I have worked in the industry for more than 25 years and over that time have known only a handful of female DPs and camera operators. The film/television industry is male dominated in that regard, but hopefully this is something that will start to change.
Julia Swain has started a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money to finish a feature length documentary called “Women of Light.” The film highlights some of the leading women in cinematography, including Reed Morano ASC, who recently directed and was also the DP on the feature film Meadowland.
Other notable cinematographers to feature in the documentary are Mandy Walker ASC ACS, Sansy Sissel ASC, Uta Briesewitz ASC, and Amy Vincent ASC.
What Julia says about the project on Kickstarter:
There’s been a lot of discussion on the “lack of female cinematographers” and as a young female cinematographer, I wanted to respond. I attended UCLA’s graduate school for cinematography and when graduation was approaching, I still only knew of a few women who were shooting big shows. I wanted to know more about how they got to where they were.
This feature documentary started out as my very ambitious UCLA thesis project that turned into a larger undertaking when I realized how many women there were to talk to — and there are still so many beyond who is in the film. That’s the point I’ve decided to make.
There are so many incredible women shooting, and I am so excited to have been able to put their stories in one piece: Women of Light.
We’re ready to finish this film — but we can’t move forward without funds. Your contribution will help us with many things we need to complete it. Below is a breakdown of where the funds will go. Everything helps.
Julia holds an MFA in cinematography from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television. During her graduate study she shot several narrative films, including the feature Killing Animals by James Franco and won multiple awards including the Women in Film Foundation / Loreen Arbus Fellowship in Cinematography. The See You Soon (Michael Brun) music video she shot made MTV’s #1 top new video in the summer of 2015. She has had other work air on networks such as VH1, ESPN, and Adult Swim and has served as DP and Second Unit DP on multiple features.
She is trying to raise a modest sum of just $12,500 US to help finish the documentary. I personally hope this documentary gets the required funding as it will hopefully help to get more women involved in cinematography.