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Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in Cinematography

19 Jun 2023 6:35 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

Photographs taken by Director of Photography John Ross show the panel's informal conversation in the afternoon.

One of the events preceding the 6th Annual Cinematography Awards was “An Afternoon with Erika Addis” – President of the Australian Cinematographers Society, and guest speaker at the awards.

Erika was keen for the session to take the form of an informal round-table discussion on the general themes of Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in our cinematography world, so a panel was assembled that comprised interns from our program; Aline Tran, Bayley Broome-Peake and Vanessa Vandy, program DP mentor ; DJ Stipsen NZCS, independent producer; Jo Raj, NZCS Vice President; Nina Wells and Executive Director of Women in Film and Television NZ; Patricia Watson. It was also great to have a diverse audience including 1st AD’s, directors, writers and a good turn-out from the camera department.

The session kicked off with an introduction to Erika’s background and her passion for diversity and inclusion in the selection of our crews, so our film stories truly reflect the make-up of our society. We screened a short video showcasing the “A Wider Lens Survey” of which Erika was an integral force, and then discussed the recent positive trends in Australia with the international success of female DP’s like Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS and Ari Wegner ACS, ASC.

PHOTO: One of the many informative key findings from 'A Wider Lens' report.

Patricia Watson from WIFT talked about the soon-to-be-released Gender Pay Gap survey in our industry and how the camera department has serious need for improvement. Producer Jo Raj talked about her support and passion for diversity in our crewing and Nina Wells acknowledged Jo’s fantastic support during while she DP’d a film during a recent pregnancy.

We heard first-hand experience from some of the interns who had been on the NZCS Gender Diversity Program and DJ Stipsen gave a most enlightening talk about his role from the mentor’s perspective, and the insights he had gained from the process. 

Erika then discussed the Australian government-funded ACS Credit Maker scheme, where mentees get to shoot a full episode of a TV series after spending time with their mentor on  previous episodes.

The floor was open for lively discussion on a variety of issues centered around making our part of the industry reflective of the demographic of our society, because currently we have a long way to go before this is a reality.

~ Donny Duncan NZCS, Professional Development Manager




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