Maya Bankovic, csc is an award-winning Director of Photography working in narrative fiction and commercial cinematography. Her roots in high concept experimental cinema extend to these formats and find their way into the types of projects she takes on, many of which strive to play with story structure and visual technique in innovative ways.
Maya's recent feature film credits include the upcoming film ORDINARY ANGELS from director Jon Gunn and starring Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson, AKILLA'S ESCAPE from director Charles Officer starring Saul Williams (2021 Canadian Screen Award for Achievement in Cinematography), and I WAS LORENA BOBBITT from director Danishka Esterhazy (Canadian Society of Cinematographers Award Nominee '21, Canadian Screen Award for Dramatic Cinematography Nominee '22).
Most recent television work includes the upcoming final season of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, the season one finale of CROSS, and season one of Taylor Sheridan's MAYOR OF KINGSTOWN.
In the documentary sphere, Maya's most recent work can be seen in Chelsea McMullan's CRYSTAL PITE: ANGELS' ATLAS, nominated for Best Cinematography at both the 2023 Canadian Society of Cinematographers awards and the Canadian Screen Awards, and which won the audience award at VIFF in 2022. Past projects include Brett Story's THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES (Criterion Channel, Hot Docs award winner, NYT Critic's Pick), Astra Taylor's WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? (TIFF, Sheffield), and the Netflix music series THIS IS POP (including an episode profiling her childhood heroes Boyz II Men). She was twice recognized by the Canadian Academy for Best Photography in a Documentary Series for her work on IN THE MAKING, which celebrates contemporary artists doing political, boundary-pushing work.
Maya's love of intentional and concise visual storytelling has also allowed her to rise steadfastly as one of Toronto's busiest commercial cinematographers, and her lifelong passion for art has translated to frequent collaborations on music videos and video art films.
Cinematography has taken Maya all over the world and her work has screened at hundreds of film festivals including New Directors/New Films, Sundance, Ji.hlava, IDFA, True/False, Beijing International, TIFF, VIFF, and BFI Flare. Her images have been called “carefully composed and often dreamily stylized” by Variety, and it is within this intersection of the technical and the impressionistic that her photographic voice has found its place.
Maya is a Director of Photography with the International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 667 , the ICFC, and is a full member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers.
She is based in Toronto, Canada and holds an O1 work permit for the United States.
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"The film boasts a unifying visual schematic captured by Maya Bankovic’s poetic cinematography."
- Michael Rechtshaffen reviews AKILLA'S ESCAPE, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Maya Bankovic’s sharply stylized cinematography is a consistent asset, painting in reds across the spectrum from neon to dried blood, and often confining characters in tight cells of shadow."
- Guy Lodge reviews AKILLA'S ESCAPE, VARIETY
"The genre film also boasts Officer’s magic realist touches, hypnotic cinematography from Maya Bankovic and supporting performances from rapper Vic Mensa and Bob Marley’s granddaughter Donisha Rita Claire Prendergast.
- Radheyan Simonpillai reviews AKILLA'S ESCAPE, NOW MAGAZINE
"Maya Bankovic csc on AKILLA'S ESCAPE"
"A slick and mesmerizing tale of crime, responsibility and what happens when the sins of one generation get passed down to another, director Charles Officer’s new thriller is an outstanding work...told from an unfamiliar perspective, and with intense beauty."
- Barry Hertz reviews AKILLA'S ESCAPE , THE GLOBE & MAIL
"A moody nighttime aesthetic by cinematographer Maya Bankovic offers the backdrop for these yearning, emotionally naked performances in a tale that grows more melancholy by the minute."
- Katie Walsh reviews WEXFORD PLAZA, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Neither lecture nor argument, 'Prison', artfully photographed by Maya Bankovic, attempts to make the invisible visible."
- Jeannette Catsoulis reviews THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES, NEW YORK TIMES
"THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES has a consistent formal beauty that sets it apart… Story and her d.p., Maya Bankovic, make concise statements through carefully composed and often dreamily stylized images."
- Scott Tobias, VARIETY
"…it’s an artfully made work, lyrically filmed by Maya Bankovic and scored (Olivier Alary), with Simon Gervais’ ambient sound design as crucial an element as Avril Jacobson’s elegant editing."
- Sheri Linden, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
"In patient, observant vignettes, the scenes serene in their composition and stately in their pacing, director Brett Story and cinematographer Maya Bankovic glance against the edges of one of America's great shames: mass incarceration."
- Alan Scherstuhl, THE VILLAGE VOICE
"In her documentary, [Story] and director of photography Maya Bankovic fuse lush, lyrical imagery and a meditative pace to create a haunting examination of the prison system’s imprint on free society that is slow-moving but never idle."
- Lydia Ogwang, CLÉO JOURNAL
"There’s a cumulative power, a headlong rush, in watching one vignette segue into another..."
- Tim Grierson, The 30 Best Documentaries of the 2010s, PASTE MAGAZINE
"Shot with elegance and precision by cinematographer Maya Bankovic, GOD STRAIGHTENS LEGS is a film of profound intimacy, generosity, and reverence for small moments of grace."
- Dan Schindel, VERTICAL FEATURES
"The Next Generation of Canadian Cinematographers"
- Chandler Levack, TIFF
"‘12 Essential Women Cinematographers’ Gathers Some of Film’s Most Brilliant Minds "
- Kate Erbland, INDIEWIRE
"The Cinematography of BELOW HER MOUTH"
"How the Women Behind BELOW HER MOUTH Made Intimacy Tangible"
- April Mullen, MOVIEMAKER
"Maya Bankovic chases gold in THE RAINBOW KID"
- featured interview by Fanen Chiahemen, February 2016 CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER MAGAZINE, Interview
"Maya Bankovic revisits MY PRAIRIE HOME"
- featured interview by Fanen Chiahemen, April 2014 CANADIAN CINEMATOGRAPHER MAGAZINE, Interview
"Beautifully shot, this documentary-meets-musical-meets-road-movie is a sad, hopeful, gorgeous work of poetry"
- Marsha Lederman reviews MY PRAIRIE HOME, THE GLOBE & MAIL
"... A perfect visual counterpart to Spoon's music - filled with placid, contemplative stretches interrupted by sudden, striking explosions of color and drama"
- Andrew Barker, VARIETY
"Captivates the eye and ear"
- Stephen Farber, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
"Like its subject matter, Sundance Film Festival favorite MY PRAIRIE HOME defies lables. It is beautiful and deeply personal cinematic poetry."
- Charles Purdy, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"...a fantastically original blend of musical sequences, on-the-road footage, first-person interview and stunning cinematography"
- Carla Gillis, NOW MAGAZINE cover story September 2013
INTERVIEWS & TALKS
"CSC Magazine Member Spotlight'"
"WOMEN ON SCREEN Episode 2: 'Roll On'"
- Podcast essay and interview, WOMEN ON SCREEN
"WOMEN BEHIND CANADIAN TV: MAYA BANKOVIC"
- Interview by Bridget Liszewski, TV JUNKIES
"5×5 With The Hook: Maya Bankovic."
- Interview, THE HOOK
"CSC INSIGHT SERIES: MAYA BANKOVIC, CSC"
"Q&A Sessions: MAYA BANKOVIC, CSC"
"CSC LIVE: Maya Bankovic, CSC & Matthew J. Lloyd, ASC, CSC and director Chelsea McMullan"
"Close Up: Discussion with James Laxton, ASC with Maya Bankovic for TIFF Next Wave Young Creators Lab"
HONOURS & AWARDS
2023 NOMINEE, Best Cinematography, Documentary for ANGELS' ATLAS, Canadian Screen Awards
2023 NOMINEE, Robert Brooks Award for Long Format Documentary Cinematography for ANGELS' ATLAS, Canadian Society of Cinematographers
2022 NOMINEE, Best Cinematography in a Non-Theatrical Feature Film for I WAS LORENA BOBBITT, Canadian Society of Cinematographers
2022 NOMINEE, Best Photography in a Drama for I WAS LORENA BOBBITT, Canadian Screen Awards
2021 WINNER, Achievement in Cinematography for AKILLA'S ESCAPE, Canadian Screen Awards
2020 WINNER, Best Photography in a Documentary Series for IN THE MAKING: Rebecca Belmore
2018, 2019 and 2020 NOMINEE, Best Photography in a Drama for WORKIN' MOMS, Canadian Screen Awards
2019 NOMINEE, Best Photography in a Documentary Series for IN THE MAKING: Crystal Pite
2014 NOMINEE: World Cinema Documentary Cinematography for MY PRAIRIE HOME, Sundance Film Festival
2010 WINNER: Best Cinematography in a Short Film for SLIP, Worldwide Short Film Festival
2010 Berlinale Talents participant
2009 WINNER: Best Mobile Film for POTHOLES, Mobifest
American Express, Nike, Trojan, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, AAA, Pfizer, Apple, Indeed, Blue Bunny, Bubly, Miller Lite, Harvey's, McDonald's, Canada Goose, Tide, IHOP, Best Buy, Scotiabank, Go Forward, Nintendo, Mercedes, more.