2024 Volker Bahnemann Ceremony

2024 Volker Bahnemann Awards

Meet the finalists and recipients of the 14th annual Volker Bahnemann Award for Outstanding Cinematography: Undergrad students Alexandra Mettler, Jason Wang, and Ethan Wen, and grad students Ella Gibney, Chris Del Rio Solorzano, Marshall Cooper, and Theo Gray.

Jun. 12, 2024

New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television is proud to present the finalists and recipients of the 14th annual Volker Bahnemann Awards. This year's ceremony and celebration were held at ARRI Rental's facility in Long Island City, New York with Volker Bahnemann congratulating the winners. We interviewed the students, who expressed their gratitude for the recognition and shared their aspirations for the future.

Undergrad Alexandra Mettler shooting with the ARRIFLEX 416 Plus camera

Undergrad Alexandra Mettler shooting with the ARRIFLEX 416 Plus camera.

Alexandra Mettler

I am incredibly humbled to win this award, and so grateful to the ARRI family for their continued support and generosity. I could not be more thrilled to be recognized alongside my extremely talented peers, and it has been a pleasure to grow as cinematographers with them over the past four years. This award will allow me to continue my collaboration with ARRI Rental on future projects, and I cannot wait to keep learning from and working with everyone in the ARRI family.

After graduation, I will be spending some time between New York, London, and Los Angeles, working on various short films and music videos. I am currently in postproduction for an independent feature as well as a London-based short. I hope to continue to travel for productions and collaborate with my friends from the NYU community, and I am looking forward to working with ARRI Rental wherever I go.

Behind the scenes with undergrad student Jason Wang

Behind the scenes with undergrad student Jason Wang.

Jason Wang

I was telling my friend Ethan, who is an incredibly talented DP and won this year as well, that winning this award is a perfect way to wrap up my undergrad journey. As filmmakers, we didn’t get to experience the traditional college life. Our weekends were often spent on set and when not on set, we were prepping and taking in any new knowledge as much as we could. Sometimes when I’m biking back home after a 12-hour day on set over the weekend and seeing people going out and having fun in the lively city, I ask myself if I made the right decision and need to push myself this hard. Everybody needs a little pat on the back once in a while to remind them that their efforts mean something, and for it to come from the most respected camera company truly means the world to me. I’m really grateful that ARRI is providing this platform for young filmmakers and giving them recognition for work that otherwise might go unnoticed because of their age. It’skind of funny, even before I knew about ARRI, I was already being inspired by its influence. I remember randomly seeing this email freshman year called the Volker Bahnemann Award for Outstanding Cinematography. That year the winners were Stefan Nachmann and Alfonso Serrano. I can still recall just how in awe I was after watching their reels and making a promise to myself that I would try my best to get to where they are when I graduate. And that inspiration and drive would not have been planted in me if ARRI hadn’t provided this platform. I hope ARRI can continue to be in my career and inspire me as I strive to become a better filmmaker.

I’m finishing up my long thesis run next month by going to Hawaii and shooting my friend Lucas’ short film. I’m also in talks to shoot a couple of commercials after I get back. The goal is to find a solid ground in the commercial/music video world to get more recognition and support myself and at the same time, keep striving to become a better narrative cinematographer and continue to bring good stories to life.

Undergrad Ethan Wen lines up his shot.

Undergrad Ethan Wen lines up his shot.

Ethan Wen

I’m extremely honored to be a recipient of the award, along with my peers Jason and Lex. It feels like everything I’ve worked for over the past four years has paid off. I’ve been using ARRI gear for every project I’ve shot for the last two years, countless short films, music videos, and commercials, and it always leaves me wondering how the frame looks so good! Getting the recognition from ARRI is a dream come true. I want to take a minute to thank all of the directors and producers who put their trust in me, as well as all the camera and GE departments I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve also worked with ARRI Rental a few times now, and they’ve been the most supportive and generous rental house I’ve worked with. I hope to continue our collaboration in the future.

I’ll be staying in New York, focusing on a variety of short-form projects ranging from fashion films and music videos to narrative shorts. I have a decent number of short films in postproduction that I’m excited for the world to see, especially this coming-of-age film I shot with my friends in Argentina last November on the ALEXA Mini LF. I hope to continue to use ARRI as a platform also to network and meet more people in the industry.

Grad student Ella Gibney shoots a scene handheld

Grad student Ella Gibney shoots a scene handheld.

Ella Gibney

It is such an honor to be a finalist for the Volker Bahnemann Award among these other talented cinematographers! Since starting NYU, attending the Volker Bahnemanns has always been a highlight of my year and it has been a privilege to become a part of this legacy.

I have a few films lined up to shoot in the upcoming months, and I am enthusiastic to start collaborating with the directors to bring their visions to life. Telling stories that examine the world in unique and compelling ways, making sense of ourselves and the world around us, is what drives me as a cinematographer. I am looking forward to continuing to foster my existing relationships with directors, expanding my collaborations, and honing my craft. It has been so wonderful working with ARRI over the past several years and I can’t wait for many more to come.

Grad student Chris Del Rio Solorzano on the ALEXA Mini

Grad student Chris Del Rio Solorzano on the ALEXA Mini.

Chris Del Rio Solorzano

It's a joy and an honor to have been nominated for the ARRI Volker Bahnemann Award alongside three of my incredibly talented friends. Four years ago, when I started my graduate studies, I did not expect to be here calling myself a cinematographer. I have always been drawn to cameras and photography, but it was the encouragement of my peers and faculty to pursue cinematography that has led me here. To have that work be recognized by both the faculty at NYU and ARRI has given me more confidence to continue pursuing my passion, even though it can feel a little lonely being a Latina in the camera department at times. I hope that my success can one day inspire more young Latinas to pursue a career as a director of photography.

In just a couple of weeks I'll be flying out to Cairo to shoot a thesis film! It will be my first time flying out of the country for a shoot, as well as my first time in Egypt, so I am very excited. The writer/director, Nada Bedair, is a close friend of mine who wrote a beautiful script, and I can't wait to help her bring that story to life. Later this year I will be shooting another thesis film for another one of my best friends, Terrence Shu, so I'm expecting it to be a very busy and fulfilling summer and fall season.

Grad student Marshall Cooper sets up his shot

Grad student Marshall Cooper sets up his shot on set.

Marshall Cooper

I am honored to be on the list of incredible cinematographers who have been nominated for this award. Coming into NYU I looked up to cinematographers who were a part of this. Being at NYU with legendary cinematography professors was already a dream come true, but being a part of this award feels like a full circle moment.

For the next few months I’ll be in preproduction for my short film, “No Biggie,” which was selected for the 2023 Spike Lee Production Fund. After I shoot a few more thesis films, I hope to continue directing and DP’ing for films and commercials. I also hope to use the new ARRI cameras to capture them.

On set with Grad student Theo Gray.

On set with grad student Theo Gray.

Theo Gray

It was an honor to receive this award and to be nominated with my fellow classmates. I started my pursuit as a cinematographer four years ago when I first started at NYU. Throughout my time in the program, I've experienced that self-doubt comes with learning the craft and that the creative process is a constant ebb and flow, but it’s moments like these that I deeply value as it encourages me to continue and keep pushing my work as a cinematographer. The award also feels like a celebration and reminder of all the collaborations I've been so fortunate to be a part of over the years. I am grateful to have accepted the award from NYU and ARRI, who have both been fundamental in my development as a cinematographer. I look forward to building upon this relationship with ARRI and continuing to develop my work and creative voice.

I’m currently prepping a feature for this summer where I’ll serve as the cinematographer and will also be working on a couple of short-form narratives. I'm excited for the journey ahead and to keep being a part of films and experiences that push and inspire me.

Left to right: ARRI Director of Service, Camera and Lighting, Volker Bahnemann, ARRI Rental President of North America Andy Shipsides.

Left to right: ARRI Director of Service, Camera and Lighting Frank Mueller, Volker Bahnemann, ARRI Rental President of North America Andy Shipsides.

About the Volker Bahnemann Award:     

The Volker Bahnemann Award for Outstanding Cinematography was established in 2010 to honor Bahnemann’s 48 years at ARRI. It was conceived to inspire future generations of cinematographers and empower talented students to realize their artistic potential through production grants. Bahnemann served 32 years as CEO and President of ARRI Inc. and ARRI CSC, contributing to the development and refinement of many significant ARRI technologies, among them the ALEXA, ALEXA Mini, ARRIFLEX 35 III, ARRIFLEX 765, ARRIFLEX 435, and ARRIFLEX 235 cameras, as well as ARRI/Zeiss High Speed and Variable Prime lenses. Recipients are selected by the faculty based upon rigorous criteria and the leitmotif of Bahnemann’s legacy: excellence in cinematography.