National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

Cinematographer, camera technician, director of photography – three terms for the one person who uses her camera as a tool to transfer on to substrate material what takes place in motion or presents itself statically before the lens. The Dortmund | Cologne International Women‘s Film Festival has opted for an award aimed squarely at picture designers. For working with a camera and with light is not just a image recording routine but an active co-design process which demands interaction with the other jobs of set decor, costumes, make-up and location management. Even the actual decision as to specific film material, the use of filters or a special digital technique can substantially influence the final look of a film. Close-up size, image section, camera position and camera movement are all essential factors for the narrative discourse. It is in this way that, following consultation between the director of photograph and the film director, the moving pictures can take on the quality of a narrative instance their own right.

Whether all that will fall into place here is assessed by the jury specially appointed to choose the winner of the Dortmund Award for Women Directors of Photography 2011, a prize that has now become a firm institution in the industry. For this sixth edition, numerous entries in the form of graduate pieces (from the first two years of work after her university degree) were received from next-generation female cinematographers. Of these submissions, 29 films were nominated. Remarkable this year is the fact that, apart from the seven short fiction films, the remaining 22 nominations consist of documentary films in both the short or long format. Plus which, the directors of photography often double-duty as the film director as well. The documentary film thus appears to be the genre best suited to deal with a topic or personal concern that allows the DoP the freedom to develop her own cinematic language.

Directors of photography and jury members Sophie Maintigneux, Daniela Knapp and Stephanie Hardt have finished their viewing and their discussions. They have decided that …

The award for Best Camera goes in equal part (each 2,500€) to:
Eva Maschke for Frauenzimmer and
Hanne Klaas for Ole.
Maria Goinda receives a special mention for Cartonera.

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.

Daniela Knapp

Daniela Knapp was born in Austria. A graduate camera technician, she has worked for years with great success as a cinematographer on large movie productions. Her best-known films include Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (also known as: The Edukators) directed by Hans Weingartner (D 2003) and Emmas Glück (Emma‘s Bliss) directed by Sven Taddicken (D 2005). Her latest cinema film is entitled Poll and directed by Chris Kraus (D 2010). For the inventive camera work to Sven Taddicken‘s Mein Bruder der Vampir (My Brother the Vampire), she received in 2001 the Eastman Award at the International Hof Film Festival as well as Best Cinematography Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival in New York. She is renowned for her self-assurance, hard work and the ability to remain creative and keep to budget.

Stephanie Hardt

Stephanie Hardt is a freelance director of photography who has worked on documentary films, fiction feature films, promos and TV series. Since her study of camera at the University of Westminster in London and the Northern Film School in Leeds, she now mainly works in England. In 2000, her cinematography on Wolf in an Arran Sweater earned her the Arriflex Award. The documentary film Heavy Load directed by Jerry Rothwell (GB 2007) has been screened at various film festivals in Germany. Since September 2010, she has been active as a professor at the internationale filmschule köln for the degree of documentary film and camera.


Maria Goinda


Marlen is eight years old. Every day she travels with her brother Roberto, her sister Tamara and her boyfriend Polaco […]


Eva Maschke (DoP)


Christel, Paula and Karolina work in the oldest trade in the world and are considered to be »ready for the […]


Hanne Klaas (DoP)


18 years after the suicide of her brother Ole in 1991, Hanne Klaas decides to make this film, thus breaking […]