Amy Bench is a cinematographer and filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. She took a circuitous path to filmmaking, first working as an engineer for Eastman Kodak before pursuing an MFA in directing at UT (2010). She has been twice nominated for the Kodak Excellence in Cinematography Award and won grants from the Texas Filmmaker’s Production Fund, Women in Film- Dallas, and the Department of Education’s Jacob K. Davits Fellowship, and is currently a member of the Austin Contemporary’s multidisciplinary artist group The Crit Group. She was recently named a “DP on the Rise” by Paste Magazine.
After obtaining her MFA, Amy spent a few years in New York, working on a number of projects with Maysles Films, camera assisting on “30 Rock,” shooting for MTV’s high school reality series “MADE,” and studying photography with documentary photographer Amy Arbus.
Her first documentary film HOUSE OF ELEGANCE, about the transformative powers of a historic beauty salon in Austin’s diverse and ever-changing East Side, was featured on the Independent Lens online shorts festival, and was part of a Lonestar Emmy winning episode of the KLRU series “Docubloggers” in 2007.
Her film THE VILLE, about one of St Louis’s most racially charged yet historically significant neighborhoods, won a Juror’s Citation the Black Maria film festival, “Best Local Documentary” at the St. Louis International Film Festival, and numerous awards at other festivals. It was described as “lyrical” and considered a “totally captivating look at contemporary urban America” by the Missoula Independent.
Her first feature film as a Director of Photography, LOVES HER GUN, tackles the issue of guns in modern society, and won the Louis Black Spirit of Texas Award premiered at SXSW (2013). The film, though based on actual events, was largely improvised and relied on intuitive and sensitive camerawork and close collaboration with director and UT senior lecturer Geoff Marslett.
Her second feature, THE GOLDEN RUT, is premiering at the AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL (2016).
Amy is currently shooting documentaries, features, and music videos in Austin and New York.