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Women Making History, Part 5

29/03/2024

In the final installment of Panavision's Women Making History interview series, Panavision President and CEO Kim Snyder focuses the conversation on the participants' inspirations.

As this years Womens History Month draws to a close, we share our sincere thanks to the many women who participated in this interview series for sharing their stories and being incredible role models for the youngest members of the industry as they begin to rise into future leaders.

Read the rest of the series here:

Part 1: On the impact of Women's History Month

Part 2: On valuable career advice

Part 3: On mentorship

Part 4: On career highlights

Kim Snyder (President and CEO, Panavision): What sparked your interest in your career, and what keeps you inspired today?

Patti Lee, ASC (cinematographer): When I was growing up, I never imagined I would be a cinematographer. Careers that were stable and had a clear pathway forward were valued in my family. I went to UCLA and was trying to decide between a life in the sciences or in art. Being a cinematographer gave me the opportunity to have both.

I love puzzles jigsaw, crossword, logic, you name it. As a DP, I'm solving puzzles all day, but the puzzle is way more complex, with multiple possibilities. What's the best way to shoot this scene? How do I make it feel more intimate? How do I achieve what I want in 15 minutes? Every day brings new puzzles and new solutions.

Patti Lee, ASC (photo by Bill Inoshita)

Terra Bliss (managing director, Panavision UK and Ireland): I've been inspired by photography for as long as I can remember. Whether it was an image created for an art exhibit or a magazine cover, I appreciated the possibility of creating a feeling or telling a story from an image. My first real job after college was at a studio; I got the bug for the film industry then. I had no idea there were so many people involved in making a film! I finally understood all those names and positions on the end credits. After working at the studio, I became interested in post production and camera rental, servicing filmmakers behind the scene a blend of technology, teamwork and problem solving. Working with the Panavision team, I see the passion, ingenuity and care that happens behind the scenes assisting filmmakers in their craft. That inspires me every day.

Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC (cinematographer): I used to watch films all the time with my best friend in college. We probably watched Heat and Trainspotting twice a week. These films made us feel alive, confident, human, and were so visceral. My mother would also let me watch Woody Allen films with her at a young age. I remember feeling so confused and intrigued by them afterwards. Those films presented emotions I didn't fully understand at that moment. I can clearly remember times in my life and the films that were directly related to those eras. This is the power of film. It creates a memory that attaches you to a specific emotional phase in your life.

I was so enamored by the filmmaking process, I had to find out who was making those images possible and causing these emotions. After I left college, I researched what a cinematographer did.

Today I continue to be inspired by great films and filmmakers. I recently saw Anatomy of a Fall, and it moved me it was one of the most invigorating films I'd seen all year. Even though I work in film now and know what goes on behind the scenes, I'm still moved when I see an amazing film. It will always have the power to transport you and cause a shift in the way you see the world.

Lesley Kantor (chief marketing officer, Panavision): I have always been fascinated by how things work.' The experience of watching movies and television and wondering how ideas went from script to the screen captured my curiosity as I child. Who did what jobs? How did a scene get made? My curiosity grew into a passion for pursuing a career in the entertainment industry so I could be a little part of that magic. As I started learning more about the various types of professional fields that make up this industry, I began to build interest in the viewer's experience and the power of the brand-consumer relationship. That led me to my current role as a brand marketing professional.

Alice Brooks ASC (cinematographer): I have always been attracted to light. When I was an infant, I pointed up to a round streetlamp and said my first word, moon.' My early years were spent on sets acting in TV commercials. I was fascinated when dark soundstages were transformed into magical places as each lamp turned on. In high school, I spent my lunchtime in the darkroom figuring out how to capture light on a piece of celluloid and then print it onto a piece of light-sensitive paper. Light is everything to me, and a day doesn't go by that I don't feel that same childlike excitement as I see a ray of light transform the ordinary into something magnificent.

Alice Brooks, ASC (photo by Macall B. Polay, SMPSP)

Laura Borowsky (vice president, business development, Light Iron): Filmmaking has always been a passion of mine. Working with the creatives that inspire and mold storytelling with such verve and excitement makes each and every film I pursue, and then work on, a passion project. I can only hope that my enthusiasm for the medium shows through to my clients, who put their complete trust in me.

Filmmaking is a very personal art form, and to have a window into that process is incredibly satisfying. It never gets old. Each project feels new and exciting.

Kira Kelly, ASC (cinematographer): Still photography and a love of movies were what first sparked an interest in filmmaking for me. However, it wasn't until I found myself in the lighting department working on a student film that I found my love of cinematography. I remember being so excited by this re
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