Canon Adds Six Visionary Filmmakers to Explorers of Light Program to Inspire the Next Generation of Video Professionals

MELVILLE, N.Y., May 2, 2024 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced six filmmakers will join its celebrated Explorers of Light program, welcoming a new class of storytellers focused on the craft of cinematography.

For nearly three decades, the Explorers of Light program has brought together a roster of distinguished photographers to inspire, teach, and collaborate with visual artists and content creators of all skill levels. Explorers of Light past and present include multi-hyphenate creative professionals such as Academy Award®-winner Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, Meru) and Emmy® -winner Lauren Greenfield (Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles). With today’s addition of six new members dedicated to the art of motion, the program officially expands its scope beyond still photography to foster creativity among the global filmmaking community.

Canon’s newest Explorers of Light include cinematographers Christine Ng, Claudia Raschke, David Klein, ASC, and Shana Hagan, ASC, as well as directors Matthew Heineman and Rudy Valdez.

Brian Mahar, senior vice president and general manager, Canon U.S.A., Inc., said, “For 30 years, the Explorers of Light program has been a platform for education and inspiration. Today, we are proud to widen the aperture on the craft of visual storytelling by welcoming a group of filmmakers known for their boundary-breaking cinematography and commitment to mentorship. Each of our newest members will add incredible value to the program and to the filmmaking community at large.”

The new class of award-winning Explorers of Light will join the 35 current members of the program to share their unique perspectives and decades of industry experience with aspiring creatives.

Meet Canon’s Newest Explorers of Light (EOLs):

Christine Ng, Cinematographer (Poker Face, ZIWE, Between the World and Me)

About Christine: Christine Ng is a Hong Kong-born, New York-raised cinematographer and a graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her cinematography work spans commercials, music videos, documentaries and narrative. The first commercial she shot was filmed on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon lenses and aired during Super Bowl XLVI. The first feature-length documentary Christine shot was the Emmy®-nominated and Critic’s Choice Award-winning Everything is Copy for HBO.

Named a Rising Star of Cinematography by American Cinematographer in 2022, Christine’s work has screened at festivals worldwide including SXSW®, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Outfest®, LA Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, New York Film Festival, IFFBoston and many more. In addition, she shot the film adaptation for Ta-Nehisi Coates’s critically acclaimed Between The World and Me. She shot three episodes of Issa Rae’s latest show, Rap Sh!t and two seasons of Ziwe, a variety show produced by A24 for Showtime. Most recently, she shot four episodes of Rian Johnson’s TV series, Poker Face starring Natasha Lyonne for Peacock.

  • Top Gear Picks: RF50mm F1.2 L USM, RF100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM, RF28-70mm F2 L USM, RF70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z, vintage Canon K-35 Primes, the Canon 50mm f/0.95mm “Dream Lens,” and a 3D printed Totoro figurine.
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “Stay humble and true to yourself, always say yes to every opportunity when you’re starting out. You never know who you will meet and how that initial meeting will influence your career later.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “It is such a prestigious honor to be included in the Explorers of Light program. I’ve always shot with Canon since I first discovered photography, so it is incredibly humbling to be recognized by the Canon team.”

Claudia Raschke, Cinematographer (Julia, My Name is Pauli Murray, RBG)

About Claudia: Claudia Raschke is a world-renowned cinematographer, best known for her ability to bring rich tones of the motion picture to a diverse spectrum in films, from purely commercial ventures, through feature-length documentaries, to lower budget works of art. Among her notable award-winning films are: Academy Award® -nominated and Emmy® -winning RBG, God is the Bigger Elvis; Academy Award® -short-listed Mad Hot Ballroom, Julia, Boys State; Peabody Award-winning Black Magic and My Name is Pauli Murray; Critics Choice Award-nominated Fauci and The House of Hammer, as well as documentary series’ for National Geographic®, Discovery, Showtime®, and CNN. Currently, Claudia is in production of an eight-part documentary series for the History Channel® to be released in 2025.

She is also a founding member of the NYC Kamera Kollektiv, a boutique agency for documentary and feature film cinematographers in New York City and a member of AMPAS.

  • Top Gear Picks: Canon Cinema EOS C500 Mark II, Cinema EOS C300 Mark III, CN-E 35mm T1.5 L F, CN-E 50mm T1.3 L F, CN-E 135mm T2.2 LF, CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95-3.9, COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm T4.4 EF, a spot meter and a small sketchbook.
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “Experiment as much as you can with the tech tools you have access to and create a playground to challenge yourself to think outside your limits. Be fierce and fearless.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “It is a distinct privilege and honor to join the ranks of the Explorers of Light program. Canon cameras and optics have been my top creative tools for documentary filmmaking for many years. I consider it a great opportunity to learn from other EOL artists and to share my process as a cinematographer with the Explorers of Light community.”

David Klein, ASC, Cinematographer (The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Homeland)

About David: Cinematographer David Klein, ASC has spent over three decades perfecting his craft and captivating audiences with his visual storytelling.

His remarkable career includes lensing iconic indie film classics such as Clerks, Clerks II, Mallrats, Cop Out, Red State and Chasing Amy, with director Kevin Smith. In 2014 and 2016, Klein received Emmy® nominations for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series for his work as the Director of Photography on Showtime®'s Emmy® winning series Homeland. He also served as the Director of Photography for HBO dramas’ True Blood and Deadwood: The Movie where he earned a third Emmy® nomination in 2019.

Most recently, David has been on the forefront of virtual production shooting cutting-edge episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett for Disney+.

  • Top Gear Picks: EOS R5 C, CN-E 15.5-47mm T2.8 L SP, CN-E 30-105mm T2.8 LS, a set of Canon PL Cinema Primes, and a Suunto compass/inclinometer combo.
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “Never forget it’s our job as cinematographers to tell the story in a unique way, but it’s also to be invisible. To paraphrase Roger Deakins, if somebody sees something I’ve shot and says ‘that was beautiful cinematography’ before they talk about the story, we have failed.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “Exploring light is quite literally what I do. On set and in pre-production, we’re always exploring new and unique ways to use light to tell stories differently. Canon is constantly pushing the envelope to deliver new ways to tell stories with tried and true tech, and it’s an honor to be named an Explorer of Light.”

Matthew Heineman, Director/Cinematographer (American Symphony, Retrograde, Cartel Land)

About Matthew: Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award®️-nominated, nine-time Emmy®️-winning, and two-time DGA Award winning-filmmaker. In 2019, he received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America for his narrative debut, A Private War — making Heineman and Martin Scorsese one of only two filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. Heineman most recently directed American Symphony, which earned Academy Award®️ and BAFTA nominations and won a PGA and two Critics' Choice Awards.

Heineman previously directed and produced Retrograde which was shortlisted for an Academy Award®️, won three Emmy®️ awards, and was nominated for DGA and PGA Award. It also received a Producing Award from DOC NYC and was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Documentary. His previous film, The First Wave was also shortlisted for an Academy Award®️ and won three Emmy®️ awards, including Best Documentary. Heineman previously directed Cartel Land, which was nominated for an Academy Award®️ and won three Emmy®️ awards and a DGA Award; City of Ghosts, for which he won a DGA Award; and two seasons of the Emmy®️-winning docuseries The Trade. He also directed HBO’s Emmy®️-winning Tiger and The Boy From Medellin.

  • Top Gear Picks: Canon Cinema EOS C500 Mark II, RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM, RF24-70mm F2.8L IS USM, RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “When I was 21 years old, I heard documentarian Albert Maysles give a talk that would shape my view on filmmaking. He said, ‘If you end up with the film you started with, then you weren't listening along the way.’ Be open to the story changing. Don't be dogmatic. And this is something that I've held very close to my heart both in a macro sense (the films I choose to take on and how I find my way to them) and in a micro sense (within each shoot, shoot day, scene, lens change). Look around the frame at all times! I love embracing this type of unpredictability and adaptation inherent in making verité films. By doing so, my goal always is to try to humanize stories that often seem so far away or are relegated to stats or headlines.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “I am honored and thrilled to be in the company of so many incredible artists whose work I admire, including my dear friend Jimmy Chin. From Cartel Land though my most recent documentary American Symphony (including 6 projects in between), I’ve used Canon equipment in every project. I’m excited to share my knowledge and skillset with other cinematographers and story tellers around the world.”

Rudy Valdez, Director/Cinematographer (Choir, Carlos, The Sentence)

About Rudy: Rudy Valdez, a two-time Emmy®-winning filmmaker, is known for his commitment to telling engaging stories that explore a variety of cultural, social, and political themes. Through his distinct cinematic approach, Valdez captures the essence of human emotions and experiences, earning him critical praise and recognition as an influential figure in the film industry. Notable works include the Emmy®-nominated The Sentence, which follows his sister's journey through the criminal justice system, and Translators, a touching exploration of Latino families through the perspectives of their young translators. Valdez's recent projects include directing the docuseries Choir for Disney+ and the acclaimed Carlos, a documentary tracing the life of music legend Carlos Santana.

As the founder of Bluff Road Films, Valdez is dedicated to amplifying meaningful stories while promoting diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Top Gear Picks: Canon Cinema EOS C500 Mark II, EOS R5 C, CN-E 50mm T1.3 L F, CN-E 35mm T1.5 L F, and a monopod
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. As much as you possibly can. Find out what works for you.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “It is such a wonderful honor to be a Canon Explorer of Light. I was lucky enough to start my journey as a filmmaker around the same time that the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was introduced, allowing me an affordable camera that could produce the images as I saw them in my head.”

Shana Hagan, ASC, Cinematographer (Somebody Somewhere, Welcome to Flatch, The Kingmaker)

About Shana: Shana Hagan has shot Academy Award® and Emmy®-winning documentaries including the Academy Award®-winning Breathing Lessons, Academy Award®-nominated Walk Run Cha-Cha, Return to Space with Chai Vasarhelyi and Explorer of Light Jimmy Chin, The Kingmaker for director and Explorer of Light Lauren Greenfield, 63Up and Married in America with Michael Apted, The Conductor with Bernadette Wegenstein and twenty-one Sundance Film Festival selections, including Generation Wealth, Queen of Versailles, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, and Shakespeare Behind Bars.

Shana’s scripted work includes projects with Paul Feig, Jenny Bicks and the Duplass Brothers, and the critically-acclaimed series Somebody Somewhere for HBO and Fox’s half hour docu-comedy Welcome to Flatch. She is a member of The American Society of Cinematographers, the DGA, AMPAS, ATAS, the ICG, the IDA and BAFTA.

Shana was the first woman to shoot on the hit reality series Survivor and was nominated for an Emmy® for her work on Survivor: China. She shot four seasons on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, was the Second Unit DP on Netflix’s Arrested Development, and has shot commercial spots for Disney, Electronic Arts, Kohl’s, the US Army, Kodak, Verizon and others.

Shana is also a U.S. State Department American Film Showcase Ambassador and has traveled globally to teach Master Class Workshops to young Ethiopian filmmakers. She enjoys mentoring students and has guest lectured at many film schools.

  • Top Gear Picks: Canon Cinema EOS C300 Mark III, Cinema EOS C70, EOS R5 C, RF14-35mm f/4 ISUSM, RF24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM, RF70-200mm F4 L IS USM and an old compass from the Girl Scouts.
  • Advice for Filmmakers: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need help with something. Find a mentor. Also take some of your own footage and edit it. You’ll find out what’s working and what’s not working, and it will allow you to make adjustments next time you’re out in the field shooting. I can’t stress how important this process is for young DPs.”
  • What it Means to be a Canon EOL: “I’m so honored. Being an Explorer of Light reminds me to keep exploring the world through my camera, like I did as a kid, and to continue finding new and exciting ways to tell stories.”

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About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets. With approximately $29.4 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc., as of 2023 has ranked in the top-five overall in U.S. patents granted for 38 consecutive years†. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To learn more about Canon, visit us at and connect with us on LinkedIn at

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† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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