CinematograpHER workshop focuses on empowering women interested in film

A group of women filled the gaps between lights and tripods Friday evening in Studio B at Stephens College .

It wasn’t the set of a movie but rather a workshop focused on providing young women a space to learn and ask questions about cinematography. The workshop, cleverly titled: “CinematograpHER,” was led by Aly Migliori, a distinguished cinematographer and director based in New York. 

Migliori has experience working on both commercial and personal projects, large and small. Along with her accomplishments, Migliori is an ambassador for Easy Rig, a company that focuses on camera equipment that caters to the female body.


“It’s like casual sexism,” Migliori said of standard stabilizing vests. “It wasn’t engineered for a woman.”

Standard rigs left Migliori with bruising, and the vests’ sizing flaws prevented the device from working properly for her. 

The film industry is dominated by men, especially cinematographer positions.

In 2017, only 4 percent of the top 250 films employed women cinematographers, the lowest representation of women among behind-the-scenes film jobs. Women appeared most as producers in the top films of 2017 — 25 percent of them to be exact — according to a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

“I felt like it was made for me,” Emerson Van Roekel, a Stephens College student, said of the first female-designed camera rig. 

Students like Van Roekel were comforted by the female-centered gear and Migliori’s wisdom on how to navigate the film industry. 

“It gives me something to aspire to be,” Van Roekel said, “something I can see.”

Megan Liz Smith, an MU student, also felt inspired by the workshop. Smith has already noticed a male dominance in the film industry through her classes. 


Smith had heard plenty of horror stories about being a woman pursuing a career in film production. She said the workshop was refreshing. 

“The default doesn’t have to be male,” Smith said. 

Supervising editor is Brendan Crowley.

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