In a post-Harvey Weinstein world dominated by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it’s clear that entrenched norms of the entertainment industry are shifting towards progress in 2018. Female filmmakers are finally starting to gain the attention and praise their work deserves.
This week, Rachel Morrison made history when she was nominated for an Academy Award for her cinematography on Netflix’s Mudbound. This is the first time ever that a woman has been nominated in this category, and it’s about damn time! It’s not shocking that it took so long when you realize that women make up a paltry 3% of working cinematographers today. Despite its size, there is a strong community of award-worthy talent among female cinematographers today.
While we celebrate Rachel Morrison’s historic Oscar nod, we wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the other talented female cinematographers who are making major strides in the film industry.
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After gaining a reputation for her excellent documentary work, including Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side, Maryse Alberti broke into the mainstream with Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. She was also the first contemporary female cinematographer featured on the cover of American Cinematographer magazine for her work on Velvet Goldmine. Hailing from France, Alberti is a 30 year veteran of the industry who ironically didn’t see a movie until she was 19 years old.
If you don’t know Ellen Kuras from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Blow, you might be familiar with one of her many collaborations with Spike Lee or Martin Scorsese. She is a three-time winner of the Best Dramatic Cinematography Award at Sundance Film Festival and was the fifth female invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers (joining more than over 400 male peers) in 1999. She recently directed USA’s Falling Water and two episodes of the Netflix show, Ozark.
Reed Morano is a badass in every sense of the word. Known for her cinematography on Frozen River, Skeleton Twins and Scorsese’s HBO series Vinyl, she went on to make her directorial debut on feature film Meadowland starring Olivia Wilde (which she shot as well) while simultaneously beating cancer. Most recently, she directed and executive produced the first three episodes of Hulu’s hit show Handmaid’s Tale and was the first woman in 22 years to win the Emmy for best director of a drama series.
With over 100 cinematography credits to her name, Nancy Schreiber was the first female to win the American Society of Cinematographers President’s Award in 2017. She recently shot episodes of ABC’s The Family and FX’s Better Things. She has worked with Film Independent’s Project Initiative, enhancing the careers of women and people of color, and has taught advanced cinematography at the American Film Institute.
Aussie cinematographer Mandy Walker decided at age 13 that she wanted to become a DP. Her recent work includes Hidden Figures and The Mountain Between Us starring Kate Winslet, which she shot at the top of the 11,000-foot Purcell Mountains in British Columbia. She is currently in pre-production on Disney’s live action Mulan remake. In an interview with MovieMaker Magazine, she admits to always having red lipstick in her kit along with her collection of light meters (all a girl needs, really).
These are just a few of the women you should know about who are making an impact in film and television. Regardless of what happens at the Oscars this year, this nomination is a huge step for female filmmakers and should pave the way for more awards in the future.
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