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Career Profile

Maya Bankovic

Maya Bankovic | Cinéaste
Maya Bankovic | Cinéaste
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway
School Subject

Maya Bankovic is a Cinematographer in Toronto, Ontario.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I grew up in Toronto, Ontario

I now live in: Toronto, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: I have an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, where I studied Film Production.

What I do at work

I shoot movies. That means I spend my days choosing which lights and texture of light will look best for a scene. I decide where to hide lights out of the shot while still getting the desired effects, and which lens focal lengths to use to get the photographic composition I'm after. All the while, I have to communicate a certain creative tone for the scene and move a story forward.

I didn't pursue science in high school because I thought that I was pursuing a career in the arts. But I use science every minute of the day and have had to learn a lot about physics on the job! This includes such things as understanding optics as well as understanding the technology in the devices we use in the film industry. For optics I had to learn such things as how or why a lens is flaring or distorting or giving me the angle that it is. I had to learn the science behind light and color so that I could make sure lights are placed in the best place to give the best effect. Physics in particular is essential to understanding how to achieve the cinematic techniques we use as visual storytellers.

My career path is

I started making surreal little films in a high school video class. I did this using 35mm darkroom photography, which my school also offered. I enjoyed getting lost in the process and realized how much it suited my personality. I like focusing on details and getting something right on a technical level. And I liked working with people, and film sets are a big circus!

I am motivated by

I thought I would become a photographer, but I realized that would be a pretty lonely life. I love working collaboratively and working alongside other very technically-minded people. We are doing everything we do with an artistic goal in mind. But our conversations in carrying out that creativity are all completed rooted in the "how". That's what I love about cinematography. The art is what drew me to the career, but the science is what makes me stay.

How I affect peoples’ lives

People love movies. Movies provide us with entertainment and education. It often feels like my job isn't that important - we don't really save lives in the way that other STEM professions do. However, art is important for us as humans because it mirrors back our experiences. As long as people want to keep watching them and I want to keep shooting them, it seems there will be a reason for cinematography to continue developing and expanding on the technology it uses.

Outside of work I

I make collages, do photography, listen to podcasts, read and hang out with family and friends. People in my industry "talk shop" a lot, so it is a challenge for some of us to learn how to relax!

My advice to others

Keep shooting with any camera you can get your hands on, play with lenses and light and find your own taste while you develop your eye!

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being free range to explore my ideas
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things

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