This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the oft unsung yet always vital contributions of those working below the line. Join NYWIFT blog contributors Kathryn O’Kane and Mellini Kantayya as they celebrate a few of the many women in history and making history—“Below the Line: A Cut Above.”
By Kathryn O’Kane
Rachel Morrison is an American cinematographer known for her arresting and haunting imagery. She created a name for herself in independent cinema with films like Fruitvale Station, Dope and Little Accidents. In 2018, she became the first woman DP nominated for an Academy Award for Mudbound.
“I’ve always liked very photorealistic photography, even in a very lit and collaborative film world,” Morrison says. “I try to see what is at the heart of the story and the character at a given moment, and let story and emotion be the factors that inform the technique. That’s almost an old-school philosophy at this point.”
Most recently, Morrison lensed the big budget superhero movie Black Panther, a film where many of the key positions were women, including the DP, first AD, Costume Designer, and Production Designer. When asked what it was like to work with so many strong women on the set, Morrison said “it was awesome. It was refreshing. You don’t realize what you’re missing until you have it…it felt so smooth and calm and I was like why isn’t every set like this?”
Fun fact: I’ve worked with Rachel on two wildly different projects: an inspiring episode of Oprah’s Master Class featuring Sidney Poitier, and an over-the-top kitschy Vegas ping-pong tournament, which normally would be a footnote in our respective careers but for the fact that it was the day Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died.
(Featured Image Photo Credit: rachelmorrison.com)
Since premiering and winning the Jury Prize in the 2022 Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival (the first to do so from the Indian subcontinent), Joyland has moved audiences worldwide with its human portrayal of the limits of love in the face of patriarchy. The film follows the youngest son in a traditional Pakistani family as he takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque, and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show. The film is both a loving portrait of the people of Lahore, Pakistan, and a painful depiction of how rigid traditional gender roles and repressed sexuality can have a ripple effect that harms the whole community. NYWIFT member Katharina Otto-Bernstein, who produced Joyland, spoke to us about discovering new artists through mentorship, political pushback on Joyland, and how Malala Yousafzai helped the film finally reach Pakistani audiences.READ MORE
The Mole Agent: Highlights from the NYWIFT Goes to the Oscars Q&A with Maite Alberdi, Marcela Santibañez, Julie Goldman
The team behind The Mole Agent, Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary, discusses its powerful impact, and how they created a film both so visually stunning and rich with character that The New York Times review believed the film to be partly dramatized. It wasn’t!READ MORE
Janine McGoldrick is a veteran entertainment executive who has created and implemented strategic distribution and communications campaigns for television and film, including for the 2017 Academy Award-winner "The Salesman." She discusses her work on that campaign, her initial transition from politics to entertainment, and making her first documentary, about an invisible disease that confounds doctors.READ MORE
Women’s Soccer: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team did more than just win the World Cup this weekend – they started a worldwide conversation about equal...READ MORE