photo of Lucy Walker via lucywalkerfilm.com
NYWIFT is a launching a new series along the lines of our popular Power Player Breakfast, but with a smaller more intimate setting and not as early in the morning.
The series, ExperTEAs launches with the documentary powerhouse and award winning filmmaker Lucy Walker. Walker’s documentaries have won over 50 film awards, and she has twice been nominated for an Academy Award: first for Waste Land (2010), a documentary feature which won over 30 honors, including audience awards at both the Sundance and Berlin film festivals; and a year later for The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011), about survivors of Japan’s 2011 tsunami, which also won the nonfiction jury prize at Sundance.
Her three previous feature documentaries are Devil’s Playground (2002), Blindsight (2006) and Countdown to Zero (2010). Blindsight, about blind Tibetan students climbing Everest, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won prizes at Berlin and other festivals. Countdown to Zero, about nuclear weapons, premiered at Sundance and played as an Official Selection at Cannes. Devil’s Playground, about Amish teenagers, premiered at Sundance and was nominated for three Emmys (Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Editing) and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. She has also been nominated for two Emmys for Outstanding Directing for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues.
I’ve seen Walker speak before and she is not only shares endless knowledge of her craft, but always provides personal insights into her process; letting us all peak inside her world in a truthful and meaningful way. I’ll be at the ExperTEAs events, and I hope to see you there.
Walker graciously answered a few questions for NYWIFT Blog readers:
You seem to fluidly go back and forth between feature documentaries and short documentaries. What is the process on deciding if the film will be a short or feature? Do you know before going in, early in the process or only in the editing room?
Do you remember the first moment you knew you wanted to be a documentary filmmaker?
I don’t think of myself as a documentary filmmaker I’m really a filmmaker in general whose fiction projects never get made, and whose documentary projects have all gotten made! I was lucky to study at NYU Graduate Film program at Tisch School of the Arts which was a four-year all-fiction program but for one year we had the legendary Barbara Kopple teaching a class, and so I learned a terrific amount from her in that one class, and then applied all the other skills and experiences from my theater-directing background and short fiction student films that I’d made to make my first documentary, Devil’s Playground.
The short of clip of The Crash Reel on the website is one of those “can’t look away but OMG” falls, are you a snowboarder yourself? Was there a different approach to this documentary since it covers extreme sports?
I’m not a snowboarder. I’m a filmmaker, so my approach was the same as I’ve approached all my films – how do I make the best possible film here.
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Citibank, NA, 640 Fifth Ave at 52nd Street. Admission is $25. The event is for NYWIFT members only.
– AMANDA LIN COSTA @TheLoneOlive