German women cinematographers get united

CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY is a group of women Directors of Photography working internationally across all genres: narrative, documentary, commercials as well as music videos.

We are based in Germany and have a minimum of five years professional industry experience, many of us considerably more. CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX RISING highlights upcoming cinematographers at the beginning of their careers.


The website currently showcases the work of 63 DoPs, the number is bound to grow in the future. The global lack of diversity within the film industry has continued to be a major talking point in 2017. Our aim is to provide the German-speaking and international film industry easy access to a large pool of female cinematography talent which up to now has too often not been sufficiently recognized.

CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY support all efforts towards a more inclusive and diverse film industry and demand a gender-equal approach to the hiring and payment of creative and technical heads of departments. We insist on the possibility to work on high-budget productions together with women directors – something apparently still considered “risky” by certain production companies. Furthermore, we support the calls for a gender-equal distribution of film funds and 50/50 fe/male ratios on selection committees and festival juries.

CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY intend to inspire and encourage each other and the next generation of female cinematographers: If you can see it, you can be it. We are planning to strengthen and promote our network through regular meetings, workshops and events and showcase our members’ work not just on the website, but also on our facebook page and associated instagram account (which will be run by a different DoP every 2-4 weeks). Long-term, we aim to raise the number of women studying Cinematography and subsequently working as DoPs in the German film industry to 50%.

CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY and the accompanying social media channels are officially launched at the 25th International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Camerimage in Bydgoszcz/Poland during the Focus on Diversity panel on November 17th, 2017. The panel on the importance of diversity in cinematography focuses on what both individuals and organisations can do to tackle underrepresentation behind the camera. It was organized by The European Federation of Cinematographers IMAGO and the UK collective of women cinematographers illuminatrix and features Heather Stewart (BFI Creative Director), John Bailey ASC (President of AMPAS), Petter Mattson (Swedish Film Institute), Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), Rachel Morrison ASC and Birgit Gudjonsdottir BVK/IMAGO, representing CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY.

Initiated by Birgit Gudjonsdottir and supported by the German Society of Cinematographers BVK, German women Directors of Photography held a first general meeting in Berlin in April 2017 andhave since been building a professional network, with members based mainly in Germany, but also in Austria and Switzerland. This network is constantly growing and currently comprises 111

women DoPs – considerably more than those of us who joined in time to be represented on the website. Women cinematographers collectives illuminatrix (UK), Cinematographers XX (US) as well as the International Collective of Female Cinematographers ICFC inspired Stephanie Hardt BVK and Daniela Knapp BVK to suggest building a similar online showcase for German DoPs. Lotta Kilian

BVK, Miriam Kolesnyk BVK, Anna Motzel, Stephanie Hardt BVK, Annegret Sachse BVK, Katja Rivas Pinzon, Birgit Gudjonsdottir BVK and Jana Pape worked on its completion, supported by Susanna

Salonen BVK, Christiane Buchmann, Anne Bürger and several others who helped finding sponsors. Our network is supported by the German women directors’ initiative Pro Quote Regie PQR and we are in talks about future collaborations.

Our name CINEMATOGRAPHERSXX GERMANY is derived from the US collective Cinematographers XX, whose founding member and Director of Photography Autumn Eakin kindly gave us permission to use it. We are ally groups, but operate separately.


In February 2017, the German Federal Film Board FFA published its study Gender and Film, which analyzed gender diversity among the heads of creative departments of 721 narrative and 389 documentary features that premiered between 2011-2015. 85% of cinematographers working on these productions were men, 10% were women – despite the fact that 22% of Cinematography graduates (1995-2000) and 25% of cinematography students at German Film Schools (2011-2015) were female. According to another German study by Jörg Langer called Die Situation der Film- und Fernsehschaffenden 2015 (The Situation of Professionals working in Film and TV in 2015), the average yearly income (pre-tax) of women cinematographers is 57% lower than that of their male colleagues.

The German Society of Cinematographers currently includes 5.5% women. Since 1954, the German Film Prize in the category “Best Cinematography” has been awarded 73 times, three times to women DoPs: Jolanta Dylewska PSC in 1995, Daniela Knapp BVK in 2011 and Anna Foerster in 2012. At Camerimage 2017, not a single woman DoP has worked on the 13 films in the Main

Competition. “Best Cinematography” remains the only Oscar category to have never nominated a woman.


Without serious efforts to change the hiring practices in the industry the situation will not improve. We are therefore calling for direct interventions to address gender inequality in the film industry:

At least one female DoP should be considered and interviewed for every project – especially, but not limited to, high-budget cinema movies and projects produced for and by public service broadcasters. Female talent should regularly be included as speakers and participants in public industry events, on panels and in workshops. Our website can be used as a resource to find female talent. Our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram post regular updates on our members’ work and their success in the industry.

We call on producers to no longer associate teams of female directors/cinematographers with higher production risks than all-male or mixed teams.


The problem is that hiring a woman as a cinematographer is still seen as a novelty – a rare thing one does in special circumstances. By grouping ourselves together, we hope to overwhelm this

false notion that the reason women aren’t getting hired is because there aren’t any able candidates. We’ve all been told too often on set, “you’re the first female cinematographer I’ve worked with,” and the question is, why? Why is this still the case in 2016, and how can we change that? The idea is not to be hired because we’re women, or to group ourselves together to imply that our talents are interchangeable. On the contrary, the ultimate goal is to be hired regardless of gender, and to show that we are all individuals with unique artistic voices and backgrounds. Not only that, but in a field as competitive as ours, we want to be supporting each other however possible. We want to encourage more women to enter and thrive in our still male-dominated workplace, so that one day the scales will balance out, and the industry will become truly genderblind and gender-balanced. Catherine Goldschmidt, cinematographer and co-founder of illuminatrix

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