Fiona Otway - Director of Photography
Fiona Otway has been making movies since 1997, working as a cinematographer, editor, producer, director, and media instructor.
Fiona first studied filmmaking at Hampshire College as a Harold F. Johnson Scholar and later as a University Fellow in the Film and Media Arts program at Temple University. From the beginning, her work has been influenced by exposure to cultural anthropology, critical social theory, and experimental/documentary filmmaking; over time, these ideas and approaches have deepened into an ongoing source of inspiration.
Early in her career, Fiona spent many years on staff and as an active member of the 911 Media Arts Center community in Seattle, where she designed and taught classes in video production and editing for youth and adults. While there, she helped launch an award-winning program that teaches filmmaking to teenaged girls, called Reel Grrls, and made strides to expand the impact of 911 Media's programming in low-income settings and in underserved communities of color. Building upon her work at 911 Media, Fiona later co-founded and implemented (along with Red Cross and Planned Parenthood) an international media literacy, video production, and HIV prevention project for teenage girls in the Caribbean, called Breaking the Silence. This led to further work with the International Training and Education Center on HIV, where she was the on-staff producer/editor, applying cutting-edge theory to create videos that have been integrated into national training programs on HIV/AIDS in Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India, Namibia, the Caribbean region, and other countries. For many years, Fiona has also been an instructor, shooter, and senior editor for Native Lens and Longhouse Media, working with tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to her community-based practice, Fiona is passionate about exploring the artistry of filmmaking. Her work as a documentary shooter and editor has been featured in top-tier film festivals and television broadcasts around the world. In the edit room, she has spent countless hours working intimately with footage shot by some of the industry's most talented and acclaimed directors and cinematographers, including the MacArthur Genius Award recipient James Longley and the DuPont prize-winning photojournalist-turned-filmmaker Danfung Dennis. Fiona's collaborations with Longley and Dennis have resulted in two Sundance Film Festival prizes for cinematography, the first-ever Sundance prize for documentary editing, a Sundance grand jury prize, and three Academy Award nominations, among numerous other awards. Her growing body of work as a shooter is only strengthened by these experiences. Wearing many hats, ultimately Fiona Otway thrives in crafting nuanced, emotionally resonant stories that examine the big social issues of our time.