Marta Cunningham (director)

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Marta Cunningham is an Emmy nominated [1] American film director and producer who directed and produced the BMP Film Valentine Road which was later acquired by HBO,[2] which covers the lives of two middle school children-Lawrence King and Brandon McInereny-who was convicted of Lawrence’s murder.[3] Cunningham’s debut film has been in over 80 film festivals, including 2013 Sundance Film Festival.[4] Valentine Road has won over eight Best Documentary awards in various film festivals from 2013 Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival [5] to Birkshire International Film Festival.[6] Cunningham’s body of work addresses social justice and questions current societies’ morals and ethics. Her current goal for "Valentine Road" is to use it as an educational tool for school administrations.

Early life[edit]

Marta Cunningham is originally from Northern California. She was raised in a very academic setting, with scholastics being a priority.[7] Cunningham’s parents were social justice activists and encouraged their daughter to get involved as well. Cunningham started to follow her parents foot steps in social justice activism by being accepted into Georgetown University.[7] She was awarded the prestigious Baker Scholarship and studied English literature. Her goal at the time was to create social change through politics. However, after one semester of Georgetown Cunningham decided to go down a different path to create social change. Instead of choosing the political, and academic path, Cunningham decided to become an artist.[8] She left Georgetown University and headed for Los Angeles, California.

Career[edit]

Cunningham first arrived to Los Angeles where she worked as an actress, writer, dancer and choreographer.[9] The film which inspired her dream to become a director was "Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing".[10]

In 2008 Cunningham read an article about Lawrence King.[11] The article stated a classmate, Brandon McInereny, shot King twice in the back of the head for being perceived as openly gay. Cunningham was moved to do something about how Lawrence was being portrayed in various articles. She started to attend McIrnereny’s trials and eventually started interviewing other individuals. Overall, Cunningham spent four years developing Valentine Road and accumulating 350 hours of footage, which was narrowed down into an 89-minute documentary.[12] Valentine Road has been viewed in several film festivals, including the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary was also a nominee for two awards in the 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards [13]Currently the film is available on HBO, HBO OnDemand, and HBO GO.

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