandro, I knew he was a passionate artist. I learned working with Terence Malick how to treat film like a fine art, so this was an extension of that. It was exciting, and a struggle. You can see Alejandro battling to find his film as he works. Everyone working on the film knew it was something special.”

    III. FINDING THE LIGHT
    As well as striving to find the precise locations required to evoke the period, the filmmakers also made several other key decisions to facilitate authenticity including choosing to shoot the film in sequence, shooting long uninterrupted takes, and using only available natural light.

    “I think using natural light was actually an obvious choice, “says Iñárritu. “First of all, there is no way you can light a forest…  Having the sun, that’s enough light, and the complexity and the beauty of that light can never be matched by artificial film light.

    Because we were shooting in winter, we knew that by 3:00 PM it was dark.  By 2:30 PM there was no light under the trees. The locations were often so remote that by the time we arrived we had to be ready; we would rehearse and rehearse because we would have maybe an hour or two to shoot long takes.  That was it.”

    But Iñárritu believes this method of working brought its own benefits: “Yes, it was a very dangerous, extreme way to shoot,” he acknowledges. “But it was also a luxurious way to shoot because you extract the most beautiful light of the day when it really speaks.  In every location, you would use everything to reveal another truth. There’s nothing better than that.  Cinema is light, so having the most beautiful light is what makes beautiful cinema.  There really was no choice.  We were shooting with 40 millimeter lenses, so there was nowhere even to hide lights.  How would we cable that?”

    IV. IMMERSED IN NATURE

    “I think Alejandro really wanted the movie to feel very naturalistic,” says cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. “That was something very important. He always wanted the movie to engage the audience in a way that felt like they were watching through a window into the past. From the beginning, we wanted the movie to be very immersive and very visceral. While we were doing tests we realized that very wide lenses allowed us to engage the audience and place the viewer in the midst of the action. It enabled us to have close ups of Leo for example and still have all the environment present in every shot, and that was something very important to Alejandro, the relationship between the environment and Glass.”

    “I think Alejandro and Chivo [Lubeski] pulled off this epic intimacy,” enthuses DiCaprio, “where you see the vast landscape and you see massive battles going on, but at the same time, the camera snakes in on a small close-up of somebody to capture a moment and then moves along. I don’t think there’s ever quite been a film like it. It’s one of those highly ambitious movies that I don’t think we’ll see from the Hollywood studio system very often.  It’s a very linear, simple story of a man who’s trying to seek revenge after getting mauled by a bear and losing his son.  And ultimately it becomes this great piece of cinematic poetry simultaneously.”

    Ask Iñárritu if he created the film’s ‘poetic’ tone or found it and he’ll say that it is a bit of both: “I think it’s a correlation: when you are in tune with those things and you are in the right spot and the right context and you are looking for it… it happens. Sometimes it comes to you.  Then again, you are a creator so sometimes you create it.  Also, I just think that the nature that is exposed, the hours we shot, the locations and the landscape, which is so remote – for audiences now just to see real mountains, real Rockies, real snow, real fog, real rain, real, you know, all those things just rivers with eyes and frozen rivers – people are no longer used to seeing this in fiction.  You can maybe sometimes see it in documentaries.  But when you integrate the real world that we are part of and we connect with that beauty and we recognize and we contemplate it, it’s just sublime. Because we are part of that nature.  We are just another creature. So I have the feeling that perhaps the tone is kind of like a creature missing their environment.  It makes you feel: ‘Where is that?’  We see so many human objects and concrete, so only when we are contemplating beauty, which is around us, do you get that sense. But also what I think is important, is that Glass is remembering his life as he’s dying, as he’s trying to survive. It’s a guy that is remembering himself and putting his things together and stitching them.  And as he’s doing it, it’s like the nostalgia or the memory of his wife and the relationship with his son and all that he lost and in that sense it is very romantic or poetic. And I want that.  I want to have a spiritual dimension that speaks for this guy.  So that people can really go into his spirit and soul.”

    V.    A SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

    In order to maintain and protect the authenticity and naturalistic tone of The Revenant, the filmmakers decided to shoot in sequence, and using long takes to striking effect.

    “By shooting in sequence,” explains Iñárritu, “it allowed me and the actors to keep finding opportunities to adapt, to rewrite, to polish and find beautiful things that can be added as the journey’s going on.  You are a different person after one year, and this was one year.  I think it was great to have the opportunity to be discovering and understanding the film as we were going.  Sometimes with film you are God; sometimes you’re a creature and in this case, you have to surrender and be a creature of your own work.  And he starts speaking to you and then you have to serve it.  That was a luxury and it was great.  All my films, by the way, I have shot like that.”

    The long uninterrupted shots also created considerable technical challenges. “Working in nature, with natural light, you have to be flexible,” says Fisk. “But I like working like that. I had to be on set as much as possible, ready to react to a situation: ‘We need more light,’ ‘Can we simplify the background by darkening some of the trees?’ – there was a mix of black powder and water we’d spray – ‘Can we move this wall back?’ etc. I remember we illegally ‘dammed’ a river at one point to get the water level higher. We used a lot of cranes so the camera could go high, wide, could be intimate etc. with minimal intrusion. Alejandro would say: ‘I want this to be quite ‘minimal’ and then of course you’d look around by the end and see 200 Native Americans… things just got larger. The thing is, the film was being made in the moment. You need to be there. You don’t want to disappoint the director. It was exciting. You had to be inventive to get the shot. And it was a lot of afternoon and evening shooting so there was never much time: you had to be quick. Niceties went out the window; no time to be courteous. You saw a passion emerge among the crew.”

    “Look… everybody worked really hard,” say DiCaprio when asked if it was a tough shoot. “The entire crew went through really extreme circumstances.  Whether it was the constant extreme weather, or the cameras not working because it was 40 below zero, or the snow melting in an unprecedented warming period because of the climate change in that territory causing the entire landscape to go dry and barren within five hours.  We shut down for weeks, but everyone there was committed to this movie, committed to making this vision happen.”

    “The truth is,” he continues. “I don’t think we could have predicted the challenges that this movie gave us.  It gave us every possible challenge you could imagine.  I mean, I have stories for days… but the great thing about making movies is you’re documenting it.  You’re documenting the struggle and you’re documenting all the things that we went through in making this movie and trying to achieve something. I mean, just the bear sequence on its own. You’ll never see anything like it in cinema history. It’s like there’s another sense that’s arisen in you as an audience member.  You’re watching this sequence and you feel like the bear is breathing in your face.  I mean, Alejandro and Chivo together are pretty magical. And it is so incredibly powerful what they pulled off.”

    Supplied story


  • 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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