Happy #FemaleFilmmakerFriday everyone!
Before we dive into today’s interview, I have a quick announcement.
A New Publishing Schedule
You may have noticed that this week new posts have been published only on Monday, Wednesday and today – Friday. This alternate day schedule feels a lot more manageable than posting every day: every new interview or profile takes about two hours to format, edit and publish… and this doesn’t take into account the daily correspondence I have with inspiring women in film that I want to include in new posts. 90% of my email inbox these days is filled up with correspondence about the project. It is turning into a part time – albeit unpaid – job! No complaints here, it brings me so much joy to put the spotlight on inspiring women in film. I just need to dial down the schedule to something more manageable. So, Mondays – Wednesdays – and Fridays feels a lot better… while on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekends I can devote myself to emails, establishing contact with women I’d like to interview and following-up with them. I ultimately want this side project to feel joyous and not a chore. And this feels like a better fit.
And now, without further ado, let’s discover who the woman of the day is.
Meet award-winning Italian cinematographer Valentina Caniglia.
I’ve had the immense pleasure of getting to know Valentina in real life and I’m constantly inspired by her talent, moxie and indomitable spirit. Her career has been on an upward trajectory: Valentina was recently selected by the ASC Vision Committee (that’s the American Society of Cinematographers) for its prestigious ASC Vision Mentorship program. Recent work include The Barrymore Project starring Jodie Foster; 3 Days Rising starring Mickey Rourke and Ice-T; the Netflix original series Gypsy starring Naomi Watts and the Planned Parenthood campaign UNSTOPPABLE.
Valentina also has a connection to a director featured here last week. Remember Jen McGowan‘s film Kelly & Cal, starring Juliette Lewis? Valentina worked on it as a camera operator.
Fully fluent in English, Italian and Spanish, Valentina Caniglia holds Italian and American citizenship and has been working in international productions since the start of her career.
Before we begin the Q&A, I invite you to watch Valentina Caniglia’s cinematographer reel:
17/100: cinematographer Valentina Caniglia
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about the projects/work you’re most proud of?
My name is Valentina Caniglia and I am an award winning cinematographer.
Some highlights from my film work, that I’m really proud of:
At the beginning of my career I filmed a Palestinian narrative feature film: Pomegranates and Myrrh. It had its US premiere at Sundance, it won the audience award at Tribeca Doha Film Festival and the Golden Dagger award for Best Cinematography at the Muscat Film Festival.
More recently, I was very proud of working as cinematographer on short narratives like Madeline’s Oil, The Stand, Fire in Water (for which I won best cinematography at the Los Angeles Film Awards and Female Rock Festival), R4CH43L, and Without Grace with Ann Dowd.
Because of the pandemic this year, the feature film Tape (with Isabelle Furhman) on which I worked as cinematographer didn’t have a theatrical run, like it was supposed to, but it had a virtual release instead.
What inspired you to become a cinematographer?
I was inspired mostly by art – like paintings, comics books and stories of books. Every time I read a book I loved, I would close my eyes and picture in my mind the scenarios of the book’s description… to create the lighting, frame, and camera movement in my mind.
When I was a child I had a Kodak camera that I bought with my savings and later a Nikon camera, which I used to express my feelings.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would always say to take risks and be ready to face all situations, therefore be ready to capture the stories with all levels, with different layers and dimensions. Also to embrace the freedom to be able to film both ultra low budgets film and bigger budgets.
What are your favorite films by women directors that you’ve watched recently?
Love and Anarchy by Lina Wertmuller, The Piano by Jane Campion, Vagabond by Agnes Varda and Honey by Valeria Golino.
What can we do to watch / support your work?
If you want to dig deeper into Valentina Caniglia’s career, she was featured in a 30 minute episode by ZEISS (only the most prestigious lens maker in the world!), as part of their series Full Exposure:
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Did you miss a post?
So far #100DaysofWomeninFilm has featured:
- 1/100: film director Elvira Notari (Italy’s first female director)
- 2/100: American cinematographer Kira Kelly (13th, Queen Sugar, Self Made)
- 3/100: film editor Margaret Booth (the first person in the history of cinema to be named “film editor”)
- 4/100: filmmaker Madeline Anderson (the first African American female documentarian)
- 5/100: film critic Iris Brey (author of the book The Female Gaze)
- 6/100: trailblazing director Ida Lupino (the first American female filmmaker to direct a film noir)
- 7/100: film director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, The Invitation, Destroyer)
- 8/100: documentary filmmaker Veena Rao
- 9/100: cinematographer Sarah Thomas Moffat
- 10/100: film director, writer & producer Leila Djansi
- 11/100: production designer Monique Dias
- 12/100: sound designer Cindy Takehara
- 13/100: colorist Anastasia Shepherd
- 14/100: director Jen McGowan
- 15/100: experimental filmmaker Maya Deren
- 16/100: producer / director DeMane Davis