Women cinematographers come together

Who wielded the camera for the critically acclaimed ‘Mitr, My Friend’ or ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd’ or who won the best cinematographer award for non-features in 2009? Even serious film buffs may look clueless but will be left with wonder when they are told women were behind the camera in these movies.

However this Women’s Day, dozens of women cinematographers are coming together on a common platform intending to “trigger changes in the industry” and “showcase, encourage, celebrate and support our work and vision”.

The Indian Women Cinematographers’ Collective (IWCC) was launched on the International Women’s Day with an aim to bring in more and more women to cinematography and brainstorm over technical and creative challenges.

It will also launch a website http://www.iwcc.in soon, which will have an an extensive database of women cinematographers and showcase their work. The members will have an opportunity to brainstorm over technical and creative challenges through blogs, podcasts and discussion forums on the website.

YO-FI filmmaking

It all started two years ago when Fowzia Fathima, the cameraperson of an all-women crew film ‘Mitr, My Friend’, started a Facebook page to connect with fellow women cinematographers. It has now grown big to have a group of 60 members.

“We thought we worked in isolation till we connected to the other women cinematographers. We looked at ourselves as an exception. We want to change that perception. I think the time has come for the idea of the collective to manifest itself now,” Fathima says.

Savita Singh, the national award winner for best cinematography in non-feature films who shot Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Phoonk’ echoes Fathima. “All these years, we thought there are only a very few women in this field. In a global context, women cinematographers are banding together to have a collective voice and a platform to showcase their work,” she says.

For Deepti Gupta, the woman behind the camera for Honeymoon Travels and a number of documentaries, the IWCC is a platform to encourage, support and mentor young women cinematographers.

Priya Seth, the cinematographer of ‘Airlift’, said she is excited to see how the film ndustry will be impacted as more women explore storytelling from behind the camera. “It’s almost as if there is a whole new world to be discovered,” she says.

“This will be a move towards a cinematic journey with more women cinematographers telling stories, where talent is the only requisite and there are no other limits. If we can inspire one woman to choose the craft of cinematography as a profession, we have made a difference,” Preetha Jayaraman, the cinematographer of The Fakir of Venice among others, says.

(Mar 7, 2017)

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