New programs introduced to help up-and-coming cinematographers hone their craft can be far-and-between. And when it comes to supporting female cinematographers, the opportunities are even rarer. That may not come as a surprise, given the overwhelming number of male-to-female DPs that are currently working within the industry. After all, it was just this year that Rachel Morrison became the first DP to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, losing to Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049.
That fact has not been lost on Morrison's alma mater, the American Film Institute (AFI). Noting that "fewer than 4% of film and television programs have a female cinematographer," the organization, along with the sponsorship of 21st Century Fox, has launched two tuition-free, Los Angeles-based programs designed to mentor female cinematographers in an effort to shift and balance the numbers out.
Cinematographer Rachel Morrison on the set of Dee Rees' 'Mudbound,' courtesy of Netflix.Taking place from August 3rd through August 6th, 2018 at the AFI Conservatory, the four-day AFI Cinematography Introductory Intensive for Women (CIIW) is open to females interesting in obtaining further knowledge on the art and craft of cinematography. Applicants need not have previously shot a film in order to be deemed eligible, but must be at least 21 years of age and able to attend all four days of the intensive (housing and travel are not provided), in addition to submitting a bio, a statement of interest, and a work sample. Applications are currently open and due Friday, June 15th, 2018.
If you're already a female graduate of the AFI Conservatory, you can also apply to the brand new Fox DP Lab, a more advanced, extremely selective program focusing on career sustainability. Cinematographers currently working on Fox film and television productions will provide advice, feedback, and "war stories" of how to prosper in a career in which women are the extreme minority. This program is only for AFI alumni however, and applications will open this August.
Stacey Snider, the CEO and Chairman of 20th Century Fox Film noted, "Following our incredibly successful partnership with AFI to develop the Fox Filmmakers Lab, this new initiative to grow and develop female DPs is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts to diversify and strengthen the talent pool in this vital creative discipline. Rachel Morrison’s recent Academy Award nomination should be the norm—not the exception—for female DPs, and our hope is that programs like the Fox DP Lab will create even more opportunities for the next generation of talented, up-and-coming female DPs throughout the entertainment industry.”