Jennifer Fox

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Jennifer Fox
Occupation Director, producer, cinematographer
Years active 1980–present
Website
Zohe Film Productions

Jennifer Fox (born 1959) is an American film producer and director, as well as president of Zohe Film Productions, an independent film company based in New York City. She has produced and directed many documentaries which has earned her critical acclaim and awards, including the Grand Jury Prize award for her first feature documentary, Beirut: The Last Home Movie.[1] Her most recent film, the documentary My Reincarnation had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2010, where it won an Top 20 Audience Award and has since played at over 50 festivals around the world. In the United States, it did a 70 city theatrical release and aired nationally on PBS's prime series, POV on June 21, 2012.

Life and career[edit]

In 1980 Fox produced, wrote and directed two narrative shorts, entitled Pomello: One Day and a Boy (1980) and The First Illusion (1981). She worked as an Assistant Producer and Writer for the nationally syndicated television program, PM Magazine and on the production of several shorts for WNET’s Sesame Street.

Beirut: The Last Home Movie[edit]

In 1987, Fox produced, directed and wrote the internationally acclaimed, award-winning feature documentary, Beirut: The Last Home Movie. The film provided a portrait of the last days of an aristocratic family living in war torn Beirut, Lebanon in 1981. Beirut: The Last Home Movie was released theatrically in seven countries and televised in seventeen countries worldwide, including an American broadcast as a Frontline Special in 1991. Invited to over twenty of the most prestigious documentary film festivals world-wide, it won seven international awards, including Best Film of the Year and Best Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival (1988), Grand Prize Best Film, Cinéma du Réel, Paris (1989), The Young Forum Selection, Berlin International Film Festival (1989), and Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival (1989). Beirut: The Last Home Movie is often used in film theory and criticism classes in film schools around the world, as well as in history and Middle East studies courses. Beirut: The Last Home Movie was available for educational and commercial home video in December 1991 on Essenay Video and is now distributed by Women Make Movies.[2] In 1981, Jennifer formed her own production company, Zohe Film Productions.

An American Love Story[edit]

In 1992, Jennifer began to produce, direct, and photograph the groundbreaking ten-hour documentary series, An American Love Story, which aired nationally on PBS on September 12 to 16, 1999. The series chronicles two years in the life of the Wilson-Sims, an interracial family living in Queens, New York. Jennifer shot more than a thousand hours of footage of the family during seven years, making An American Love Story one of the most comprehensive and profound portraits of one family ever produced.[3] An American Love Story was screened to critical acclaim at the 1999 Sundance, Berlin, and Edinburgh Film Festivals (as well as others), and at the Film Forum in New York City. The screening of a television series of this magnitude is unprecedented in the history of Sundance and rare among other festivals. A shorter five-and-a-half hour version aired internationally on the BBC in the fall of 1999 and on Arte (in France and Germany) in February 2000 to extraordinary press. The series has also aired in Israel, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Canada. A soundtrack CD featuring original music created for the series by Marcus Miller and Bill Sims was produced by PBS Records and distributed by Warner Brothers, the home video was distributed by New Video Group, and an interactive web site to accompany the series was developed by Web Lab and Zohe Film Productions, in association with PBS Online.

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman[edit]

In 2006, Fox completed production on the groundbreaking six part series called Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman. Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman was the first time Jennifer turned the camera on herself as she chronicled her own life and the lives of other women around the world. The series was co-produced with Claus Ladegaard of Easy Films, a Danish production company, and was funded by the Danish Film Institute, Danish TV, BBC, ARTE, SBS Australia, Finnish TV, Swedish TV and HBO.

My Reincarnation[edit]

Her current feature documentary, My Reincarnation, about a high Tibetan Master in exile and his Italian born son, has been filmed over an unprecedented 20 years and is now in post-production. The film is an ARTE co-production and has been pre-sold to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Switzerland. It received grants from the Hartley Film Foundation, Impact Partners and the GDF Foundation. The film had a groundbreaking crowd-funding campaign, becoming the highest raising finished film ever on Kickstarter 2011.[4] My Reincarnation had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2010, where it won an Audience Award and has since played at over 50 festivals around the world. In the United States, it did a 70 city theatrical release and aired nationally on PBS's prime series, POV on June 21, 2012. The New York Times called My Reincarnation, "Remarkable,”[5] and the Wall Street Journal called it, “Magnificent.”[6]

Other films produced[edit]

Jennifer’s other credits include Executive Producing On the Ropes, a feature-length documentary produced, directed, and photographed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen. The film examines the lives of three boxers at Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy Boxing Center. At its premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, On the Ropes was awarded a Special Jury Award. It went on to win the Best Feature Documentary of the Year award at the IDA 1999, Best Documentary at Urban World Film Festival 1999, the Golden Gate Award in San Francisco 1999, and an honorable mention at the Amsterdam Documentary Festival 1999. The film is funded by Fox Lorber and TLC and has been released theatrically in fifty markets. It was broadcast in April 2000 on The Learning Channel.

Jennifer also Executive Produced the two and a half-hour film for PBS that chronicles twelve years in the life of four generations of one African American family on welfare, titled Love and Diane by Jennifer Dworkin. Love and Diane was funded by ITVS and co-produced by ARTE with a pre-sale to the BBC. It won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival 2002, the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction award, and was one of the rare documentaries invited to the prestigious New York FilmFestival last year and screened at Sundance 2003. The film also won Grand Prize at the One World Festival, Prague and opened theatrically in New York at the Film Forum in 2003.

She also Executive Produced two other films. The first entitled Double Exposure, Kit-Yin Snyder's half-hour art documentary that explores the personal journey of a traditional Chinese artist in the modern world. Kit Yin received a Jerome Foundation grant to complete the film and her film premiered at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. Double Exposure premiered on PBS's Independent Lens in 2003. The second film, Absolutely Safe? is a personal investigative film about breast implants and the Dow Corning and Mentor Corporations that manufacture them, by Carol Ciancutti. Absolutely Safe? received an ITVS grant and is currently being finished for broadcast on PBS.

Jennifer has consulted on numerous documentary film projects in all phases of production and distribution over the last ten years. She also consulted on the 2001 Sundance Grand Prize Award winner, Southern Comfort by Kate Davis, and the 2002 Slamdance Grand Prize Winner Stone Reader by Mark Markowitz.

In 2001, she was part of an international team consulting with filmmakers in South Africa on a collection of 35 films on HIV and AIDS, called Steps for the Future, produced by Don Edkins and Executive Produced by Iikka Vehkalahati at the Finnish Broadcasting Company. For Steps, Jennifer made five trips to South Africa and was part of the development and execution of the project. The entire Steps series won a special award at the 2001 Amsterdam Film Festival and another award at the 2002 Banff Festival. Jennifer was then hired by the Maurits Binger Institute in the Netherlands to develop a unique training program in South Africa to run concurrently with the production of 13 films for South African Television. This television series called Project 10:Real Stories from a Free South Africa is a collection of intimate, personal stories from the new South Africa about the last ten years of freedom. Jennifer spent the first few months of 2003 working with a group of local young filmmakers, mentoring them from initial training through post-production. Jennifer is one of the Executive Producers of the series and developed the yearlong training program and ran several workshops in SA throughout the year. The project launched in 2004 by being invited to the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

Jennifer was invited to be a US Shop Steward at both the 2001 and 2002 Inputs (the International Public Television Screening Conference) in South Africa and Rotterdam respectively. There she was part of an international selection committee as well as one of the leaders presenting programs from around the world both years.

Jennifer has lectured about documentary filmmaking in numerous festivals and universities in both Europe and America. She has also given Master Classes on documentary filmmaking around the globe. She was sent by the United States Information Service to give seminars on independent filmmaking in Pakistan and India. Jennifer has taught filmmaking for over ten years at New York University's School of Film and Television and Film Video Arts in New York. She was the 2000/2001 Artist Mentor in Residence at F.V.A., where she mentored three filmmakers, in a program funded by the Jerome Foundation. She previously taught at The School of Visual Arts for two years.

Jennifer is the author of the screenplays, LILA: A FAIRTALE, a feature, co-written with Oren Moverman, and the short film, THE WOMAN WITH ONE BREAST. She has just completed the half hour television pilot, THE GOOD EGG, co-written with Deborah Copaken Kogan. She is currently developing the feature film script, THE TALE for which she was selected to participate in the 2012 BINGER LAB’s Directing program in Amsterdam.

Jennifer is one of three filmmakers featured in the film, The Heck with Hollywood!, a portrait of the trials and tribulations of independent filmmaking in America. She is also a featured documentary filmmaker in the Canadian film about the history of the cinema verite movement called Cinéma Vérité: Defining The Moment by Peter Wintonick.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Producer Cinematographer
1987 Beirut: The Last Home Movie Yes Yes
1999 An American Love Story Yes Yes Yes
1999 On the Ropes Yes
2006 Looking for Busi Yes Yes
2006 Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman Yes Yes
2010 My Reincarnation Yes Yes Yes

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]