National Competition for Women Directors of Photography

Taking place for the 11th time, the National Competition for Women Directors of Photography showcases camerawork by women. This unique young talent award honours the best cinematographic work in the fields of feature and documentary film and is presented to graduation films and films produced in the first two years after graduation.
Launched in 2001, the prize supports the work of young women directors of photography, validating and encouraging women to continue along their chosen path in a field of work that is still very much dominated by men.
This year’s jury is made up of well-known directors of photography Ute Freund, who won the Director of Photography Award for You Told Me, You Love Me by Rudolf Thome in 2007 and the German Camera Award in 2016, and Beate Middeke, who taught artistic cinematography at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne from 2013 to 2019 and has received multiple awards for her films. The third member of the jury is Paola Calvo, who won the Women Directors of Photography Award in 2018 for her documentary Violently Happy.
From all the submissions, the jury selected the following two prizewinners:
The Director of Photography Award for a documentary film (worth € 2,500) goes to Doro Götz for her film Lost in Face (directed by Valentin Riedl).
The Director of Photography Award for a feature film (worth € 2,500) goes to Sabine Panossian for her film Off Season (directed by Henning Beckhoff).


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


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.

Beate Middeke

Beate Middeke studied at the Design Faculty of Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, graduating in 2000 with a diploma in image composition and documentary film directing. She has worked as a camerawoman, film-maker and producer for cinema and ZDF/3sat television, among others, since 1996. In 1999, she became a member of the association dokumentarisch arbeiten, Hamburg. Alongside her film work, Middeke teaches at various film schools and universities. Between 2013 and 2019, she taught artistic image composition for scenic and documentary films at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her films have been shown at many national festivals and she has received awards for Zuletzt befreit mich doch der Tod, Man denkt, man kennt das Land and Mrs. Wildenhahn, among others.

Paola Calvo

Born 1981 in Venezuela, Paola Calvo finished her bachelor’s degree in Media Studies at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In 2006, she began studying cinematography at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin (dffb). In 2012, as co-director with Steffen Köhn, she made A Tale of Two Islands, a two-channel video installation that was shown in the Forum Expanded section at the Berlinale. In 2014, Calvo won the Best Cinematography Award at the New Berlin Film Award 2014 for The Visitor (directed by Katarina Schröter). Calvo’s dffb graduation film was Violently Happy, featuring her as director and cinematographer and co-produced with radio broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg.

Films by Paola Calvo (Cinematography)
The Visitor
2014 | A Tale of Two Islands 2012 | Gleisdreieck 2012 | Tell Me When 2010 | Geliebte 2009 | 35.000 Hours 2009

Lost In Face

Doro Götz (DoP)


Carlotta cannot recognise faces. For her, human faces don’t inspire trust, they are grey places of fear and confusion. She […]

Off Season

Sabine Panossian (DoP)

Feature Film

Judith’s boyfriend Gregor treats her to a surprise holiday at a spa hotel in Sicily to give her a break […]