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Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 7:00pm
Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 8:00pm


Kirsten Johnson | 
 2016 | 
100 minutes


PG (Coarse & sexual language; violence)

“For the past 25 years I’ve worked as a documentary cinematographer. I originally shot the following footage for other films, but here I ask you to see it as my memoir. These are the images that have marked me and leave me wondering still.”

Kirsten Johnson has been the eyes and mind behind some of the most iconic documentary films ever made. Her work with Laura Poitras (Citizenfour), Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11) among many others has arguably moved documentary cinema into the public eye in an entirely new way. At the heart of Johnson’s approach is humility, curiosity, and a certain brand of American humanism. Whether she is shooting nurse midwives in an obstetrics clinic in Nigeria or a boxing match in New York City, Johnson brings a virtuosity of technique and an easy open manner — people address her camera like they were having a conversation with a friend. But the cost of documenting human suffering and tragedy comes at a price, as scenes on both a grand scale (genocide) and a much smaller level make clear. In a sequence that captures a newborn baby’s struggle for breath, you hear Johnson’s agonized comments off-camera. Episodes drawn from Johnson’s family life, her twins, and her elderly mother who is suffering from dementia add another dimension, as her camera becomes a means of fixing time and keeping people alive in some ineffable way.

Cameraperson could function as a masterclass in documentary filmmaking, as Johnson discusses shot setups with directors like Moore or Poitras. But more importantly, Johnson reveals through her own eyes the very nature of perception, of what it means to be alive and seeing the world. DOXA is very proud to close the 2016 festival with this celebration of documentary cinema in all its beauty and fragile humanity. -DW



Kirsten Johnson

Kirsten Johnson has worked as an independent documentary cinematographer and director committed to human rights questions and visual creativity since 1989. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature ­length documentaries and has been credited on countless others as “Additional Camera." Throughout her career, the films she has shot have won and been nominated for Academy Awards, won major festival audience awards and been seen by tens of millions of people. To read more about Kirsten Johnson, click here.