In order to build trust from the creative agencies, producers or directors looking to Illuminatrix for talent, we have criteria our members have to meet, which includes five years’ experience as a DP and a certain number of credits. After a while, lots of women with less experience were approaching us to join, and it felt crap to turn them away, since the whole point is to support women. This is why we launched illuminatrix rising last month, which consists of new graduates, emerging talent and women making the transition into shooting from other roles on crew. We have a rolling showcase on our website, and illuminatrix rising cinematographers also have the chance to be mentored by Illuminatrix members, come to our meetings and events, and be promoted on our social media channels.
I personally never asked many people for advice when I was starting out, but I always needed it. I was shy, and didn’t want to feel stupid; you’re already nervous about being discovered as a fraud at the beginning. It’s something both men and women deal with, but some women might feel they have to behave in a certain way to fit in. So to be part of a supportive, generous and knowledgable network is really satisfying. However, I guess the ultimate aim is to dissolve Illuminatrix, because it’s no longer needed and everything is equal.
I do think the industry is becoming more aware – in terms of both gender and ethnic diversity. I hope it’s not a flash in the pan thing, and that it’s long-lasting change. I’m really encouraged by the amazing response we’ve had for Illuminatrix so far. Long may it continue!