Program Presented by Panavision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 21, 2023, Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced the participants for the 2023 edition of the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women (CIW) presented by Panavision. The four-day intensive, spearheaded by AFI Conservatory Cinematography Discipline Head Stephen Lighthill, ASC, will begin Thursday, June 22 on the AFI Campus in Los Angeles and continue through Sunday, June 25.

The CIW participants come from across the U.S. and span a wide range of ages, experience levels, backgrounds and perspectives, and represent an accomplished and diverse pool of applicants. Through the program, AFI champions these future leaders who are committed to learning and advancing inclusive culture, fostering diverse communities and ethical practices and whose unique voices will add dimension to the art of visual storytelling and to our industry at large.

The selected filmmakers for 2023 are: Shirley Chan, Emma Forthofer, Mars Garcia, Colbie Inez, Hayley Grant, Ariana Hoshino, Samar Kauss, Sydney Lawson, Candice Majors, Maria Raad, Victoria Sendra and Maddy Talias.

“We are thrilled to champion this cohort of talented and diverse filmmakers,” said AFI Conservatory Cinematography Discipline Head Stephen Lighthill, ASC. “This opportunity – to help the participants continue to develop their craft at this stage in their career and provide them with the tools necessary to excel as a visual storyteller – is a wonderful honor for us all.”

The 2023 CIW Selection Committee members are: Consuelo Althouse (AFI Class of 2012, LAND OF THE FREE), Emmy® nominee Ava Berkofsky, ASC (AFI Class of 2013, INSECURE), Amy Ellenberger (Director, AFI Admissions), Stephen Lighthill, ASC (GIMME SHELTER, BERKELEY IN THE SIXTIES), Valentina Martinico (AFI Class of 2014, TIGHT, ALLEN V. FARROW) and Rosita Lama Muvdi (AFI Class of 2016, HARCLAW, TABULA RASA).

Designed for aspiring 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 hands-on master classes in the fundamentals of cinematography constitute the core of the program, along with discussions about the current environment in the entertainment industry and what it means to navigate this landscape as women, nonbinary and historically underrepresented cinematographers. CIW classes will be taught by industry leaders and AFI Conservatory Faculty and Alumni including Natasha Braier, ASC, ADF (SHE SAID); Autumn Durald Arkapaw (AFI Class of 2009, LOKI, BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER); Hana Kitasei (AFI Class of 2015, DAUGHTER); AFI Conservatory Cinematography Discipline Head Stephen Lighthill, ASC; Valentina Martinico (AFI Class of 2014, TIGHT, ALLEN V. FARROW); Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC (THE WOMAN KING); Sandra Valde-Hansen, ASC (AFI Class of 2006, PLAN B, THE L WORD: GENERATION Q); and Dan Sasaki, Senior Vice President of Optical Engineering and Lens Strategy, Panavision.

The Cinematography Intensive for Women is presented by Panavision.

“We’re so excited to return as the presenting sponsor for the Cinematography Intensive for Women,” said Panavision President and CEO Kim Snyder. “Panavision and AFI are committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming industry through initiatives that champion equity and diversity. The CIW participants represent a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and they’re united in their passion and incredible talent for crafting moving images. We’re thrilled to support and celebrate these cinematographers as they continue to advance in their careers.”

CIW is one of the American Film Institute’s pioneering, tuition-free efforts to empower diverse filmmakers within the AFI Conservatory’s Department of Innovative Programs, which also includes the landmark AFI DWW+ program. Through a range of learning opportunities, Innovative Programs serves a diverse community of aspiring visual storytellers to cultivate cutting-edge technological, digital and media-making skills; bridge access to professional networks; and place participants on an upward career trajectory. Learn more about CIW and the AFI Conservatory MFA program at


About the 2023 CIW Participants

Shirley Chan

Shirley Chan is a queer, Taiwanese-American cinematographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her journalistic background informs her approach towards documentary, branded content, narrative and experimental art films. Her work often explores themes of food, identity, queerness and intergenerational relationships, from a radical call for self-love in BE NOT AFRAID OF LOVE to the sci-fi world of clandestine human-android love in ROBOSEXUAL.

Emma Forthofer

Emma Forthofer is an award-winning cinematographer based in Los Angeles and working worldwide. Graduating with a film and television production degree concentrating in cinematography from Loyola Marymount University, Forthofer is trained in shooting music videos, commercials, documentaries and fiction films; freelances as a cinematographer; and as a videographer, documents the work of preservationists for the National Park Service.

Mars Garcia 

Mars Garcia is a Mexican-born cinematographer with a photojournalistic and fine art still photography background. She has exhibited work at The Queens Museum of New York and galleries throughout NYC. Garcia is also a proud member of the electric department of IATSE Local 52. She lives in the Bronx and loves gardening with her toddler.

Colbie Inez

Colbie Inez is a self-taught cinematographer who discovered their passion for cinematography in 2016 when using one light to create a captivating video during a difficult break-up. Having a background in journalism taught them a lot about storytelling. Since then, they have worked with major brands such as Target, Nike and Pepsi, and on the award-winning film TILL, as a BTS videographer.

Hayley Grant

Hayley Grant is an American/Australian rising cinematographer born in London. She has lived in five countries: Ukraine, Romania, Turkey, the United States and England. She has worked in the UK film industry as cinematographer on short form productions, and as a lighting technician in the world of high-end TV and film.

Ariana Hoshino

Ariana Hoshino is a Japanese-Romanian cinematographer, DIT and colorist based in Los Angeles. She primarily works on commercials and documentaries as a DIT, shooting short narratives and music videos on the side. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 2020 with degrees in film and computer science and has a background in post-production and VFX. Currently, her focus is centered around feminist, POC and queer narratives shot on 16mm or 35mm film.

Samar Kauss 

Samar Kauss was born and grew up in Brazil. She started out as an editor, working for over 10 years as a TV and commercial editor in São Paulo, and then moved to Australia where she worked on documentary projects and traveled extensively. In 2014, Kauss moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the camera department. She has recently served as cinematographer and camera operator on two short films and is in prep for a third.

Sydney Lawson

Sydney Lawson is a member of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers and an alumnus of The Ohio State University where she studied film. She was the cinematographer on the mini-series FRESH HELL and has shot countless short films, commercials and music videos over the past six years. She also has experience shooting on 16mm film and loves all forms of photography. As a queer woman, she particularly loves working on queer stories in the motion picture world.

Candice Majors

Candice Majors is a Chicago-based cinematographer with over 14 years of experience behind the camera. She works in multiple genres (promos, narrative, music videos, documentary and social media content) and adapts her style to whatever the source material calls for. Her work has screened in cities throughout the U.S., Canada, UK, India and the Netherlands. When she’s not on set, you can find her writing, drawing or exploring new places.

Maria Raad 

Maria Raad is a cinematographer from Beirut, Lebanon. Recently, she received a BFA in Film from Syracuse University. In 2021, when university classes moved online, Raad took a gap year to start a commercial video production company in Austin, TX, shot several commercials and short films, and worked as a1st AC on an unscripted Netflix series. Last spring, Raad had the opportunity to shoot a short film on 35mm in Prague, CZ, and she is currently working as a 2nd AC on an indie feature.

Victoria Sendra

Victoria Sendra is a NYC-based cinematographer and camera operator, best known for her onstage work in “Network” on Broadway. She is currently a producer, cinematographer and editor with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and worked previously as a bilingual producer at the Latin American production company Red Creek for clients including Pepsi, Discovery and Netflix. Sendra holds a BFA in Film/Video (2012) from the California Institute of the Arts.

Maddy Talias

Maddy Talias (they/she) is a 33-year-old Brooklyn-based cinematographer. They spent the early part of their life traveling the world on the international ski racing circuit. Their background as an athlete has inspired a love of movement in their work and knack for staying calm in high pressure situations. Talias’ work spans across commercials, music videos, documentaries and narrative films. Talias is also a part of the 2022-2023 ASC Vision Mentorship Program.


About the American Film Institute (AFI)

The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States. In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. The Conservatory, which counts Deniese Davis, Affonso Gonçalves, Susannah Grant, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas and Rachel Morrison as Alumni, is ranked the #1 film school in America. AFI’s enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations. AFI exhibition programs include AFI FEST and year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. AFI Movie Club is a destination for movie lovers from around the world to celebrate and engage with the art form every day. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including AFI DWW+ and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. Read about all of these programs and more at and follow us on social media at,, and


About the AFI Conservatory

The AFI Conservatory opened its doors in 1969 to an inaugural class that included Terrence Malick, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. Today, the Conservatory offers a two-year MFA degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. In a collaborative production environment, AFI Fellows learn to master the art of storytelling, collectively creating up to 175 films a year. Fellows actively participate in the entire life cycle of a film, from development through production and exhibition.


Alumni of this elite program, ranging from modern masters to bold new voices defining the state of the art form include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Deniese Davis, Sam Esmail, Brad Falchuk, Affonso Gonçalves, Susannah Grant, Liz Hannah, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Melina Matsoukas, Polly Morgan, Rachel Morrison and Wally Pfister, among others.


About Panavision

Panavision is the world-class provider of end-to-end solutions that power the creative vision of filmmakers. Panavision’s comprehensive offerings include unparalleled optics, proprietary camera and lighting systems, and state-of-the-art post-production services. Driven by a passion for collaborative innovation, Panavision provides filmmakers and creators with the highest standard of quality and service. Panavision’s portfolio includes the renowned brands Light Iron, Panalux, LEE Filters, Direct Digital, and Island Studios. For more information and locations worldwide, visit



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