Women Cinematographers Grant: FAQ

General Questions

Q: Why is the grant only open to female cinematographers?

A: Statistically, women are barred from roles as cinematographers by clearly documented socioeconomic factors that equally do not affect men (from all cultural and economic backgrounds), including lower wages than men for performing the same job, societal pressure to avoid employment and education in technology-related fields, gender stereotypes about technical proficiency and leadership, and less frequent access to technical resources due to gender discrimination at school and in the workplace. At 2% employment in the top 250 grossing films of 2013, women cinematographers are among the least represented in a heavily male-dominated industry where 2% of top films employ women as composers and SFX coordinators, 4% as sound designers, 5% as VFX coordinators, and 6% as directors.5

Fair wages and access to equipment are crucial for emerging cinematographers of any gender to support themselves while pursuing their craft and to create bodies of work that can build a stable, publicly recognized career in the field of cinematography, and we believe that by providing access to technology to the hugely underrepresented population of female cinematographers will help alleviate the massive inequity that keeps women from being able to shoot moving pictures from their own perspectives, shared by 51% of the world population.

Why is the grant only open to productions in North America?

A: Shipping gear internationally is prohibitively expensive, diminishing the financial impact of the grant, and the longer the shipping distance the more likely the equipment may be damaged. For the cost that it would take to ship the gear included with the grant overseas (which would be paid for by the Grant production), the project could afford to rent a significant amount of gear locally.

Q: Why does the crew have to be paid? I’m making a no-budget film and want to apply for the grant. Isn’t it just important to get more women behind the camera?

A: If crew people aren’t being paid for their work, they aren’t making a living at their craft. If they aren’t making a living, and have to find other work to pay a living wage (as women behind the camera often have to do), they aren’t able to build a career within the industry. Proof of payment is also the key to joining Local 600, the union that includes cinematographers and camera people, and whose membership opens to doors to higher-paid and more-professional work.