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Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award


The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary filmmakers who embody the spirit, energy, and innovation demonstrated by anthropologist Margaret Mead in her research, fieldwork, films, and writings. The award is given to a filmmaker whose feature documentary displays artistic excellence and originality of storytelling technique while offering a new perspective on a culture or community remote from the majority of our audiences’ experience. Filmmakers with works making their U.S. premieres at the festival are eligible.

Congratulations to Aleksandra Maciuszek, director, Casa Blanca as the 2016 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recipient! An honorable mention was given to Jessie Deeter, director, A Revolution in Four Seasons

The 2016 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Contenders:

Pietra Brettkelly, director, A Flickering Truth

Simon Brook, director, A Different American Dream

Yan Chun Su, director, Drokpa

Christine Cynn, director, Shooting Ourselves

Jessie Deeter, director, A Revolution in Four Seasons

Susan Gluth, director, Urmila: My Memory Is My Power

Marco Antonio Gonçalves, Eliska Altmann, co-directors, Under the Clouds (Das Nuvens Pra Baixo)

Aleksandra Maciuszek, director, Casa Blanca

Janet Merewether, director, Reindeer in My Saami Heart

Aaron Petersen, director, Zach's Ceremony

Klára Trencsényi, director, Train to Adulthood

Adriana Vila Guevara, director, Belén

The 2016 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Jury includes:

Carlos A. Gutiérrez is co-founder and executive director of Cinema Tropical, the New York-based media arts organization and leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the U.S.

Kirsten Johnson is a director and cinematographer whose credits include Oscar-winning Citizenfour. Her most recent film, Cameraperson, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Carolyn Rouse is a cultural anthropologist at Princeton who focuses on how evidence and authority are used to validate truth claims and calls for social justice.

Basil Tsiokos is director of programming for DOC NYC and was previously the artistic and executive director of NewFest: The NYC LGBT Film Festival.

Christine Walley is an anthropologist at MIT. Her current project, Exit Zero, examines the impact of deindustrialization in the U.S. and the film it includes premiered at the Mead Festival in 2015.

Previous winners of the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award include:

2015 Recipients: Kim Beamish, director, The Tentmakers of Cairo and Iiris Härmä, director Leaving Africa: A Story About Friendship and Empowerment

2015 Special Mention: Aldona Watts, director, Land of Songs

2014 Recipients: José Cohen and Lorenzo Hagerman, directors, H2O MX

2014 Special Mention: Simona Ghizzoni and Emanuela Zuccalà, directors, Just to Let You Know That I’m Alive

2013 Recipients: Sarah Gavron and David Katznelson, directors, Village at the End of the World

2013 Special Mention: Lalita Krishna, director, Mallamall

2012 Recipient: Adam Isenberg, director, A Life Without Words (Una Vida Sin Palabras)

2012 Special Mention: Giovanni Giommi, director, Bad Weather and Miyarrka Media for Manapanmirr in the Christmas Spirit

2011 Recipient: Yuanchen Liu for To The Light

2010 Recipient: Marc and Nick Francis, directors, When China Met Africa

Past Jury Members Include:

2015:Orlando Bagwell, documentary filmmaker and former Ford Foundation Director; Jessica Hagedorn, playwright, novelist, poet, and screenwriter; Meg McLagan, documentary filmmaker and cultural anthropologist; and Lacey Schwartz, documentary filmmaker and outreach strategist.

2014: Director of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute, Tabitha Jackson; filmmaker and author, Sadia Shepard; filmmaker and professor, Marco Williams; and author, anthropologist, and filmmaker, John L. Jackson, Jr.

2013: senior vice president of HBO Documentary Films, Lisa Heller, filmmaker and professor, Jamal Joseph, former program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Richard Peña; and author and filmmaker, Sadia Shepard

2012: founder and executive director of the New York African Film Festival, Mahen Bonetti; director, Patricia Cardoso; Executive Director and co-founder of Impact Partners, Dan Cogan; and filmmaker, activist and educator, Judith Helfand

2011: Led by jury chair and Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky. Other members include Film Forum’s Karen Cooper, documentary producer Liz Garbus, and filmmaker Stanley Nelson

2010: filmmaker, photographer, and anthropologist John Cohen; producer Wendy Ettinger; filmmaker and animator Emily Hubley; and director Thomas Allen Harris