Laela Kilbourn

director of photography


about & awards

Chosen by Indiewire as one of "8 More Female Cinematographers

You Should Know About", director of photography Laela Kilbourn

has accumulated documentary feature credits including SWIM

TEAM, for which she won Best Cinematography at the Wales

International Documentary Festival. She has filmed six Sundance

Film Festival hits: the Peabody Award winning HOW TO DANCE IN

OHIO; AMERICAN TEEN; the Emmy-nominated WORD WARS; and

her additional cinematography on HOT COFFEE, UNREST, and the

Oscar-winning 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. She also shot SYNC OR

SWIM, winner of the Billie Award for Journalism from the Women's

Sports Foundation; and History's eleven part docu-series

SANDHOGS. She has worked on projects for HBO, FX, NBC, AMC,

A&E, PBS, Nick Jr., NickMom, ESPN, History, MTV, VH1, WeTV,

Trio, TruTV, and TV One.

Her narrative work includes the award-winning JUNE WEDDINGS

as well as HIC! OPEN A DOOR IN THE USA, winner of the

BAMKids Film Festival Best Live Action Short Award and Prix

Jeunesse International Finalist, and she was additional camera

on the acclaimed FX series THE AMERICANS and on HBO's

DIVORCE. Her work in collaboration with contemporary visual

artists includes BLIND SIDE, an installation piece at the Whitney

Museum of American Art.

Laela is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild,

New York Women in Film & Television, and the National Academy

of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy Awards), and has served as a

juror for the Brooklyn International Film Festival, Documentary

Feature Awards, as a panelist on "The Female Perspective:

Women in Cinematography" at the Canon Creative Studio, and as

a guest speaker at The New School, Department in Media Studies

& Film, Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies. She

has a degree in social anthropology from Harvard University.

Swim Team                       Best Feature Cinematography, Wales International Documentary Festival 2017

                                          Nashville Public Television Human Spirit Award, Nashville Film Festival 2017

                                          Ethos Award, SIMA (Social Impact Media Awards) 2017

                                          Best Feature Documentary, AutFest 2017

                                          Best Feature Documentary, Picture This Film Festival 2017

                                          Audience Award Documentary Feature, Lighthouse International Film Festival 2017

                                          Best New Jersey Film, Montclair Film Festival 2017

                                          Best Sports Documentary, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2016

                                          Best New Jersey Film, Monmouth Film Festival 2016

                                          Audience Choice Feature Winner, Monmouth Film Festival 2016

The Buddy System           Best Short Documentary, AutFest 2017

Unrest                               Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize, Nashville Film Festival 2017

                                          U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Editing, Sundance Film Festival 2017

The Leprechaun's Wife     Audience Award, SF Shorts 2016

How to Dance in Ohio       Peabody Award, Documentary & Education, 2015

                                          Audience Award, Full Frame Documentary Festival 2015

                                          Junior Juror Prize, Montclair Film Festival 2015

20 Feet From Stardom     Oscar Award 2014 Best Documentary

                                         Grammy Award Winner, Best Music Film, 2015

                                         Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Awards 2014

                                         Best Edited Documentary, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2013

                                         Best Documentary, Black Film Critics Circle Award 2013

                                         Outstanding Documentary, Black Reel Awards 2014

                                         Best Documentary Feature, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award 2014

                                         Best Documentary, Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Association Awards 2013

                                         Best Documentary Feature, Houston Film Critics Society Awards 2013

                                         Best Documentary, Iowa Film Critics 2014

                                         Best Documentary, North Texas Film Critics Association 2013

                                         Best Documentary, Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2013

                                         Best Documentary Feature, Provincetown International Film Festival 2013

                                         Special Jury Prize, RiverRun International Film Festival 2013

                                         Audience Award, San Francisco International Film Festival 2013

                                         Golden Space Needle Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2013

Magic Camp                    Outstanding Achievement in Family Filmmaking Award, Newport Beach Film Festival 2012

                                         Merlin Award, Best Documentary, International Society of Magicians 2013

                                         Best Feature Documentary, Kidz Filmz, Garden State Film Festival 2013

                                         Tannen's Magic Mark Nathan Sicher Award 2013

                                         Winner, Coalition for Children's Quality Media 2013

My Brooklyn                    Audience Award, Brooklyn International Film Festival 2012

                                        Best Documentary & Best Director Winner, Red Hook Film Festival 2012

In Good Time:                 Manny Berlingo Best Feature Documentary Award, Garden State Film Festival 2012

The Piano Jazz of

Marian McPartland   

Hot Coffee                      Documentary Grand Jury Award, Gasparilla Film Festival 2011 

American Teen               Best Documentary, Sarasota Film Festival 2008

                                       Directing Award, Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2008

Sync or Swim                 Billie Award for Journalism, Women's Sports Foundation 2009

                                       Best Director, Feature Documentary, NY International Film Festival 2010

                                       Best US/International Feature, Kansas City Film Festival 2009

Word Wars                     Emmy Award Nomination, News & Documentary, Outstanding Cultural & Artistic Programming 2005

                                       Best Documentary, Sedona International Film Festival 2004

                                       Best Cultural Documentary, Mountain Film in Telluride 2004

                                       International Documentary Association Award Nomination 2004

                                       Audience Award, Full Frame Documentary Festival 2004

June Weddings              Directors' Special Recognition Award, SF Shorts Film Festival 2007

                                       Best Short Film Runner-Up, Baltimore Women's Film Festival 2008

Hic! Open-A-Door          Best Live-Action Short, BamKids Film Festival 2005

in the USA                      Prix Jeunesse International Finalist, 2005

Bar Talk                         Audience Award, Best Short, Fire Island Film & Video Festival 2003

                                      Audience Award, Best Lesbian Short, OutFar! Phoenix International Gay&Lesbian Film Festival 2003

                                      Best of Shorts Review, Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 2002

                                      Best of Mixte: The Pride Showcase, Paris, France 2002

                                      Outfest’s “Best of the Fest” Favorite Girls Shorts 2002

Vatican II:                      34th Annual Telly Awards 2013 Film/Video Silver Winner

Inside the Council