Guest: Kirsten Johnson
Veteran filmmaker and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has spent the last 25 years capturing the often-harsh realities of humanity in some of cinemas most influential documentaries with directors such as Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11), Laura Poitras (Citizenfour about Edward Snowden) and Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated).
Her latest documentary is a very personal exploration of her life behind the camera over her vast career and is on the 2017 Best Documentary Oscar shortlist. Cameraperson is like meditation or fragmented memories, a montage of footage with no narration that opens up all the questions Kirsten has asked herself during her career.
The film moves between outtakes from documentaries she has shot intercut with private footage of her family including Kirsten’s twins and her mother. Through all of her footage, difficult and beautiful, you feel Kirsten Johnson’s warmth, empathy and her huge laugh fills the space.
Host Christina Jeurling Birro has been a longtime follower of Kirsten’s work and was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with her about the ethics and moral choices faced when filming subjects, what is was like for her to relive the joys and the horrors she has seen, the power of the moving image and much more!
Cameraperson is currently screening at film festivals and limited release, including the Göteborg Film Festival Jan 27 - Feb 6, 2017. Visit their website for screening times.
It will also be available through The Criterion Collection on Blu-ray February 7th.
Kirsten Johnson is an award-winning New York based documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. Her most recent works are The Oath and Citizenfour, both directed by Laura Poitras. The Oath is about Osama bin Laden's driver, Abu Jandal, for which Johnson won an award from Sundance. Citizenfour concerns Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA. Johnson's film Cameraperson premiered at the Sundance Film Festival with critical acclaim and won Best Documentary Feature at a number of film festivals, including the 2016 Toronto Film Festival.