Lucy Walker (director)

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Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is an award-winning English film director. She is best known for directing the documentaries Devil's Playground (2002), Blindsight (2006), Waste Land (2010), Countdown to Zero (2010), and The Crash Reel (2013). She has also directed notable short films, such as The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and The Lion's Mouth Opens (2014), and fifteen episodes of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, for which she was nominated for two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Directing.[1]

She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[2] 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. She began directing theater in high school. As a student at Oxford University, she directed and produced an original musical called Querm. The movie won the prestigious Oxford University Dramatic Society Cuppers Award. Walker was the artistic director of the theater group New Company, and her outdoor musical productions of The Jungle Book and Tintin and the Broken Ear were cult hits. After graduating from New College, Oxford with a B.A. (Hons) and a M.A. (Oxon), she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend the NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' graduate film program, from which she received an MFA. She directed award-winning short fictional films at NYU.

Music[edit]

While at NYU film school, Walker supported herself as a DJ and musician. She was featured in a cover story in Option and on the cover of issue No. 154 of The Wire.[3] She appeared frequently at the Soundlab in New York City and in Europe, where she performed solo and as a member of the experimental illbient ensemble Byzar. Walker also directed an avant-garde video for the track "Phylyx", which was broadcast as the show-opening video of MTV's iconic electronica show Amp (episodes 116, 122, and 124).[4]

Walker contributed a chapter on music to Sound Unbound, Sampling Digital Music and Culture[5] edited by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid (The MIT Press, 2008). Her extensive use of Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85–92 to form the soundtrack to Devil's Playground' is discussed in detail in Marc Weidenbaum's book about the album.[6]

Film career[edit]

Walker's 2014 documentary The Lion's Mouth Opens focuses on filmmaker-actor Marianna Palka's attempt to discover if she has inherited Huntington's disease, the incurable degenerative disorder that took Palka's father. Nick Higgins worked with Walker as cinematographer for the documentary. The title is taken from Bob Dylan's poem Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie, which Marianna recites in the film (Woody Guthrie had died from Huntington’s Disease). Walker premiered The Lion’s Mouth Opens at Sundance on January 26, 2014. HBO acquired the film for broadcast during its Huntington's Disease Awareness Week in May 2015. After its initial festival run, the documentary was expanded from sixteen to twenty-eight minutes.

Walker was inspired to make the 2013 documentary "The Crash Reel" when she met Kevin Pearce (snowboarder) at a retreat organized by David Mayer de Rothschild. "The Crash Reel" premiered at Sundance on January 19, 2013 as the Opening Night Gala film. The film chronicles the rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White, which culminates in Kevin's life-changing crash. The film also showcases the Pearce family, including Kevin's father, renowned glass-blower Simon Pearce, and Kevin's brother, David C. Pearce, who has Down Syndrome. The film was the first movie to ever play at the X Games. Inspired by her documentary's subject, Walker created the "#loveyourbrain" organization and a campaign around Traumatic Brain Injury prevention, awareness, and support. Outside (magazine) featured Lucy in a cover story, "Lucy Walker Will Change Winter Sports".[7]

Walker's 2011 documentary The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom focuses on the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and its survivors' struggle to survive. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, and it went on to screen at festivals, including Sundance, in 2012.

Waste Land focuses on Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and a group of catadores--pickers of recyclable materials--who transform recyclable materials from the world's largest dump in Rio de Janeiro into contemporary art sold at the most prestigious auction house in London. Waste Land premiered at Sundance in 2010. It is the first film to win Audience Awards at both the Sundance and Berlin festivals. At the International Documentary Association Awards, presenter Morgan Spurlock memorably handed Walker the Best Documentary Feature Award wrapped inside a garbage bag.[8][9] The joke referenced the black garbage bag that Walker had worn to the New York theatrical premiere of Waste Land.[10] Waste Land 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. It follows the journey of six blind Tibetan teenagers who climb up the north side of Mt. Everest with blind American mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer and their teacher, Sabriye Tenberken, who founded the only school for the blind in Tibet, Braille Without Borders. Both Waste Land and Blindsight won the Audience Award at Berlin Film Festival, making Walker the only filmmaker to have won that award twice.

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.

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. Its contribution to the debate building to the ratification of the New START Treaty earned Walker a nomination for Arms Control Person of the Year[11] The documentary was credited with raising public awareness and understanding of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the 21st century and with helping mobilize support for practical steps to reduce that danger.

Walker's credits in television include directing over a dozen episodes of Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, her first job out of film school, for which she was twice nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing. Her content and commercial work includes directing "Project Daniel" for Intel, which was awarded an AICP Curator's Award and three Bronze Lions at the Cannes Festival of. Creativity[12]

Walker 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.[13]

Two retrospectives of Walker's films have appeared at the DC Environmental Film Festival and 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
  • Achievement in Directing, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival 2014

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2014 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award The Lion's Mouth Opens Nominated
Sheffeld/DocFest Best Short Doc Nominated
Aspen Shorts Fest Special Jury Mention for Best Short Documentary Won
Ashland Independent Film Festival Best Short Film finalist
Rincon International Film Festival Director's Choice Best Doc Won
Mountain Film in Telluride Moving Mountains Prize Nominated
Traverse City Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Short Won
Sheffeld Doc/Fest Best Short Doc David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes) Nominated
Tacoma Film Festival Best Doc Short Won
International Ski History Association Film Award The Crash Reel Won
Cinema Eye Honors Best Nonfiction Film for Television Won
Cinema Eye Honors The Unforgettables Award Won
One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Audience Award Won
Director's Guild Awards Best Documentary Nominated
Emmy Awards Outstanding Informational Longform Program Won
Grierson British Documentary Awards Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme (International) Nominated
Banff Mountain and Film and Book Festival Best Film, Snow Sports Won
The Lion's Mouth Opens
  • Winner, Best Nonfiction Short, Cinema Eye Honors 2015
  • Winner, Best Documentary Short, Real Shorts 2015
  • Winner, Marianna Palka Person of the Year, Huntington's Disease Society of America, 2015
  • Winner, Marianna Palka and Lucy Walker, Global Genes Champions of Hope, 2015
The Crash Reel
  • Winner, Audience Award, SXSW South By Southwest Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Rogue Award – for The Crash Reel and career recognition honor, Ashland Independent Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Audience Award, Dallas International Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Audience Award, Berkshire International Film Festival 2013
  • Top Ten Audience Favorite, Hot Docs Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Best Documentary Special Jury Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, "Making Movies that Matter" Award, MountainFilm in Telluride 2013
  • Winner, Audience Award, Melbourne International Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Audience Award, Berkshire International Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Best Documentary Grand Jury Award, Port Townsend Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Granny Award for Best Documentary, New Hampshire Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, Grand Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival 2013
  • Winner, Best Mountain Culture Film Award, Whistler Film Festival 2013
  • Winner, EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, 2013
  • Winner, Best Extreme Sports Film – Ladek Film Festival 2015
Intel Look Inside – Project Daniel
Make Haste Slowly (documentary short)
  • Winner, Favorite Documentary Short, Napa Valley Film Festival 2013
Secrets of the Mongolian Archers (documentary short)
  • Winner, Special Jury Award, Arica Nativa Film Festival 2013
Waste Land
  • Winner, 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
  • Winner, Audience Award Panorama Publikumspreis for Best Film, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Amnesty International Award, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film, Full Frame Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, HBO Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature, Provincetown International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary, Maui International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film, Paulinia Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Jury Award for Best Film, Paulinia Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Dallas International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, $25,000 Target Filmmaker Award, Dallas International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Best Documentary Golden Space Needle Award, Seattle International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Audience Choice Best Film, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, Durban International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Crystal Heart Best Documentary Award, Heartland Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Human Spirit Award, EcoFocus Film Fest 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature Film, EcoFocus Film Fest 2010
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Jury Award, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Roger's People's Choice Award, Vancouver International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Prêmio Itamaraty for Best Documentary Feature, São Paulo International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Special Jury Prize for Best Feature, Amazonas Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award, IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2010
  • Winner, Audience Award, Stockholm International Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, IDA Pare Lorentz Award, International Documentary Association Awards 2010
  • Winner, Best Documentary, International Documentary Association Awards 2010
  • Winner, Grand Prix du Festival, International Environmental Film Festival 2010
  • Winner, Jury Award, Frozen River Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Best of Festival, Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Best in Festival, Princeton Environmental Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Movies For Grownups Awards 2011
  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature Film Audience Choice Award, Sedona International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Keen Hybrid Life Filmmaker Grant, Boulder International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Audience Award (tie), Environmental Film Festival at Yale 2011
  • Winner, Best Film, Investigation section, Levante International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Best Editing, Investigation section, Levante International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, KEEN Hybrid Life Filmmaker Grant, Boulder International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Sedona International Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Audience Award, Freezone Belgrade Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Green Fire Award, American Conservation Film Festival 2011
  • Winner, Audience Award, Addis Ababa International Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Grande Premio do Cinema Brasileiro 2012
  • Winner, Best Documentary Editing – Pedro Kos, Grande Premio do Cinema Brasileiro 2012
  • Best Documentary nomination, British Independent Film Awards 2006
  • Winner, 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
  • Winner, 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)
  • Winner, Non-Fiction Short Film Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Women In Film National Geographic All Roads Award, Sundance Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Polly Krakora Award for Artistry in Film – The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, DC Environmental Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Laurissilva Award for Best Film, Madeira Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Short Film, Florida Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, Best Documentary, Nevada City Film Festival 2012
  • Winner, 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
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film, Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival 2013
Countdown to Zero
  • Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2010 (out of competition)
  • Best Motion Picture – Documentary nomination, International Press Academy Satellite Film Awards 2010
  • Best Documentary DVD nomination, International Press Academy Satellite Film Awards 2011
  • 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
  • Winner, Audience Award Panorama Publikumspreis for Best Film, Blindsight, Berlin International Film Festival 2007
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film (tie), American Film Institute, AFI Film Festival 2006
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Documentary, Palm Springs International Film Festival 2007
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film, Ghent Film Festival 2007
  • Winner, "Humanism and Love to Life" Award, Kinolitopys XII Kyiv International Documentary Film Festival, 2013
Devil's Playground
  • Winner, Best Documentary, AFI DV Fest 2001
  • Winner, Grand Prize Best Film, AFI DV Fest 2001
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Film, Sarasota International Film Festival 2002
  • Winner, 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. ^ "About Lucy Walker". lucywalkerfilm.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "The Illbient Ambience". The Wire, #154. December 1996.
  4. ^ "the AMP lists". My.execpc.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  5. ^ Sound Unbound, Sampling Digital Music and Culture with frequent collaborator Moby. Paul d. Miller (ed.). MIT Press, 2008.
  6. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Aphex-Twins-Selected-Ambient-Volume/dp/1623568900/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/media/film/Crash-and-Burn-Lucy-Walker-The-Crash-Reel.html
  8. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (5 December 2010). "Honor Roll 2010 - “Waste Land” Director Lucy Walker". IndieWire.com
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (3 December 2010)"IDA honors 'Waste Land'". Variety.
  10. ^ "When a trashy chick is cool". The Fallout Girl blog. 27 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Vote for the 2010 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year". armscontrol.org. 2010.
  12. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol19tt3VWhQ
  13. ^ Salemi, Michelle (2010-09-30). "Lucy Walker: Instructively engaging". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 

External links[edit]