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Women Making History, Part 1

01/03/2024

The month of March marks Women's History Month and, on the 8th, International Women's Day. These are important opportunities to focus on stories from women in our industry who are incredible role models. As we approached this month, I reflected on how we could amplify and elevate those stories, and I connected with women who are impacting our industry with their artistry, craft, and leadership. I asked them all a series of questions, and in the process gained invaluable insights into their inspirations, the role mentorship has played in their lives and careers, advice that shapes their decision-making, and much more.

I'm thrilled to present Panavision's Women Making History interview series. I hope you'll follow along each week throughout March to learn from and be inspired by these amazing women as we share their stories in their own words.

I am truly energized by those who have and continue to pave the way for women to be the influential storytellers they are meant to be. I'm so excited to share these special conversations with you, our community.

Sincerely,

Kim Snyder (President and CEO, Panavision): What impact do you hope Women's History Month may have over the course of time?

Chris Wairegi (cinematographer and camera operator; founder, 600 Black Women): I hope we inspire future generations to do things we never dreamed of. I hope Women's History Month gives a little girl the strength and courage to chase big dreams and to not listen to anyone about what she can't do. I hope we inspire anyone in need of a little inspiration and that our presence here shows them they can do it too.

Chris Wairegi (photo by Sophia Romulo)

Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC (cinematographer): Encouraging women to believe in their strength and abilities is important. You need to see you to be you.' That's one of the best quotes Ive heard recently in regard to women mentors today. Unfortunately some of the greatest accomplishments of women in our community or around the world are not highly publicized. Its important for women to seek out other women in their industry and get advice.

I would never have picked up a camera had I not read two words: Ellen Kuras. She is the reason I started to believe that I could one day do this job. Early on I was told by someone in the business that only men were cinematographers. Ellen's name changed that for me, and I am forever grateful for her existence and amazing accomplishments.

Kira Kelly, ASC (cinematographer): I hope that more and more we can use the frame of Women's History Month to honor the women who laid the path for us, but also look towards the future.

Terra Bliss (managing director, Panavision UK and Ireland): I hope that celebrating the achievements and contributions of women will help inspire future leaders and innovators, to see people who look like them achieving success.

Johanna Gravelle (managing director, Panavision Canada): I actually hope that by highlighting and celebrating women today, these kinds of things become unnecessary in the future. I hope there will be a time when everyone is on a level playing field with opportunities and salary, where hard work and talent counts more than gender and the color of a person's skin.

Johanna Gravelle

Patti Lee, ASC (cinematographer): I really don't know how to answer this question. I'm glad the accomplishments of so many extraordinary people get highlighted, but I'm also looking forward to a time when being a woman' isn't a qualifier we have to use.

Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC (cinematographer): I hope that as we learn to recognize the incredible achievements and contributions of women, that gender equality will become less of a struggle and we will break the barriers of inequality. I hope that women will be given new opportunities and have a chance to develop more self-respect and that we lose the idea of imposter syndrome.'

Sandy Ferguson (chief human resources officer, Panavision): When I first got to the level of leading HR teams, I was usually the only female in the executive team meeting. This has changed over time, and my hope would be that business culture continues to evolve so that traditional stereotypes surrounding female leaders continue to change. I also hope that women can continue to support each other in their career growth, and by learning about experiences of women in leadership, I hope it inspires more women to believe they can be successful.

Mandy Walker, AM, ASC, ACS (cinematographer): I hope that more women become empowered to pursue their career goals and that the industry embraces a more equal and diverse representation on set.

Laura Merians Gon alves (cinematographer): [I hope] that there will be no more qualifiers that a woman will naturally be seen in the role as a DP.

Laura Merians Gon alves

Michele Channer (business development director, Panalux; managing director, Direct Digital and Island Studios): By acknowledging the careers and journeys of women, we can inspire others to reach for their goals, whatever route that may take them. Careers are not just an upward trajectory at a steady pace. We hit crossroads and at times go off in different directions. By highlighting in Women's History Month the various journeys we make, maybe we can inspire a few along the way. I was seriously lacking role models in my career development, but now I see fabulous role models all the time. It's exciting to see, and now we can showcase them. My daughter is already an inspiration to me, and I hope that I have had a little impact on her.

Victoria Emslie (actor; founder and CEO, Primetime Network): Women's histories have received relatively none of the attention and immortalization in comparison to men. One of the questions Primetime was founded on was, Where are all the women?' We all
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