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Spotlight on Sexism: Hollywood’s Lighting Departments

Spotlight on Sexism: Hollywood's Lighting Departments

We’ve already brought you the dismal numbers on female directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors, composers, production designers, sound designers, special effects supervisors, and visual effects supervisors employed by the film industry. 

Well, here’s once more bastion of sexism that deserves more scrutiny: lighting departments. 

LA Weekly published a great profile yesterday of gaffer Andrea Sachs and her female peers, who comprise just 3% of Hollywood’s set lighting union. A gaffer is the head of the lighting department. 

Based on those numbers, it appears that women lighting specialists have made little inroads in the past fifteen years: 

When [Sachs] first came to California in 1990, she says there were no other women working in set lighting, and she was intimidated. She worked through it. “I didn’t have this feminist attitude. I just really loved being on set,” she says. “It’s kind of the idea of dying with your boots on. I wanted to go down with my boots on.”

She persevered fighting against gender biases in this physically demanding line of work, as did Trish Herremans: 

Recalling her first jobs in Los Angeles, [Herremans] remembers throwing one 85-pound cable over each shoulder of her 5’4″ frame and walking across set, enjoying her coworkers’ astonished looks.

Read the whole feature here.

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