Definition May 2021 - Web


IMAGE ‘Aga in action’ – WBTC works hard to get more women working on major productions

IN THIS SPECIAL FEATURE, CVP spotlights Women Behind The Camera (WBTC), a platform showcasing the skills of women working in the camera, lighting, grip, DIT and video departments in the UK film and TV industry. Created by three ACO camera operators – Lucy Bristow, Ilana Garrard and Agnieszka Szeliga – it currently has a database of more than 230 names, and contact details of women who producers and DOPs can use to build diverse crews. “Since launching WBTC, we’ve seen a change in attitude towards recruiting more women into our industry,” says Szeliga. “Many experienced women are now being hired to work on major productions, including senior roles as camera operators or first ACs. I have also felt this change in my own working life – a woman with my level of experience (junior camera operator) would never have been considered for major productions a few years back. Yet, in the past year or so, not only have I been invited to interviews, I’ve found myself on set, shooting with some lovely crews.” As well as increasing visibility to potential employers and collaborators, and to other women starting out or within the industry, WBTC encourages upskilling and networking through regular workshops. “We’ve organised female-centred training days, thanks to certain companies, plus individuals have pitched in with equipment or advice to help women gain

more skills. To practise with a crane, geared head or Steadicam for a day – tutored free of charge in a relaxed and safe environment by the industry’s best operators – is a unique, confident-boosting experience,” says Szeliga. “I should mention CVP specifically in this context, as it has supported our geared and remote head practice events with equipment in the past, and has always been very supportive of our initiatives towards gender balance. Personally, I’ve practised on the wheels many times at its Creative Space on Charlotte Street – I’d encourage all women to make contact with CVP and take advantage of its generosity.” Thankfully, from Szeliga’s testimony, it seems that many people have registered a strong desire to change our industry for the better in recent years. As a result, collective responsibility for diversity has accelerated to the front page. “Balance is good. It’s an ideal that we should all be striving for. The perception of diversity and inclusion has improved recently. Opportunities are constantly increasing – that can only serve to strengthen and refresh our industry,” confirms Szeliga. “But, if women behind the camera are to have similar opportunities to their male counterparts, and if film sets are one day to be a truly mixed workplace, we need help from HODs, studios and productions to

“Many experienced women are now being hired to work on major productions, including senior roles as camera operators or first ACs”

MAY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 37

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