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The American Film Institute believes in the power of diverse voices to drive culture forward. As America’s leading filmmaker training program, the AFI Conservatory is committed to establishing equity in education, career advancement and visual storytelling.

The AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women (CIW) is a tuition-free, four-day workshop designed for aspiring cinematographers committed to their journey toward a professional career as cinematographers, who have some on-set experience working in the field and are looking for additional training to help them advance in their education, craft and career.

Hands-on master classes in the fundamentals of cinematography constitute the core of the program, along with exposure to professional tools and techniques, appreciating and analyzing specific work crafted by professional women cinematographers, plus discussions about the current environment of the film industry and what it means to navigate such environments as women, nonbinary and historically underrepresented cinematographers. The goal of the program is to provide participants with a toolkit to secure on-set experience in the field and first-hand industry insights demonstrating the path to professional career success.

The 2023 edition of CIW will be held on the AFI Campus in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 22 through Sunday, June 25.

Stephen Lighthill, Cinematography Discipline Head, AFI; President of American Society of Cinematographers (Photo by: Michael Pessah, ASC)

CIW is spearheaded by AFI Conservatory Cinematography Discipline Head Stephen Lighthill, ASC.
The AFI Conservatory Cinematography program has propelled women and non-binary cinematographers to great success, including Academy Award® nominee Rachel Morrison (BLACK PANTHER, MUDBOUND), the first woman ever nominated for an Oscar® for Best Cinematography, as well as Emmy® nominee Ava Berkofsky, ASC (INSECURE), Carolina Costa (HIGH SCHOOL, HALA), Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC (BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER), Paula Huidobro (Academy Award® Best Picture winner CODA), two-time Grammy® Award winner Melina Matsoukas (Beyoncé’s “Formation,” INSECURE, as director), Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC (THE WOMAN KING) and Mimi Leder (THE MORNING SHOW, as director), among others.

The Cinematography Intensive for Women is presented by Panavision.

Please contact with any questions about the program.

Applications have closed for the 2023 Cinematography Intensive for Women

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be available to attend all four days of the workshop— including evenings. No exceptions.
  • All participants must have housing nearby and must have transportation to and from campus.
  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (with Permanent Resident Card).
  • All participants are required to maintain up-to-date health insurance through the course of the program.
  • Must follow AFI Campus and Production COVID Compliance regulations in place at the time of the program

AFI follows a comprehensive review process whereby all applications are evaluated by a team of readers. Approximately 25 applicants will advance to the second round in which you will be reviewed by a diverse Selection Committee of working cinematographers, AFI Faculty and AFI Alumni. Up to 12 participants will ultimately be selected to participate.

Successful candidates will demonstrate a passion for filmmaking in general, strong dedication to the craft of cinematography in particular, and a demonstrated ability to lead and collaborate in the filmmaking environment. We are also looking for leadership potential in those candidates committed to learning and advancing inclusive culture, fostering diverse communities and ethical practices within their own artistic endeavors and our industry at large.

The AFI Conservatory is committed to training within a culture where self-reflection, honesty and accountability are practiced and to expanding opportunities for promising filmmakers whose voices might otherwise go unheard.

The submissions period for applications begins on Friday, April 7 and closes on Monday, April 24 11:59 p.m. PT. Applicants will be notified of status early June.

Please submit the following materials with your application. Any written materials should be submitted as a PDF.

  • Video Introduction – a filmed introduction of yourself and why you are interested in the CIW program (1-2min)
  • Bio — a brief overview of your educational and professional background (300-word limit).
  • Statement of Interest — a brief description of your interest in cinematography (450-word limit).
  • Résumé – a CV detailing your related work and education. Please include two references of people who know your work and can speak to your character.
  • Work Sample (Required) — this is your opportunity to show us your point of view as a visual storyteller. Submit either a completed project or a reel on which you are credited as the cinematographer.
  • Additional Work Sample (Not Required) – submit either an additional completed project or a reel on which you are credited as the cinematographer OR you may also submit a portfolio of your photography or fine art as a link.
  • $50 application fee, used to support our rigorous admission process. Fee waivers can be provided for those with financial hardships. Please contact to request a waiver.

AFI Innovative Programs uses SlideRoom to process applications.  If you do not have a SlideRoom account you will be prompted to create a one-time login. For technical issues related to account setup or the application contact SlideRoom customer service at

2023 CIW Participants

Click portraits to view participant bios













CIW 2022

CIW 2023 Photo Gallery