Directors Shaking Up Docs | DocHouse

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Women Shaking up Documentaries: BAFTA long-listed women directors

Monday 22 February, 2021

The four directors in our 'Women Shaking Up Docs' session (22 Feb, 6pm GMT) have a wealth of experience in non-fiction, with multiple credits as Producers, Executive Producers and Cinematographers between them, as well as for Directing and Co-directing documentaries long-listed for the 2021 BAFTAs.

Prepare for their conversation, or dig deeper afterwards, with our run down of their work to date and where to watch it.

Bonni Cohen 

In her over twenty-five year career, Bonni Cohen has produced and directed an array of award-winning documentaries. She produced Jon Else’s Sundance film Wonders are Many, and together with Else co-directed Inside Guantanamo, which was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary in 2009. 

In 2011 Cohen produced The Island President, directed by Jon Shenk, which won the People's Choice award at Toronto 2011. Together, Cohen and Shenk have since co-directed Audrie & Daisy (2016), about two teenage girls whose lives were changed forever when they were sexually assaulted at a party by boys they thought were their friends, and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017) which sees former US Vice President Al Gore continue his fight to change views and policy on the climate, a decade on from An Inconvenient Truth.

Cohen's most recent film, co-directed with Shenk, is a sensitvely made but shocking expose of abuse in USA Gymnastics. Hearing from gymnasts and their families directly, as well as charting the dogged work of a team of reporters at the Indianapolis Star, Athlete A paints a clear picture of not just one abuser, Dr Larry Nassar, but an abusive structure that enabled him and a cover-up that left hundreds of vulnerable young women at risk.
 

Read more about Bonni Cohen on the Actual Films website

Watch Athlete A on Netflix.

Watch An inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power on YouTube or Amazon.

Watch Audrie & Daisy on Netflix.
 

Nadia Hallgren


Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and director of photography from the Bronx, New York. With a focus on the craft of vérité storytelling, she is regarded as one of the leading cinematographers in documentary filmmaking, with cinematography credits including the Sundance award-winner Motherland (2017), Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Trouble the Water (2008), and Sundance award-winner Trapped (2016). 

Hallgren directed Gavin Grimm Vs. (2017) about a transgender teen from Virginia headed to the Supreme Court, which was awarded a Webby for Public Service and Activism. She won the special jury prize at SXSW for She’s the Ticket (2017), an independent episodic series about women running for office in response to Trump’s election. Her short doc After Maria (2019) tells the story of three mothers displaced by Hurricane Maria and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2019.

Most recently, Nadia directed Becoming, a portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, which has been nominated for four Emmys including Best Director, Best Cinematographer and Best Documentary Feature. 
 

Find out more about Nadia Hallgren on the Chelsea website.

Watch Becoming on Netflix.

Watch After Maria on Netflix.

Watch the 6 short films in the She's the Ticket series on Topic

Watch Gavin Grimm Vs. through Field of Visions's YouTube.
 


Nicole Newnham


Nicole Newnham is an Emmy-winning documentary producer and director. She produced and co-directed The Rape of Europa (2006, with Bonni Cohen and Richard Berge), about the Nazi war on European culture, which was nominated for a WGA award and shortlisted for an Academy Award. 

In 2013, Newnham co-directed The Revolutionary Optimists, which follows children in slums in Calcutta, and Amlan Ganguly, the lawyer-turned social entrepreneur who's empowering them. 

Crip Camp, which Newnham produced and directed with James Lebrecht in 2020, focuses on a groundbreaking summer camp in early 1970s New York, which galvanized a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement. It won the Audience Award at Sundance 2020 and was awarded Best Feature by the International Documentary Association (IDA) the same year. 

Watch Crip Camp on Netflix

Watch The Revolutionary Optimists on YouTube or Google Play.

Watch The Rape of Europa on Kanopy


 


Kirsten Johnson

Acclaimed cinematographyer Kirsten Johnson has shot over forty feature-length documentaries, including Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008), The Oath (2010), The Invisible War (2012), Citizenfour (2014), and Risk (2016).

In Cameraperson (2016), Johnson drew on footage shot during her twenty-five year career to create both a visual memoir of her personal journey and a thoughtful interrogation of the power of the camera. Cameraperson won the Grand Jury prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 and the Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking award at the 2017 Cinema Eye Honours, as well as a host of other awards and accolades. 

Her latest film, Dick Johnson is Dead is a personal exploration of mortality and the workings of grief, by turns delightfully macabre and piercingly poignantAs her father Dick's dementia encroaches, Johnson embarks on a film project with him - staging multiple death scenes from a number of lurid accidents. Filled with surprises from start to finish, the film won Sundance's Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-Fiction storytelling.

Watch Dick Johnson is Dead on Netflix.

You can watch Johnson discussing her work with director Alan Berliner on our Hub.

Find lots of ways to watch Cameraperson online here

DocHouse hosted a Q&A with Johnson about Cameraperson, watch it here.

Dig even deeper into Cameraperson with this list of every documentary it features.


Pippa Ehrlich

A marine science and conservation journalist, Pippa Ehrlich had made a number of short films by the time she met and started diving with freediver and filmmaker Craig Foster. 

Her debut feature documentary, My Octopus Teacher, follows Foster and his unique friendship with an octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town, South Africa. Interviewed by 'Women and Hollywood', Ehrlich described her film as "a love story about a friendship between a human being and a wild animal, but its also a love story about our relationship with the natural world."

Read the full interview on Women and Hollywood.

Read more about Pippa Ehrlich, Craig Foster and My Octopus Teacher on the Sea Change Project website.

Watch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix