Help Julia Swain Fund Completion of Documentary On Leading Female Cinematographers, Kickstarter Campaign Ends February 15.

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

planetMitch note: we typically have a policy of not promoting film kickstarter projects – there are just too many… but Karin is very passionate about this one and one of the reasons we added her to the writer mix was to get more women involved or at least highlighted.

Julia Swain’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for completion of her documentary feature on leading female cinematographers, Women of Light, is closing soon and I urge you to give serious consideration to contributing.

A documentary like Women of Light would have made a big, crucial difference to my life and career, had such a movie existed when I was at art school contending with ignorance and powers-that-be then and thereafter. Cinematography in particular and moviemaking in general were a wealthy boys club where one needed the right connections to be given the keys to the kingdom.

It may be too late for me, but your support for Ms Swain’s documentary could make all the difference for other could-be female cinematographers. The keys to the world of the movies may be withheld from most potential female moviemakers still, but our peers who have cracked the safe might be able to show us other ways in.

Kickstarter Campaign Details:

  • Campaign pageWomen of Light
  • Closing date & time – Monday, February 15 2016, 7:00 am AEDT
  • Goal – US $ 12,500
  • Pledged at time of writing – US $13,070

When I was growing up and for so long after, I had no female cinematographer role models. I had exactly just two female stills photographer role models whom I discovered through a book in our tiny, local lending library – Annie Leibovitz and Mary Ellen Mark.

I learned about more female photographers from the US and Europe after going to art school in the big smoke, where I was lucky enough to get my hands on the art book budget and managed to fill quite a few gaps in the school's library.

As for female cinematographers, directors and other women working in the movies back then? No female cinematographers at all, but three Australian directors, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Gillian Armstrong and honorary Australian but actually New Zealander, Jane Campion.

Better than nothing, I suppose, but nobody in my part of the country could tell me how to even get to first base as a cinematographer much less director. In those pre-Web days, such facts were the province of the few.

There is a wonderful quote from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in an article I have open in Safari right now:

If she can see it, she can be it.

That article, Where's Rey? Toymakers Were Told To Exclude Her, published January 25 by Indiewire’s Women and Hollywood blog, is about the deliberate exclusion of the Rey character from Star wars merchandise.

But “If she can see it, she can be it” equally applies to women in all roles within the movie industry. And for me, especially cinematography.

Ms Swain and project partner Teodoa Tatoiu have already shot their documentary on 17 female cinematographers. One of them is Australian, Mandy Walker ASC, ACS.

Color me very pleased indeed. Kylee Peña interviewed Ms Walker for Creative Cow on the occasion of her appointment as 2014 Kodak Cinematographer in Residence at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT).

Women in Light’s Kickstarter campaign page includes this statement:

“It's time we honor women in film. It's time to honor the women in cinematography, around the world, and inspire those of the future.”

I couldn’t agree more. Please help get this movie through post-production and ready for global distribution.

And please join me in thanking Matt Workman of Cinematography Database for bringing Women in Light’s Kickstarter campaign to our attention. [bctt tweet=”Pledge now! Completion of leading female cinematographers documentary. Closes February 15.”]

Women of Light

Via Kickstarter:

Feature documentary highlighting the leading women in cinematography.

The Film

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.

Women of Light Image 1

In the media, we hear so much about how few women there are in the film industry:  VARIETY INDIEWIRE   THE NEW YORK TIMES


It's time we honor women in film. It's time to honor the women in cinematography, around the world, and inspire those of the future.

Join us in this movement — whether you're filmmaker, a cinematographer, a lover of movies, a lover of art, a lover of stories.

The Cinematographers

Women of Light image 2

Learn more at their Kickstarter campaign page “Women of Light

(cover photo credit: snap from Kickstarters)

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