Filmmaker Judith Helfand was in DC last week to screen her film Cooked with the Environmental Film Festival, and while she was here she joined us at the CSM for the day to lead a master class. The class focused on the distinction between outreach and engagement. She also led an evening session detailing the submission process for Chicken and Egg Pictures, and encouraged all novice documentary filmmakers to make their personal connection to their story very clear in their proposals.
Video from the master class will be made available on our website soon.
Filmmaker, activist and educator she's best known for her ability to take the dark, cynical worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior, environmental injustice and make them personal, resonant, highly charged, and entertaining. Her films, The Uprising of 24 (co-directed with George Stoney), the Sundance-award-winning, twice Emmy nominated Blue Vinyl (co-directed with Daniel B. Gold), and its Peabody-award-winning prequel A Healthy Baby Girl (a five-year video-diary about her experience with DES related cancer) and more recently Everything's Cool (co-directed with Daniel Gold), explore home, class, corporate accountability, intergenerational relationships and the ever shrinking border between what is personal and what is a critical part of the public record.
In November 2007 Helfand was awarded a United States Artist Fellowship Grant, one of the fifty awarded to"America's finest living artists" to nurture, support, and strengthen their work. More recently she received a 2008 Media Arts Fellowship from the Tribeca Film Institute for Cooked, her current film-in-progress about the 1995 Chicago heat wave.
Building on a decade of developing innovative outreach and organizing efforts around the distribution of her own films, Helfand has co-founded Working Films with film curator and media activist, Robert West and Chicken & Egg Pictures with Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger where she serves Director of Strategic and Creative Development. Helfand taught at NYU's School of Undergraduate Film and Television, co-designed/taught"DOC-BOOT CAMP" for New School University and recently completed her first bi-annual semester as the Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she's teaching"environmental documentary." Based in New York she is looking forward to adopting a baby next year.