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First Winners of Women Cinematographers Grant Announced

First Winners of Women Cinematographers Grant Announced

Five female DPs have been selected as the first recipients of the Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers

The grant is the first of its kind, offering more than $10,000 in camera gear and accessories from Digital Bolex, Hive Lighting, Hot Rod Cameras, and other sponsors to support films with female cinematographers. Digital Bolex began accepting applications in September 2014 and will offer future grants on a rolling basis. Details of how to apply can be found on the Digital Bolex website, and prospective applicants are encouraged to apply at least six weeks prior to their start date.

“Women make up only 2% of the
cinematography workforce,” said Digital Bolex creative director Elle
Schneider. “With so many independent films,
the traditional training ground for new talent behind the lens, hiring
cinematographers based on the equipment they already own and can bring to the
table, this is an important initiative to give women the tools they need to
compete professionally.” 

Three of the selected projects are women-directed features, while the other two are men-directed shorts. “Many of the male
cinematographers we revere in our industry, from Roger Deakins and Robert
Richardson to Janusz Kaminski, are known to a wider audience because of their
close, often decades-long collaborations with specific directors, typically
fellow men,” Schneider continued. “Part of my hope with this grant, in addition to male directors
taking a chance on working with women, is that women directors will find female
partners behind the camera with whom to develop a long-term working relationship.”

All five of the chosen projects will begin shooting this spring. The winners will also be invited to the 2015 American Society of Cinematographers Awards brunch and after-party. 

Digital Bolex is a LA-based camera company self-described as “for filmmakers by filmmakers.” It enjoys partnerships with the Athena, Etheria, and No Budget Film Festivals and other
upcoming initiatives to encourage emerging and underrepresented filmmakers.

Here are descriptions of the selected projects and cinematographers, courtesy of Digital Bolex: 

D-DAY (Feature Film); Director: Tamika R. Guishard, Cinematographer: Cybel Martin, Producer: Marquette C. Jones

When three foster siblings from East Brooklyn encounter PTSD,
childhood cancer and community residuals, they learn that hustling out of the
crack epidemic was only the beginning… D-Day picks up where the 80’s epidemic
left off by profiling three wards of the state in New York City.

AULD LANG SYNE (Feature Film); Director: Johanna McKeon, Cinematographer: Kimberly Culotta, Producers: Kimberly Dilts, J.T. Arbogast

On New Year’s Eve, married couple and theatre artists Steven and
Vanessa host an annual get-together at their parents’ cabin for their oldest
friends, struggling actress Sadie and her new surfer/rock star boyfriend Jude,
Bryce, a repressed accountant, and Jodie, a world-weary photojournalist.

CHOCOLATE IS NOT BETTER THAN SEX (Feature Film); Director: Aleisha Gore, Cinematographer: Danna Kinsky, Producers,  Kimberly Estrada, Rebecca Whitman, Tony Boldi

Hot fun-loving single mom, Monica Robinson, dares to plunge back into
the dating game, she turns to her friends, Ally, the pickup artist, Dori, the
insecure, overzealous professional match-maker, Jeanie, the petite Puerto Rican
5th wheel with a penchant for bad boys, Hedda, the alcohol-cure-all-weilding
lush, and her own pushy, overbearing mother Tabitha, a former beauty queen,
Mrs. America, and Texan socialite for advice. 

THE CITY (Short Film); Director: Joseph Gerbino, Cinematographer: Hanny Epstein, Producer: Erica A. Hart

As THE LOVER struggles to stay alive, THE MAN nervously awaits the
death of his beloved. Curiously, the cause of death is not a cancerous tumor,
but a growing city within his lover. The Man finds solace by escaping into this
emerging, urban sprawl and exploring… looking for his once-lively lover in a
dance film about the acceptance of death. This is THE CITY. This film is also
supported by the Kevin Spacey Foundation grant.

STEVE’S KINKOS (Short Film); Director: Daniel Irons, Cinematographer: Emma Debaney

A
man goes to an eerie 24-hour copy shop after running out of lost
cat posters and figures out what he’s looking for is closer than he
thought – it just might not be so easy to get it back. A student
production at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

About the Cinematographers:

Cybel Martin 

Singled out for her expressive and stylized work, Cybel Martin is
the first and only African American woman to receive an MFA in Cinematography
from New York University. She served as the magic eye behind Dee Rees’ “Orange
Bow” which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and for “Sangram”, recognized for
its deeply moody and textured palette, which premiered at Sundance. // Cybel
has participated in several cinematography panels and lecture series,
collaborations include Columbia University’s Psychology Department and Film
Academy in Nigeria. Cybel has been featured in American Cinematographer and
Fader magazines and is a cinematography writer for Indiewire.com.

Kimberly Culotta

Kimberly Culotta is a cinematographer, filmmaker and painter
recently relocated to Arcata, CA from Los Angeles. Her work has included four
Independent feature films, work for National Geographic, The New York Times,
Glamour Magazine, PBS and MTV and numerous commercial and music video projects.
Collaboration and quality of content are her driving forces, although making
beautiful images is certainly the fun part. 

Danna Kinsky

Danna Kinsky, with over 15 years of experience, including 6
narrative feature films, 9 shorts and numerous documentaries, TV shows, PSAs
and more, she captures a truly dynamic world on celluloid. She travels to
diverse places in reality and the imaginary brings back great memories and
stories as images that will remain in the heart forever. Danna enjoys a very
eclectic life, with different types of photography and cinematography. With a
B.F.A. in film, She blurs the difference between the moving image and the still
photograph, or shows the extreme difference between them.

Hannah Epstein 

Hannah Epstein’s passion for imagery began at an early age when she
bought her first film camera, and it has only grown since. Through high school
she studied black and white photography on 35mm film, and in college gravitated
towards cinema. She graduated from Middlebury College as a film major in 2012.
In addition to her studies at Middlebury, Hannah spent a year filming in Dublin
with New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. It was at that time Hannah
decided she would narrow her focus to cinematography. While still in school,
she completed a production internship with MTV, and the following year interned
in the camera department at NFL Films. Hannah has continued working at NFL
Films for the past three years, as both a sports cinematographer and camera
prep technician. Highlights of her time with NFL Films have included shooting
games every weekend during the football season, including playoffs and
SuperBowl XLVIII. Her game footage airs weekly on Showtime’ s Inside the NFL.
She also worked as a cinematographer on the NFL Films crew for HBO’s Emmy Award
winning series, Hard Knocks. In addition to her work for NFL Films, Hannah
enjoys spending the off-season photographing the world, shooting music videos,
and assisting other professionals on a variety of shoots.

Emma Debaney

Emma Debany is a senior cinematographer at SCAD. Originally a photo
major, she switched into the film program and now has a strong understanding of
both crafts — the workflow, lighting, grading, postproduction, and overall
aesthetics. She focuses on creating humor and fun quirks in her work, still or
motion. Outside of producing and shooting numerous student films, she has
worked with Sprite as a cinematographer and Abso Lutely Productions as a PA on
the Eric Andre Show.

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