Sexism and gear as a woman filmmaker in Peru

When I think back 4 years ago and how I started this unknown career at my 32 years old and with zero experience, I feel surprised by all the work I have done so far and it encourages me to even go further.

When I came back to Peru from Europe after having done some internship in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2017, I had a lot of illusions in my head in order to support empowering stories and enhance all the amazing people and the culture we have in Peru. Sadly these illusions bumped into some issues on the way as sexism was strongly rooted in my country. 

I joined a Peruvian filming company in Lima in those days, I wanted to learn more about cameras, drones and equipment in general but my colleagues there were not really into sharing experiences with me. All the people who filmed and touched the equipment there were men, the cameras they used were heavy and I had no clue how to become a documentary filmmaker in that environment. I could feel that they didn’t like me asking them questions at all. I was not sure if it was because I was a woman or because I was new but either way it shouldn’t have been that way. Later on, I found out a clearly sexism attitude from the director of the company blaming me for something I didn’t do and protecting one of ‘his camera man’. These and others situations that are not worthy to mention led me to quit.

I never felt like that in Europe. In fact, I remember one day I was supporting my colleagues in recording a small interview and I ended up being like the director of photography without noticing LOL. Of course it was really a small project but my colleagues were so nice to me all the time and they took my suggestions as important as any other people. I never felt excluded by them, but here in my own country I felt different.

Picture of that day in Belfast with my colleague Chris

Working in a Production company in Peru showed me that I had to play stronger if I wanted to survive in this industry here otherwise I would be kicked out. Women here are working more in the production area and not much involved with cameras or equipment. So I was wondering why was that for? Maybe they would actually be more involved in equipment but they were so shy about it? It was not until I was more involved in filming that I realized that one of the main troubles women used to have in the past was the heavy equipment and therefore more suitable for strong people which in majority were men. So realistically men had an advantage over women because of this and not only in Peru but in general in this industry in the world; and of course this was not their fault at all. I don’t blame men for this or hate them at all; in fact as an heterosexual person I feel attracted to them in other scenarios but it was interesting to see this from an outside point of view.

I was lucky that I never felt that frustration of heavy equipment though, because when I joined this industry it was just when the Sony Alpha cameras were released and therefore their small sizes made my life easy.

When I left that sexist production company in Lima after 3 months of being there, I didn’t know what else to do or where to go at that moment but happily life took me to the path I needed to go along these years. Cameras were more professional and smaller each time and the rest of the gear as well; like tripods, stabilizers, drones, batteries, audios, etc. So I was able to train myself with all this new equipment and never felt weak from carrying heavy things at all. Thanks to this I was able to work professionally and reached out to the biggest and most popular TV broadcasting around the world. 

However, this was not the only issue I faced building my career in Peru. The filming industry here is not as demanding as Europe or the United States so buying professional gear was always a headache for me. Many times I used friends to whom I will be infinitely grateful for bringing me different equipment from their countries because I couldn’t buy them in Peru. And until now sometimes I still keep doing that.

A few days ago, I was reached out by the international brand K & F Concept in order to test one of its tripods and I felt happy that finally companies are coming to Peru to offer professional equipment. In addition to paying attention to the needs of the users in a wider gender market. As a female filmmaker, I can only have references of other girls like me in Europe or the United States but never in my own country. So maybe my experience can help other girls to join this amazing career without fear.

I tested the tripod K & F Concept SA254M2 a few days ago and here is my review. As a documentary filmmaker I do mostly videos, however this tripod is more suitable for photography since the head doesn’t move. I see this as very convenient for travelers because it is small and light. One of the things that I really enjoyed was that I can take out one of the legs and use it on my crane so this way I can reach out lower or upper positions. I used the K & F Concept tripod together with my camera Sony a7s3 and my Sony lens G-master 24-70mm which has a decent weight all together and the tripod handled it well. If you want to know more about the tripod  K & F Concept SA254M2, you can buy it here

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I was born in a different generation before this new industry of small equipment arrived, because to be honest, physically men are usually stronger than women but this shouldn’t be a limitation for us to join in filming. Especially in my case with a 5 feet height and weak arms.

Sometimes, I still get a few clients that require me to use heavy cameras like Sony FS5 or FS7 to film and for that I need to hire a man for it. I can only guess that these clients don’t know how much technology has improved with small cameras that my Sony A7S3 can be better than any of those options in quality but I always respect my client’s point of view.  Of course there is still a lot of other heavy equipment needed for other types of projects for example in cinema and those are even heavy for men as well. So I hope equipment gets better for everybody by the time.

In the meantime, I am happy that companies like K & F Concept, Sony, DJI and many more are now betting on the production of smaller equipment that allows more girls to be part of the game! With this, I get more inspired day by day and I hope life gives me enough years to keep telling the world how amazing is my Peruvian culture, its people and the places here.

So girls, let’s never give up! Let’s go together in this!

If you want to know more about my work, check

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