Lucy Walker (director)

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Lucy Walker

Director Lucy Walker has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, and is best known for directing five feature documentary films: Devil's Playground (2002), Blindsight (2006), Waste Land (2010), Countdown to Zero (2010), and The Crash Reel (2013), as well as short films notably The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and The Lion's Mouth Opens (2014) and over a dozen episodes of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, for which she was nominated for two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Directing.

On 25 January 2011 she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature for Waste Land, and on 24 January 2012 she received her second Academy Award nomination, this time in the Best Documentary Short category for The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. In 2006 her film Blindsight, and in 2013 her film The Crash Reel were among the fifteen films shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for that year.[1][2]

For television Walker's directing credits include over a dozen episodes of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, and she and her work have been nominated for eight Emmy Awards, a DGA Award, a Gotham Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, and have won around one hundred other film awards including two at Sundance, two at Berlin, one at SXSW, and the IDA Award for Best Documentary (see list below) .

She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[3] The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the International Documentary Association, and the Directors Guild of America.

Early life[edit]

Walker was born in London, started directing theatre in high school and continued as an student at Oxford University, where during her first term she directed and produced an original musical called Querm which swept the prestigious Oxford University Dramatic Society Cuppers awards. Walker went on to become the Artistic Director of theatre group New Company, and her outdoor musical productions of The Jungle Book and Tintin and the Broken Ear remain cult hits. After graduating from New College, Oxford with a B.A. (Hons) and M.A. (Oxon) starred first-class honours in Language and Literature she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the graduate film program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she directed award-winning short fictional films and received an MFA.

Music[edit]

Walker also had a career as a DJ and musician. While at NYU film school, Walker supported herself by DJing and was featured as a cover story in Option and on the cover of issue No. 154 of The Wire.[4] apppearing frequently at the Soundlab and all over New York City, the USA and Europe, performing mostly solo and also as a member of experimental illbient ensemble Byzar, for whom she also directed a suitably avant-garde video for the track "Phylyx" (which was broadcast most prominently to open three shows of MTV's iconic 1990s electronica show AMP (episodes 116, 122, and 124).[5]

With her friend and frequent collaborator Moby, Walker contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound, Sampling Digital Music and Culture[6] edited by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid (The MIT Press, 2008). She later used Moby's music for the soundtrack of her films Waste Land and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. Instead of working with traditional film composers, she frequently licenses and remixes tracks by her musician friends and favorite artists to create her films' soundtracks.

Film career[edit]

Lucy was inspired to make "The Crash Reel" when she met Kevin Pearce (snowboarder) while mentoring at a retreat to inspire athletes to use their platform for social change organized by David Mayer de Rothschild. "The Crash Reel" premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2013 as the Opening Night Gala film (out of competition) and won many accolades including Audience Award at SXSW, nominations for Best Documentary at the DGA Director's Guild Awards and Gotham Awards, and being released theatrically in several territories. Chronicling the epic rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White which culminates in Kevin's life-changing crash and a comeback story with a difference, the film also showcases the remarkable Pearce family, including Kevin's father renowned glass-blower Simon Pearce and Kevin's brother David C. Pearce, who is eloquent about his struggle to accept his Down Syndrome. The film also screened at the X Games as the first ever movie to play as a featured part of the event. Inspired by what she learned about traumatic brain injury Lucy created the "#loveyourbrain" campaign around Traumatic Brain Injury prevention, awareness, and support, for which Outside (magazine) featured Lucy in a cover story declaring "Lucy Walker Will Change Winter Sports".[7]

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is described as "a visual haiku for Japan" documenting the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the survivors' struggle to survive, and as a personal, poetic film about the ephemeral nature of life, and the process of healing after grief and loss. Walker was originally planning to be in Japan during the sakura cherry blossom season as she loved photographing cherry blossoms and she had been invited to visit Japan for a press junket to support Countdown to Zero. However due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster the release of that film was postponed.[8][9] Deciding that it was a more important time than ever to make a film in Japan and to express solidarity and support for Japanese people and culture at such an extremely challenging time, and so she traveled to Japan with longterm collaborator cinematographer Aaron Phillips to shoot in March and April 2011, mostly in the devastated Tōhoku region, as well as in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.[10] The film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2011 and went on to screen at festivals including the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it was awarded the Short Film Jury Prize: Non-Fiction and the Women In Film National Geographic All Roads Award on the day that its Academy Award nomination was announced. It was also honored with two Emmy nominations for Best Continuing Coverage of a News Story - Long Form and Best Documentary.

Waste Land premiered at Sundance 2010 and is the first film ever to win the Audience Awards at both Sundance and Berlin, as well as more than 50 other awards and a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. At the International Documentary Association Awards, presenter Morgan Spurlock memorably handed Walker the Best Documentary Feature Award wrapped inside a garbage bag,[11][12] continuing the joke that Walker had worn a black garbage bag to the New York theatrical premiere.[13] Waste Land is the uplifting story of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and a lively group of catadores, pickers of recyclable materials, who find a way from the world's largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro to the most prestigious auction house in London via the transformation of recyclable materials into contemporary art. It was released theatrically in the USA by Arthouse Films, in Canada, in the UK by E1 Entertainment, and in Australia/NZ by Hopscotch Films.

Blindsight premiered at Toronto and won awards including nominations for Best Documentary at the 2007 Grierson Awards and British Independent Film Awards. It was released in theaters in several countries and was short-listed for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Blindsight follows the emotional journey of six blind Tibetan teenagers who climb up the north side of Mt. Everest with their hero, blind American mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, and their teacher, Sabriye Tenberken, who founded Braille Without Borders, the only school for the blind in Tibet. Both Waste Land and Blindsight won the Panorama Publikumspreis (Audience Award) at the Berlinale, making Walker the only filmmaker to have won the Audience Award at Berlin with two different films.

Devil's Playground, Walker's first feature documentary, examined the struggles of Amish teenagers during their period of experimentation (rumspringa). It premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win awards including three Emmy Award nominations for Best Documentary, Best Directing and Best Editing and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Documentary.

Countdown to Zero, an exposé of the present-day threat of nuclear proliferation, also premiered at Sundance 2010, the first time a director has had two feature documentaries in one year at this festival. It also played in the Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival before being released in the US by Magnolia Pictures, in the UK by Dogwoof, and in Japan by Paramount. It was Executive Produced by Global Zero (campaign) and Jeff Skoll's Participant Media and contributed to the debate building to the ratification of the New START Treaty, for which Walker and her collaborators were nominated for 2010 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year[14] for raising public awareness and understanding of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the 21st century and helping mobilize support for practical steps to reduce those danger.

For television Walker's directing credits also include over a dozen episodes of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, her first job after film school, for which she was twice nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing. Her branded content and commercial work includes directing "Look Inside: Mick Ebeling", a 3-minute film about Project Daniel for Intel, Not Impossible, Venables Bell, and Ebeling Group, which was awarded an AICP Curator's Award and three Bronze Lions at the Cannes Festival of Creativity[15]

She was named one of the "Top 25 New Faces In Independent Film" by Filmmaker and called "the new Errol Morris" by The Hollywood Reporter. Variety has profiled her as a notable "Femme Filmmaker", praising her ability to connect with audiences.[16]

There have been two retrospectives of Walker's films, one at the DC Environmental Film Festival, and one at London's British Film Institute Southbank, both in 2012.

Select Filmography[edit]

  • Devil's Playground (2002) 76 minutes
  • Blindsight (2006) 104 minutes
  • Countdown To Zero (2010) 89 minutes
  • Waste Land (2010) 100 minutes
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) 39/53 minutes
  • The Crash Reel (2013) 107 minutes
  • David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes) (2013) 6 minutes
  • The Lion's Mouth Opens (2014) 28/16 minutes

Film awards and nominations[edit]

Lifetime Achievement Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Inspirational Filmmaking, Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival 2013
  • Rogue Award, Ashland Independent Film Festival 2013
  • Cinecause Visionary Award, Outstanding Achievement in Social Impact Filmmaking, March 2014
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest Inspiration Award 2014
"Look Inside- Mick Ebeling"
The Lion's Mouth Opens
  • premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2014
  • Best Short Doc nomination, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014
  • Special Jury Mention for Best Short Documentary, Aspen ShortsFest 2014
  • Finalist, Best Short Film, Ashland Independent Film Festival 2014
  • Director's Choice Best Short Doc, Rincon International Film Festival 2014
  • Moving Mountains Prize nomination, MountainFilm in Telluride 2014
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary Short, Traverse City Film Festival 2014
David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes)
  • premiered at SXSW South By Southwest Film Festival 2014
  • Best Short Doc nomination, Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014
The Crash Reel
  • premiered as Opening Night Gala film, Sundance Film Festival 2013 (out of competition)
  • Audience Award, SXSW South By Southwest Film Festival 2013
  • Rogue Award - for The Crash Reel and career recognition honor, Ashland Independent Film Festival 2013
  • Audience Award, Dallas International Film Festival 2013
  • Audience Award, Berkshire International Film Festival 2013
  • Top Ten Audience Favorite, Hot Docs Film Festival 2013
  • Best Documentary Special Jury Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2013
  • "Making Movies that Matter" Award, MountainFilm in Telluride 2013
  • Audience Award, Melbourne International Film Festival 2013
  • Audience Award, Berkshire International Film Festival 2013
  • Best Documentary Grand Jury Award, Port Townsend Film Festival 2013
  • Granny Award for Best Documentary, New Hampshire Film Festival 2013
  • Grand Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival 2013
  • Best Mountain Culture Film Award, Whistler Film Festival 2013
  • EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, 2013
  • International Ski History Association Film Award 2014
  • Audience Award nomination, Cinema Eye Honors 2013
  • Best Nonfiction Film for Television Award, Cinema Eye Honors 2014
  • "The Unforgettables" Award for documentary subjects Kevin and David Pearce, Cinema Eye Honors 2014
  • Audience Award, One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 2014
  • Best Documentary nomination, DGA Director's Guild Awards 2014
  • Best Documentary nomination, Gotham Awards 2013
  • Outstanding Informational Programming - Long Form nomination, Emmy Awards 2014
Make Haste Slowly (documentary short)
  • Favorite Documentary Short, Napa Valley Film Festival 2013
Secrets of the Mongolian Archers (documentary short)
  • Special Jury Award, Arica Nativa Film Festival 2013
Waste Land
  • premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2010
  • nomination for Grand Jury Award for Best World Cinema Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award Panorama Publikumspreis for Best Film, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
  • Amnesty International Award, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Full Frame Film Festival 2010
  • HBO Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature, Provincetown International Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary, Maui International Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Paulinia Film Festival 2010
  • Jury Award for Best Film, Paulinia Film Festival 2010
  • Best Documentary, Dallas International Film Festival 2010
  • $25,000 Target Filmmaker Award, Dallas International Film Festival 2010
  • Best Documentary Golden Space Needle Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2010
  • Best Documentary, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Choice Best Film, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Crystal Heart Best Documentary Award, Heartland Film Festival 2010
  • Human Spirit Award, EcoFocus Film Fest 2010
  • Audience Award for Best Feature Film, EcoFocus Film Fest 2010
  • Best Documentary, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2010
  • Jury Award, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival 2010
  • Roger's People's Choice Award, Vancouver International Film Festival 2010
  • Prêmio Itamaraty for Best Documentary Feature, São Paulo International Film Festival 2010
  • Special Jury Prize for Best Feature, Amazonas Film Festival 2010
  • Audience Award, IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2010
  • Audience Award, Stockholm International Film Festival 2010
  • IDA Pare Lorentz Award, International Documentary Association Awards 2010
  • Best Documentary, International Documentary Association Awards 2010
  • Grand Prix du Festival, International Environmental Film Festival 2010
  • Jury Award, Frozen River Film Festival 2011
  • Best of Festival, Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2011
  • Best in Festival, Princeton Environmental Film Festival 2011
  • Best Documentary, Movies For Grownups Awards 2011
  • Best Documentary Feature Film Audience Choice Award, Sedona International Film Festival 2011
  • Keen Hybrid Life Filmmaker Grant, Boulder International Film Festival 2011
  • Audience Award (tie), Environmental Film Festival at Yale 2011
  • Best Film, Investigation section, Levante International Film Festival 2011
  • Best Editing, Investigation section, Levante International Film Festival 2011
  • KEEN Hybrid Life Filmmaker Grant, Boulder International Film Festival 2011
  • Best Documentary, Sedona International Film Festival 2011
  • Audience Award, Freezone Belgrade Film Festival 2011
  • Green Fire Award, American Conservation Film Festival 2011
  • Audience Award, Addis Ababa International Film Festival 2012
  • Best Documentary Feature, Grande Premio do Cinema Brasileiro 2012
  • Best Documentary Editing - Pedro Kos, Grande Premio do Cinema Brasileiro 2012
  • Best Documentary nomination, British Independent Film Awards 2006
  • Peace Film Award - Unabhaengige, Filmfest Osnabrueck 2010
  • Humanitas Award for Best Documentary - nomination, Humanitas Awards 2010
  • Best Documentary, Grierson Award for Best Documentary - nomination, London Film Festival 2010
  • Best Documentary nomination, British Independent Film Awards 2010
  • Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary of the Year, Cinema For Peace Awards 2011
  • Winner, London Film Awards 2012
  • Best Documentary Feature nomination, The 83rd Annual Academy Awards 2011
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (documentary short)
  • premiered at Toronto International Film Festival Documentary Conference 2011 (out of competition)
  • Non-Fiction Short Film Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2012
  • Women In Film National Geographic All Roads Award, Sundance Film Festival 2012
  • Polly Krakora Award for Artistry in Film – The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, DC Environmental Film Festival 2012
  • Laurissilva Award for Best Film, Madeira Film Festival 2012
  • Audience Award for Best Short Film, Florida Film Festival 2012
  • Best Documentary, Nevada City Film Festival 2012
  • Best of the Fest, Nevada City Film Festival 2012
  • nomination for Best Documentary Short nomination, The 84th Annual Academy Awards 2012
  • nomination for Emmy Award for Best Documentary, 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards
  • nomination for Emmy Award for Best Continuing Coverage of a News Story, Long Form, 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival 2013
Countdown to Zero
  • premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2010 (out of competition)
  • Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2010 (out of competition)
  • Best Documentary nomination, International Press Academy Satellite Film Awards 2010
  • International Green Film Award nomination, Cinema For Peace Awards 2011
  • Arms Control Person(s) of the Year - nomination for Writer-Director Lucy Walker and her collaborators, Arms Control Association 2010
Blindsight
  • premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2006 (out of competition)
  • Audience Award Panorama Publikumspreis for Best Film, Blindsight, Berlin International Film Festival 2007
  • Audience Award for Best Film (tie), American Film Institute, AFI Film Festival 2006
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary, Palm Springs International Film Festival 2007
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Ghent Film Festival 2007
  • "Humanism and Love to Life" Award, Kinolitopys XII Kyiv International Documentary Film Festival, 2013
Devil's Playground
  • premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2002 (out of competition)
  • Best Documentary, AFI DV Fest 2001
  • Grand Prize Best Film, AFI DV Fest 2001
  • Audience Award for Best Film, Sarasota International Film Festival 2002
  • Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary, Karlovy-Vary International Film Festival 2002
  • Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction in a Documentary - nomination, News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2003
  • Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing in a Documentary - nomination, News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2003
  • Emmy Award for Best Documentary - nomination, News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2003
  • Best Documentary nomination, Independent Spirit Awards 2003
Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues
  • Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series nomination - Daytime Emmy Awards 2001
  • Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series nomination - Daytime Emmy Awards 2002

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hernandez, Eugene (15 November 2006), "15 Films Selected for Oscar Short List in Doc Feature Category". IndieWire.com.
  2. ^ "15 Documentary Features Advance in 2013 Oscar® Race". Oscars.org. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Academy Invites 176; Terrence Malick, Lucy Walker, Michel Hazanavicius and the Dardennes Make the Cut | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews". Indiewire. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Illbient Ambience". [[The Wire (magazine)|]], #154. December 1996.
  5. ^ "the AMP lists". My.execpc.com. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  6. ^ Sound Unbound, Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Paul d. Miller (ed.). MIT Press, 2008.
  7. ^ http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/media/film/Crash-and-Burn-Lucy-Walker-The-Crash-Reel.html
  8. ^ "Generation Change: Lucy Walker". Dazed Digital. 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  9. ^ "Director’s Notes: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom | Jackson Hole Fire Festival". Jhfirefestival.org. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  10. ^ "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, nominated for the 2012 Oscar Documentary Short". Cinema Without Borders. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (5 December 2010). "Honor Roll 2010 - “Waste Land” Director Lucy Walker". IndieWire.com
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (3 December 2010)"IDA honors 'Waste Land'". Variety.
  13. ^ "When a trashy chick is cool". The Fallout Girl blog. 27 October 2010.
  14. ^ "Vote for the 2010 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year". armscontrol.org. 2010.
  15. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol19tt3VWhQ
  16. ^ Salemi, Michelle (2010-09-30). "Lucy Walker: Instructively engaging". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 

External links[edit]