Supporting Gender Diversity in Cinematography

The NZCS has run a very successful Gender Diversity intern program since 2019, with support from the NZFC Talent Development /Strategic Development fund and cooperating producers. This program has put over 22 women (or those identifying as women) into paid mentorships on a variety of productions in roles as camera trainees or DP interns, totalling over 350 days on set. This is an ongoing program and we currently have funding until July 2024 which will allow us to maintain the tremendous momentum that has been achieved in getting more women progressing in roles in the camera department and ultimately becoming highly skilled cinematographers.

Our overall objective is to inject a new level of diversity into the camera community by supporting more women in the earlier stages of their career, increasing visibility and therein building change. We are acknowledging the base of women who already work in the camera department and giving them an opportunity to up-skill in their role. Visibility is critical to profiling a career path enabling women to key positions who are then more likely to engage other women.

A real measure of the progress made in the visibility of women cinematographers in our industry is the number of award winners at our 6th Annual Cinematography Awards in 2023. Of 58 total awards presented, 11 of those were to women, which equates to just under 20%.This shows a rising trend, as in 2019, 17% of the Awards were given to women, and in 2018 only 4% of the awards were awarded to women. (note 2020-2022 were aberrant Covid-affected years where the one-time online awards in 2021 failed to attract many female entrants at all)

Under our Gender Diversity program, we create placements for women into short-term paid mentorships that will boost their knowledge base by being attached to an experienced DOP mentor in an observational role on a significant production. This program evolved from a 2019 women's' roundtable initiative to redress the gender imbalance in camera. It is explicitly aimed at countering the low percentage of women currently populating the field of Cinematographers.

To date, our placements have been:

- Kelly Chen (DP Intern) with Denson Baker NZCS ACS on ‘Luminaries’ TV series

- Ainsley Calderwood (DP intern) with Drew Sturge on 'The Educator'

- Tammy Williams (DP Intern) with Aaron Morton NZCS on 'Sweet Tooth' TV series

- Zyanya Jackson (Cam Trainee) on ‘Black Christmas’ horror film

- Nina Wells (DP Intern)with Sigi Spath NZCS on 2x TVCs

- Mara Yambao (Cam Trainee) with Gin Loane NZCS on 'The Justice of Bunny King' feature film

- Bailey Mitchinson (Cam Trainee) with Ari Wegner ACS on 'The Power of the Dog' feature film

- Niki Winer  (DP Intern)with Bevan Crothers on 'Wellington Paranormal' TV Series

- Bayley Broome-Peake (DP Intern) with Aaron Morton NZCS on 'The Lord of the Rings :Rings of Power' TV series

- Alyssa Kath (DP Intern) with Dave Garbett on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Daniela Conforte (DP Intern) with Dave Garbett on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Alice Toomer (Cam Trainee on 2nd Unit) with Ziga Zupancic on 'on feature film 'Evil Dead Rise'

- Jess Charlton (DP Intern) with Richard Bluck NZCS on feature film 'Avatar'

Sassafraz Marshall-Johnson (Cam Trainee) on travel series 'Men in Kilts'

- Rowena Simes (DP intern) on travel series 'Men in Kilts'

- Bridie MacInnes (Cam Trainee/2nd AC) with DP John Toon NZCS on feature film 'A Mistake'

- Raphaella Holder-Monk (2nd AC) on 'Samara'  feature film 

- Sofi Issak-Zade (Cam Trainee) with DP Paul Mockrdge on the Reality TV series 'Taskmaster'

- Pikihuia Haenga-Little  (DP Intern)with Mike Berlucchi on TV series 'Stonehenge/Time Bandits'

- Aline Tran (DP Intern) with DJ Stipsen NZCS on TV series 'Stonehenge/Time Bandits'

- Vanessa Vandy (DP Intern) on 'Our Flag Means Death S2'

- Kioko Wang (DP Intern) on 'Chief of War' TV Series

 The NZCS is working purely for the advancement of knowledge within the community and getting a better balance of gender amongst cinematographers is one of our current priorities. Successful applicants to intern positions are asked to join the NZCS for a minimum of one year, as an associate (or student if eligible) An associate membership fee costs $207 per annum and this process can be completed by clicking here.

Call for applications for upcoming positions is distributed through the NZCS mailing list and other allied guilds and crew booking services. After applications are received, the NZCS Professional Development Committee will review and provide a short list of eligible candidates to the DP's and camera team to select and interview.

To be eligible candidates must be a NZ Citizen or Permanent Resident.

We are also keen to develop a database of women in the film industry in New Zealand. You can express interest here by emailing a current copy of your CV and showreel links (if you have one) for us to hold on file. 

If you have any questions or just want to chat about it further, please feel free to get in touch.

*The words ‘women’ and ‘female’ are inclusive of gender non-conforming, non-binary, transgender & intersex.

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