National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

Tenth Anniversary of Women’s Cinematographer Award

The National Competition for Women Directors of Photography is celebrating a special birthday: this will be the 10th year of this unique prize celebrating women’s achievements in cinematography. The award for young talented women honours the best cinematography in the feature film and documentary film categories, and is presented for graduate films as well as films produced in the first two years after graduation.
The prize, awarded since 2001, thus successfully supports the work of young female cinematographers, and acts as confirmation and encouragement for women to continue on their path in an industry that continues to be dominated by men.

Sophie Maintigneux, two-time winner of the German Directors of Photography Award and professor at Cologne Academy of Media Arts, has been a major supporter of the Young Women Cinematographers Award right from its conception. She is on this year’s jury for the award, along with fellow multi award-winning Austrian cinematographer Eva Testor and Katharina Dießner (winner of the Women’s Cinematographer award in 2016 for Arlette – Courage is a Muscle). From all the entries this year, the jury finally selected the following two winners:

The prize for the best cinematography in a documentary film (prize money of €2,500) goes to Paola Calvo for the film Violently Happy (directed by: Paola Calvo).

The prize for the best cinematography in a feature film (prize money of €2,500) goes to Marie Zahir for the film How I Lost Myself (directed by: Sarah Weber).

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


Katharina Dießner

Katharina Dießner, IFFF award winner in 2016 for the documentary film Arlette – Courage Is a Muscle, was born in 1978 and studied ethnology at the Freie Universität Berlin. She startet to work as assistant cinematographer and gaffer in 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she studied cinematography and film at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. While studying, she made a large number of shorts, documentary films and feature films that were presented at international film festivals. The film When Suddenly the East Lies in the West (Director: Ki Bun) won several international awards in 2012/13. Kineski zid – Great Wall of China (directed by: Aleksandra Odić) ran successfully at the 68th Berlinale and her current feature film Arthur and Claire (directed by: Miguel Alexandre) opened in cinemas across Germany in March 2018.

Eva Testor

Eva Testor, born 1967 in Hall in Tirol, studied Camera Technology and Cinematography at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, Department of Film & Television under Prof. Christian Berger. She works as a freelance cinematographer in Vienna. Since 2000, in collaboration with long-term partners such as Mirjam Unger (Fly Away Home), Sabine Derflinger (Day and Night) and Gabi Schweiger (Women’s Lust), Testor has provided the camera work for many successful big-screen and television films. In 2016, she was awarded the Golden Romy for best TV camera work for the series Suburbia Women (Season 1, episodes 1-5, directed by Sabine Derflinger). She is currently shooting the new documentary by Gabi Schweiger Viva la Vulva. Alongside her cinematographer work, Eva Testor also writes screenplays and prose.

Films by Eva Testor (DoP, Selection)
Vorstadtweiber 2015 – 2016 | Maikäfer Flieg! 2015 | Lichttage Lichtnächte – Christian Berger im Film 2014 | Oh Yeah, She performs! 2012 | Die Lust der Frauen 2010 | Tag und Nacht 2009 | Little Alien 2008 | Vienna’s Lost Daughters 2007 | 24 Wirklichkeiten in der Sekunde – Michael Haneke im Film 2004 | Crash Test Dummies 2004 | Richtung Zukunft durch die Nacht 2001

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.

How I Lost Myself

Marie Zahir (DoP)

Feature Film

P has lost confidence in language. She expresses her insecurity about language with her girlfriend; people speaking in different languages […]

Violently Happy

Paola Calvo


For her documentary Violently Happy, Paola Calvo accompanied the former dancer Felix Ruckert, whose choreographies coused irritation in the art […]