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ACS South Australian Branch


May 2020

From the Pres
National Awards Presentation to be Live Streamed
Ladies up Front

Profile Ben Dowie

From the Pres

I'm sending our May Newsletter out early due to the Victorian Branch hosting a National Zoom Event called On the Apple Box -"Ladies up Front". It's on April 30 @ 7:30pm EST and you need to register for it. Please see all the details further down the newsletter and register asap.

Many thanks to Dave Gregan & Daniel Charlton for holding our  Streaming 101 Info Session on Thursday 16th April to help teach our members some of the tricks of live streaming. I hear it was well received with about 17 members attending.

Strange times indeed and as most of you know we have decided not to charge membership fees for our financial members for 20/21 due to so many of you being unable to work.  Of course if you are still working or have the capacity to pay then please contact our treasurer Mylene Ludgate sooner than later. We'd appreciate getting some $ it if you can afford it.

As the National Awards in Canberra had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 the ACS will be Live Streaming an Awards Presentation on May 16 at 6pm EST.  So keep an eye out for the National eNews to find out how you can see who won what!

In the meantime your committee is trying to organise some events for our members where we can practice physical distancing.

Please stay well and stay safe.

National Zoom Event
Hosted by the VictorianACS Branch


On The Apple Box - Ladies Up Front

The Victorian branch of the ACS is proud to be hosting a panel discussion with some of Australia's leading ladies of cinematography.

This event will be held as a Zoom Webinar, hosted by ACS Victoria committee member Cara Hurley and open to all financial ACS members from every branch. COVID-19 may have stopped us temporarily from holding in person events but we're quickly adapting and hoping all our members continue to see great value in their memberships through online events such as this.

We'll be taking questions from viewers during the event so check out who is on the panel, watch some of their work and get your queries ready.

Join us as we discuss all things cinematography, career paths and personal experiences with this diverse and talented group of cinematographers.

This event will run smoothest if you're using the Zoom application on a desktop or laptop with a stable internet connection.

If you have any questions you would like to ask also feel free to send them in beforehand to


Ladies Up Front - Registration Link
Send Us Your Questions

The Panel

Ari Wegner ACS
Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2006 Ari Wegner ACS has worked on dozens of commercials, short films, TV series and feature-length films, before landing the gig as cinematographer on Foxtel TV series THE KETTERING INCIDENT (2016) followed closely by landmark feature film LADY MACBETH.

Ari's recent projects include TV series, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG (2019) and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE (2017) and feature film STRAY (2018). She has also lensed commercials for ANZ, AFL, UWS and the NZ Fire Service.
Bonnie Elliott ACS

Bonnie is an award-winning cinematographer who works across drama, documentary and video art.

She started her career with a Masters in Cinematography at AFTRS and shot her first feature, MY TEHRAN FOR SALE (2009) in Iran the following year.

Bonnie’s work has screened at major international festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Tribeca, Rotterdam, Sydney & Melbourne.

Bonnie was accredited in 2016 and her recently completely projects include TV Series STATELESS (2020), ROMPER STOMPER (2018), THE HUNTING (2019), and feature films H IS FOR HAPPINESS (2019) and PALM BEACH (2019). 

Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith
Joanne’s reputation as a creative, innovative and resourceful Cinematographer is evident in her work. Her breakout as a cinematographer was on TVCs and Short Films. It was during this time that she took on the the ground breaking ABC comedy FRONTLINE shooting seasons 1,2,& 3.

This has led to a long collaboration with Working Dog Productions and subsequent series including the award winning series A RIVER SOMEWHERE (1997-98) & UTOPIA S1,2,3 & 4 (2014-19). Other credits include IT'S A DATE (2013-14) and FILTHY RICH AND HOMELESS S1 (2017).
Kathy Chambers ACS

Kathy is an award winning, Melbourne based Cinematographer. She began working in the Film Industry after completing her degree at the Swinburne Film and Television School. Since then she has worked on many local and international projects and became an accredited member of the ACS last year.

Her recent works include WENTWORTH (2017-2019), MS FISHER'S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES (2019) and MUSTANGS FC (2017).

Mandy Walker ACS ASC

Mandy Walker was born and raised in Bundoora, an outer suburb of Melbourne in 1963.

She became interested in photography while a student in high school, and after graduation she studied film criticism and cinema studies with John Flaus. She apprenticed as an assistant on several documentaries and music videos before shooting her first feature film, RETURN HOME (1990), at the age of twenty-five.

Mandy has many feature credits to her name including MULAN (2020), THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (2017), HIDDEN FIGURES (2016), TRACKS (2013), AUSTRALIA (2008) and LANTANA (2001).

Katie Milwright ACS

Katie Milwright ACS is an award-winning director of photography and was the 10th Australian female cinematographer to be accredited by the ACS. Her work spans across feature films, television, art and documentary. Katie has won nine ACS awards for her work.

Recent work includes the Foxtel TV series UPRIGHT (2019) starring Tim Minchin and ACS Gold Award winning feature film CELESTE (2018) directed by long time collaborator Ben Hackworth. Other feature films include THREE SUMMERS (2017), THE SPACE BETWEEN (2016) SUCKER (2015) and LOOKING FOR GRACE (2015) which screened ‘in competition’ at Venice Int. Film Festival and won a Gold ACS award.

Sky Davies
Sky began her career as a camera attachment and from there built a successful career as a camera assistant.

When she transitioned to cinematographer in 2015, her work soon garnered attention with numerous awards (including ACS Gold Tripod) and screenings at international festivals including Berlinale, MIFF & Oberhausen.  

Sky's work spans the diverse arenas of commercials, narrative, visual arts and documentary. She has enjoyed a spate of 2nd Unit DP roles recently including UNDERTOW (2019), BAD MOTHERS (2019) and STATELESS (2020) and has just completed filming on her 2nd  feature film SHIT (2020).


Profile Ben Dowie

Ben, can you give us a bit of your backstory and an insight into how your career has unfolded.
I had an interest in film and photography in my teenage years, and would use my parent’s mini DV video camera around home and on family holidays, and loved documenting whatever was happening, and editing short videos together. I never really thought I’d end up in the film industry, not that I didn’t want to, it just wasn’t something I had considered.

After finishing school, I took a gap year working at a fruit and veg store, and then decided I’d apply for a diploma in film and television at the AC Arts TAFE. At that stage, film was still just a hobby for me, and I didn’t know if it was really what I wanted to do, but thought I’d explore it anyway.

Upon completion of the course, I managed to land a full-time position at Kojo, (largely thanks to the big legend Russell Marrett). My role here varied, from collecting the mail and grocery shopping, to sorting out equipment and being on set as a runner/assistant. I loved my time here, and very thankful especially to Aaron Gully and Rusty Marrett who at the time were full-time cinematographers with Kojo, and were always very encouraging. I looked up to those legends a lot, and still do now. After 18 months at Kojo, and having the opportunity to gain a great insight into the industry, I felt it was time to move on, as I really wanted to have more involvement in actually shooting and editing.

So I started my own studio, Beanpole Productions, which was essentially just myself, but would hire other freelancers to work with as required. It was in doing this that I began to really discover my love for cinematography and filmmaking. I loved the whole process of capturing a collection of unique moments, in a way that naturally resonated with me, and then piecing these moments together in the edit. Initially I only had a very small number of clients (ie about 2 in the first year), and so I would shoot personal projects in between client work. Doing this enabled me to experiment, to discover my natural style and aesthetic, and to develop, refine, and evolve that style.

Living down south I was spoilt with beautiful locations, and Port Willunga beach featured in many of my early pieces, as did Old Willunga Hill, which I used to skate down holding a camera, filming the dudes skating beside me at 70kph. Turns out the cops didn’t love this, and we ended up on Ten News one night - not the side of the camera I was looking to be on. I think these personal projects were the most valuable and important works I did early on, and from them, I started to secure more client work, and became increasingly busier in the following years, working locally in South Australia, and around the world as director and cinematographer on various tourism, wine, fashion, automobile, and documentary projects.

Ben filming a personal project Between Earth and Sky in the French Alps

Ten years later, I still love working on personal projects, and think they are really important in continuing to expand yourself as a filmmaker, and to fulfil those urges inside you that the client work doesn’t always quite reach.
I think the digital world we live in has hugely contributed to the progress of my career so far, and enabled global connections that just wouldn’t have happened pre the world of online video content. I use Vimeo as a platform to upload a lot of my work, and once it’s there, literally anyone in the world can view it, so you just never know who might come across your work, and who it might resonate with. I’ve been very fortunate to receive some Vimeo Staff Picks, which essentially means your video ends up on the front page of Vimeo, and so naturally it is exposed to a huge number of viewers. Through this I’ve forged lasting relationships with international clients, and connected with like-minded filmmakers, including my now good friend Mathieu Le Lay, who is a documentary and commercial filmmaker living in the French Alps.

Ben shoots for LG in the Italian Dolomites

We’ve worked on personal projects together while hiking in the Alps, one of his feature wildlife documentaries in the Canadian Rockies, and commercial client work in Italy, Japan, and Portugal. I love working locally here in South Australia, and I think Adelaide is an amazing place to be based, but definitely love an adventure, and I don’t think there’s any reason not to be thinking and working globally in our industry, as I know many others here in Adelaide do.
Getting into the industry around 12 years ago, I have always embraced the ever advancing digital camera tech, and I think my eyes were literally opened when I bought my first camera, a Canon 7D. With a super 35mm sensor and $150 50mm f1.8 lens, I couldn’t get enough of it, and was amazed at the shallow depth of field, after previously shooting with small sensor cameras like the Sony Z1. Looking back at the work I shot with that 7D setup now, there’s not actually much that is sharp, haha, and the rolling shutter is terrible, but it was with that camera that I really started to develop my style, and to learn to (try to) make things look good, a lot of the time using minimal gear and natural light.

I think from using DSLRs, I learnt to work within limitations, and that the gear doesn’t really matter so much, it’s about what you’re shooting and how you’re capturing it. Obviously we all love to geek out on the latest fancy cameras and gear, and we’d probably all like to own an Alexa, but I think being able to shoot on anything and make it look good is a valuable skill to have. I shot something on an iPhone a few years ago which got a Silver ACS which was nice :) 
Something I’ve always enjoyed, is combining new digital cameras and vintage glass. My aesthetic is generally more in the analogue/organic spectrum, as opposed to pristine/digital, and so using weird old lenses is a really nice way to lend to more of an analogue feeling image. My current favourite is an old Hypergonar 16mm 2x anamorphic projection lens, which I’ve rehoused so that it has single focus. For anyone familiar with using projection lenses, it’s a bit of a hack, and they sit in front of a regular ’taking’ lens, such as a 50mm, ultimately transforming it into a 50mm anamorphic. If you don’t rehouse the anamorphic into a single focus solution, you have to dual focus on both the taking lens and the anamorphic, which is far from practical. I usually use the setup on my Sony FS5, and recently with an Alexa Mini to shoot a short film in England. The look from it is really quite beautiful, with a lot of vintage character, delicious flares, and pretty special looking bokeh. 

Thanks Ben and what’s next for you in the coming months?
I’m back in Adelaide after 3 months in the UK and Europe, where I worked for a winery in the north of Spain, a fashion brand in London, and an artisanal homewares brand in Portugal. I’ve now got some work lined up for the Adelaide Hills Wine Region and a new resort in Queensland, but beyond that, I’m not sure. As I’m sure everyone here knows, it's the nature of the industry, (I guess more so the commercial / branded content side), is that things often come up pretty last minute with not a lot of warning!

Going forward I hope that I can keep busy, and always want to be learning and progressing, and (hopefully) improving. Really enjoy the kind of work I’m currently doing, but I think I’d like to start exploring new avenues too, creating more meaningful and moving content, however that might look. Maybe more in the documentary and/or drama world.
Terrific and finally please tell us something not many people know about you.
I come from quite a large family and I’m one of nine children. Quite handy really, as there was always someone around to rope into a personal project if I needed some talent. Also my brother Oliver is a rather talented composer, again very handy when I need some original music!

From the Pres: Please note Ben's profile was written before COVID 19 so is slightly out of date. Can I add I've really enjoyed seeing Ben develop over the years from being a real junior at Kojo to being a regular Award winner at our State Awards and an International cinematographer. Well done Ben! He's such a humble and nice guy.

Ben frames up for French beauty brand Ushuaïa in Japan

ACS Facebook Group

A while ago we started a Facebook Group where all current financial ACS members can join. Members can post their work, connect across states, link to events, ask for advice, and put up equipment for sale etc. here. To join, simply follow the link below and request to join, and one of your local committee members will approve your request. Of course, if you're not a member please don't apply as rejection is not really in our DNA.

Upcoming Dates

May 4 Committee Meeting via Zoom
May 15 National AGM via Zoom
May 16 Live Stream presentation of the 2020 National Awards for Cinematography
June 1 Committee Meeting via Zoom
June 30 Membership fees not due! Free membership for 1year for financial members.
July 6 Committee Meeting 
August 1 to August 21 State Awards entry window
August 8 Freelancer Survival Workshop run by Monica Davidson - Cancelled!
August 10 SA AGM
September 1 to Sept 30 Accreditation Applications window
September 7 Committee Meeting
October 5 Committee Meeting
October 9 & 7 Accreditation Assessments @ ACS HQ
October 10 National 1/2 yearly meeting @ HQ

November 2 Committee Meeting
November 7??? 40th Annual SA & WA ACS Awards for Cinematography @ Adelaide Museum “Pacific Cultures Gallery”
December 7 Committee Meeting
December 14 Christmas Drinks - Venue TBC

May 7 National AGM in ACT
May 8 The prestigious 50th National ACS Awards for Cinematography in ACT plus Meet the Nominees on Saturday morning.

South Australia Major Sponsor
South Australian Film Corporation logo

South Australia Gold Sponsors
AADC logo        AMPCO Studios logo        Kojo logo        Pro AV Solutions logo

South Australia Silver Sponsors
Anifex logo        Digital Pigeon logo        Media Resource Centre logo        Picture Hire Australia logo

South Australia Bronze Sponsors
Best FX logo        Websters logo

National Major Sponsor
FUJIFILM Australia logo

National Platinum Sponsors
Atomos logo        Black Magic Design logo        Canon logo        LaCie logo        Panasonic logo
Panavision logo        Silver Track Digital logo        Sony logo

National Gold Sponsors
AFTRS logo        ARRI Australia logo        C R Kennedy & Company PTY LTD logo        Gear Head logo        Kaleidoscope Digital logo
Kayell Australia logo        Leitz Cine Wetzlar logo        Lemac logo        Showreel Finder logo        SUNSTUDIOS logo
The Post Lounge logo        VA Hire logo        Well Above logo

National ACS CineKids Sponsor
Videocraft logo

National Silver Sponsors
Miller Australia logo        Rosco logo        Rotor Head logo

National Bronze Sponsors
Blonde Robot logo        Camerahire logo        Dragon Image logo        EE Group logo        Kino Flo Lighting Systems logo
RED logo        Sura logo        Vimo Cine logo

National Supporters
AACTA logo        Black Bishop logo        MPIBS logo        NFSA logo        Stage & Screen logo
The Production Book logo

South Australian Branch
Australian Cinematographers Society
PO Box 212, KENT TOWN, SA 5071

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