“While it’s a steep mountain to climb, [cinematographer Mia Cioffi Henry] would have it no other way. Splitting her time between NYC and Italy, she has a unique body of work that includes critically acclaimed films and nominations; she is a recipient of the Nestor Almendros Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, and her work has won Jury Awards at SXSW and Locarno film festivals. Cioffi is doing the work she loves, putting her creative energy out into the world, and she’s prepared for all of the demands that come with it. This includes being a mother and being a woman. “When I first started, it didn’t occur to me necessarily that women weren’t doing what I was doing, or that people of colour weren’t equally represented behind the camera,” she says. “It did start to sink in, however, when I started not getting jobs because I was a woman. People wouldn’t even meet with me, or I’d walk on set, and there was this automatic assumption that I was the talent, the makeup artist, or the caterer.” While Cioffi Henry admits that she didn’t set out to change anything or be a new version of anything—she was more interested in focusing on doing the work she is drawn to do—she discovered that how she was being treated was out of the norm for the business, and she didn’t like it. “At first, I was really comparing myself to lots of people—men, mostly—and thinking: Oh, nobody asked me to shoot that, so how do I position myself to be more like the men who were landing the jobs,” she says, “and then I realized ultimately that I’m not interested in telling the stories they were interested in telling. I allowed myself to grow into space where I actively sought out work that represented fresh voices and new perspectives.”  Today, a decade into the film business, Cioffi Henry finds that she’s working primarily with women directors now. That’s because she’s most interested in finding people with whom she can collaborate and share the same enthusiasm for collaborating with her. “Not to be too general about it or suggest that male whiteness is a complete monolith, but we’ve watched films and told stories through the lens of white men for too long: through this one pair of eyes,” she says. “I love that when I look at my work, no matter what the subject is, I see myself so fully in it. I see my perspective in a way that speaks to me as a woman and as a creator, and that’s amazing.”

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