Cinematographers Society embraces greater diversity

Justine Kerrigan.

After launching the #WhoIsInYourCrew campaign, the Australian Cinematographers Society has taken another step towards achieving greater diversity in its ranks.

Instigated by the Society’s president Ron Johanson, the ACS Women’s Advisory Panel, which was formed eight years ago, has been expanded and renamed as the ACS Diversity, Inclusion and Reconciliation Panel.

As a result, the membership base has been broadened to include cinematographers of colour, Indigenous Australians, LGBTQI-identifying people and many women from the original WAP, chaired by Justine Kerrigan.

“Working under a mandate to discuss more openly ways to improve these matters within our own Society, in camera departments and on film sets, we anticipate the meetings will become an open forum for all to share thoughts and experiences and to put forward ideas that will help the Society move forward in positive and inclusive ways,” Kerrigan said.

Among the new members of the panel are Cara Hurley, Allan Collins, Lucas Tomoana, Murray Lui, Claire Bishop, Vanessa Cox, Miguel Gallagher, Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith and Ben Cotgrove.

The continuing members include Sissy Reyes, Johanson, Erika Addis, Anna Howard, Bonnie Elliott, Carolyn Constantine, Lizz Vernon, Velinda Wardell and Katie Milwright.

This follows the recent election of NSW-based cinematographer Constantine as NSW branch president, the first woman to hold that post. She joins Erika Addis, who is the Queensland branch president.

Carolyn Constantine.

Johanson said: “The Society encourages all women, people of colour, Indigenous Australians, LGBQTI-identifying people and disabled people to attend our meetings and events, which are carried out in a safe and welcoming environment and to let your collective voices help the Society to grow and foster diverse and emerging cinematographers.”

Last month 27 of Australia’s top cinematographers last night launched the social media campaign #whoisinyourcrew, aimed at boosting the number of women employed in camera teams and, more broadly, encouraging greater diversity across the screen industry.

The brainchild of Bonnie Elliott, the six-week campaign is designed to reach all heads of department as well as directors and producers.

Within the ACS there are 16 accredited women out of 279 accredited members who are still active, which equates to under 6 per cent.

Of 676 cinematographers, 41 or 6 per cent are female. Among 296 camera crew, 50 or 17 per cent are female. The ratio is higher among student members: 29 of 109, or nearly 27 per cent.

For Screen Australia-funded productions between 2016-19, 13 of the 166 features were shot by female DOPs (7 per cent), and 29 of the 253 drama series were shot by female DOPs (11 per cent).

Elliott said: “The #WhoIsInYourCrew campaign has had global outreach and we are hopeful that this ACS campaign will open the doors in other countries and reinforce the message to all societies, which will then enable the ACS to work hand in glove with colleagues internationally.”