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Tamara Benitez
Tamara Benitez by Martin Rey Aviles
Born (1983-10-14) October 14, 1983 (age 40)
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
NationalitySpanish - Filipino
Occupation(s)Cinematographer, Producer, Surfer
Known forUnderwater Cinematography

Tamara Benitez (also Mara Benitez) (born 14 October 1983) is a Filipina Cinematographer and camera operator, based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Known primarily for her underwater videography, Benitez has worked extensively for the ABS-CBN Corporation and under its production companies Star Cinema and VIVA Films, and has worked with such directors as Lav Diaz, Wenn Deramas, Sig Sanchez, Paolo Herras, and Martin Aviles. She has also worked with Cinematographer Arvin Viola on numerous occasions. Benitez is one of few female Cinematographers working in the cinema of the Philippines. In 2006 she was Director of Photography for the featured pictures Heremias and Lambanog, and in 2011 shot footage for the TV series Survivor India and served as Director of Photography for the TV series Where's Tony.



Tamara Isabel Escudero Benitez was born on 14 October 1983 in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. She is the daughter of a well-known Underwater Cinematographer.[1] She is of mixed Spanish and Filipino heritage; her father is Filipino and her mother mestiza. She studied Cinematography at the Mowelfund Film Institute in 2003, where she was taught how to use a film camera by Larry Manda.[2] In 2004, Benitez gained her first experience in filming as an assistant on the set of Laurenti Dyogi's romantic drama Now That I have You. Later that year she shot footage for Jeffrey Jeturian's major hit Minsan Pa (2004), as well as having a minor role as an American backpacker in it.[3] A reviewer of Minsan Pa in the Manila Bulletin talked of "beautiful cinematography that makes much of Cebu's beautiful tourist spots (such as its famous dive sites in Moalboal)."[4] Liz Braun of the Toronto Sun also praised the cinematography in Minsan Pa.[5]

She made the 161 minute film Ang Anak ni Brocka in 2005 as a Berlinale Talent Campus project. It explores the life of Filipino director Lino Brocka.[6] In 2006, Benitez was a cinematographer on the epic nine-hour 2006 film Heremias. Discussing Heremias, a reviewer was impressed by the work of Tamara Benitez, calling her "so young and so talented".[7] later that year she was director of photography Lambanog,[8][9] which featured Luis Alandy, John Lapus and C.J. Mercado. Benitez collaborated with director Paolo Herras, a third prize winner of Star Cinema's first scriptwriting contest, in shooting Lambanog, his first full-length digital film. The Manila Bulletin described the film as "a potent mix of innovative storytelling, anguished acting, and the supreme promise that films can go heretofore uncharted directions."[10] She was also a camera operator for the Star Cinema and Viva Films vehicle Wag Kang Lilington, a horror movie starring Anne Curtis and Kristine Hermosa, in which she supported cinematographers Christopher Manjares and Lyle Sacris.

In 2007, Benitez served as a Second Unit Cinematographer/2nd Camera Operator on Wenn Deramas's comedy picture Pasukob, featuring Ai-Ai Delas Alas. The Manila Bulletin praised the makers of the film, saying "Indeed, "Pasukob," showing on Nov. 28, is a gathering of winners and is guaranteed to translate to success via the excellent production."[11] In 2008, she again worked as a camera operator for a Deramas and Alas romantic comedy movie Ikaw pa rin: Bongga ka boy!. She shot footage in Vista Valley, Marikina and in Manila. In 2009, Benitez was camera operator for Ted Manotoc's film 69 1/2, a film billed as "The Making of the Most Artistic Filipino Pornographic Film Ever Made".[12] She also served as a Second Unit Cinematographer on Mel Chionglo's Bente, supporting cinematographer Arvin Viola.

In 2010, Benitez was 2nd Camera Operator for Arvin Viola again on Gil Portes's Two Funerals, described by the Manila Bulletin as the "quintessential Filipino black comedy, a quirky road movie combining melodrama with satire."[13] Footage for the film was shot in Antipolo, Rizal and the film scooped numerous awards, including the Balanghai Trophy for Best Cinematography - Directors Showcase at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.[13] In 2011, Benitez was employed as an underwater camera assistant in the shooting of Survivor India and also served as Director of Photography for Season 1 of the TV series, Where's Tony.

At present, Benitez is working as a producer under her brand ByTheSea, creating surf films for popular surfing brand Roxy Philippines, among others.





Television Shows



  1. ^ Alexis A. Tioseco. "A River Runs Through It: Reflections on a Shot in Lav Diaz's Heremias". Kino. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  2. ^ "About Tamara". Tamara Benitez. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  3. ^ "'Minsan Pa,' a must-see movie.(Entertainment)". Manila Bulletin. 19 September 2004.[dead link]
  4. ^ "New movie outfit produces 'Minsan Pa'.(Entertainment)". Manila Bulletin. 19 September 2004. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2012 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ Braun, Liz (6 May 2005). "'Minsan Pa' too long of a romance". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Ang Anak Ni Brocka". Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  7. ^ "I survived Lav Diaz's Heremias (2006)". Rough Groove. November 16, 2006. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  8. ^ Jocelyn Dimaculangan. ""Lambanog" screens at IndieSine, September 10–16". Cerphin. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  9. ^ Paolo Herras. "Whiskey di cocco / Coconut Whiskey". AsiaticaFilmMediale. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Is Bianca now avoiding Zanjoe?(Mr. Showbiz)". Manila Bulletin. 6 May 2006.[dead link]
  11. ^ "A gathering of winners in 'Pasukob'.(Entertainment)". Manila Bulletin. 29 November 2007.[dead link]
  12. ^ "69andahalf". 69andahalf.com. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Star Magic Ball not just a social event.(Showbiz)". Manila Bulletin. 28 August 2010.[dead link]