National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

The Dortmund Award for Women Directors of Photography is to be presented for the fifth time running. This year, however, we arranged for two awards in two separate categories of feature film and documentary film. Working conditions differ considerably. With a feature film, for example, the director of photography gets the chance beforehand to consult with the film director – and people from other units such as scenery, costume and set design – and thus develop a clear concept for the shoot. She knows the rooms or locations where the filming will take place and can define the light accordingly. But when it comes to shooting a documentary film, other skills are called for. The camerawoman here must be able to react spontaneously to the situations at hand, use the camera to follow new developments flexibly, decide on suitable field sizes; and adapt to changing or unknown light conditions. Her (eye) contact with the film director is also important so that, working together, the right decision can be taken at the right moment. Plus, of course, it
needs a whole lot of intuition. Similarly, the ability to fit into a team and a knowledge of the latest camera technology are indispensable in both categories of film-making. Either way, more and more young women are confident that such sophisticated work is not beyond their ken. No fewer than 53 entries were submitted this year, of which 32 were nominated
for the competition. As usual, we called for graduate pieces or films made during the first two years after qualification.

The jury members and directors of photography Sophie Maintigneux, Bella Halben and Ute Freund came, saw and discussed before deciding that:

The € 5,000 award for best cinematography in the category of Feature Film is to be equally divided between Susanne Kurz for the 1, 2, 3 (directors: Siobhan Jackson / Susanne Kurz) and Marlen Schlawin for Badetag (director: Philipp Batereau).

And the € 2,500 award for best camera work in the category of
Documentary Film is to go to Anne Misselwitz for Der Die Das (director: Sophie Narr). Julia Daschner receives a special mention for her film Auf der Walz.

2022: Roxana Reiss Fence, Constanze Schmitt Mayor, Shepherd, Widow, Dragon
2020: Sabine Panossian Off Season, Doro Götz Lost in Face
2018: Paola Calvo Violently Happy, Marie Zahir Wie ich mich verlor
2016: Julia Hönemann Porn Punk Poetry, Katharina Diessner Arlette – Mut ist ein Muskel
2014: Christiane Schmidt The Forest is Like the Mountains, Bine Jankowski Rebecca
2012: Julia Daschner Bergig, Eva Katharina Bühler Der weiße Schatz und die Salzarbeiter von Caquena
2011: Eva Maschke Frauenzimmer, Hanne Klaas Ole
2009: Marlen Schlawin Badetag, Susanne Kurz 1,2,3, Anne Misselwitz Der Die Das
2007: Ute Freund Du hast gesagt, dass du mich liebst
2005: Bernadette Paassen In den Schubladen
2003: Janne Busse Klassenfahrt
2001: Jutta Pohlmann England


Sophie Maintigneux

Sophie Maintigneux has been active as a freelance cinematographer since 1984. She has worked with directors such as Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Klier, Jan Schütte and Helga Reidemeister, and she has been director of photography on more than seventy fiction films and documentaries and has received numerous awards, including the German Camera Award for the documentary Ladies and Gentlemen over 65 and for Die dünnen Mädchen. In 2017, she received the The WIFTS Cinematographer Award. Her most recent works are the feature film Mario (directed by Marcel Gisler) and the documentary film outside directed by Johanna Sunder-Plassmann and Tama Tobias-Macht). Since 2011, she is Professor of Cinematography at the Cologne Academy of Media Arts.

Bella Halben

Bella Halben, after her training as an advertising photographer she worked as an assistant camerawoman, then as an operator for different DoPs. Since 2000 she works for movie productions. Among others she did set-photography for Nicolette Krebitz’ films Jeans and Das Herz ist ein dunkler Wald as well as for Hierankl (nominated for the German Camera Award), Winterreise (Director: Hans Steinbichler), Im Winter ein Jahr (Director: Caroline Link) and the Deutschland 09 episode Fraktur by Hans Steinbichler. Together with Tom Tykwer, she supervised the workshop ›One fine Day‹ for students of cinematography in East Africa.

Ute Freund

Ute Freund studied art history in Berlin and worked as a camera assistant before studying cinematography at the Hamburg Media School. Her diploma film The Runaway won a Student Academy Award. You Told Me, You Love Me by director Rudolf Thome was her feature film debut, winning the National Competition for Women Directors of Photography in 2007. Ute Freund’s work includes experimental, documentary and feature films such as Thome’s Pink (2008) and The Red Room (2010) as well as Cynthia Beatt’s The Invisible Frame (2009) and her most recent project Sankt – Female Identities in the Post-Utopian (2017) by Danish artist Lene Markusen. She received the German Camera Award in 2016 for the documentary Hello, I am David! by Cosima Lange.