Ross McElwee

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Ross McElwee
Brightl.jpg
McElwee shooting a scene from Bright Leaves
Born (1947-07-21) July 21, 1947 (age 71)
Charlotte, North Carolina[1]
Occupation Filmmaker, Professor
Website rossmcelwee.com

Ross McElwee is an American documentary filmmaker known for his autobiographical films about his family and personal life, usually interwoven with an episodic journey that intersects with larger political or philosophical issues. His humorous and often self-deprecating films refer to cultural aspects of his Southern upbringing. He received the Career Award at the 2007 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Early life and education[edit]

Ross McElwee grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a traditional Southern family. [2] His father was a respected surgeon, and appears often as a figure in McElwee's early films. He later attended Brown University, where he studied under novelist John Hawkes [3], and graduated in 1971 with a degree in creative writing. While at Brown, he also cross-registered in still photography courses at Rhode Island School of Design. [4]

After graduating, McElwee lived for a year in Brittany, France, where he worked for a while as a wedding photographer's assistant. Upon returning to the US, he was admitted into MIT's new graduate filmmaking program, and graduated in 1977 with an M.S. While at MIT, he studied under documentarians Richard Leacock and Ed Pincus, both pioneers of the cinéma vérité movement, with whom he refined his first-person narrative approach. "It was a new way of making films, to eliminate the film crew. You lose some technical polish, but it's much more intimate and less intimidating to your subjects. It allows you to shoot with the autonomy and flexibility of a photojournalist."[5]

Career[edit]

McElwee's film career began in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina where he found summer employment as a studio cameraman for local evening news, housewife helper shows, and "gospel hour" programs. [6] Later, he freelanced as second cameraman for documentarians D.A. Pennebaker, and later for John Marshall in Namibia. McElwee started filming and producing his own documentaries in 1976.[7]

McElwee has been teaching filmmaking at Harvard University since 1986; he is now a professor in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.[8]

McElwee has made ten feature-length documentaries, as well as several shorter films. [9] Most of his films were shot in his homeland of the American South, among them the critically acclaimed Sherman's March (1986), Time Indefinite, Six O'Clock News, and Bright Leaves [10].He collaborated with his wife, Marilyn Levine [11], on Something to do with the Wall [12] His 2011 film, Photographic Memory, breaks new ground in its fully digital process, and in its open development and production structure.

Recognition[edit]

Sherman's March won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. [13] It was cited by the National Board of Film Critics as one of the five best films of 1986.[14] Time Indefinite won a best film award in several festivals and was distributed theatrically throughout the U.S. Six O'Clock News premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast nationally over PBS's Frontline. [15]

McElwee's films have been included in the festivals of Cannes, Berlin, London, Venice, Vienna, Rotterdam, Florence, and Sydney. .[16] Retrospectives include the Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Retrospectives have also been held in Paris, Tehran, Moscow, Seoul, Lisbon, and Quito. McElwee has received fellowships and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Film Institute. .[17] He has twice been awarded fellowships in filmmaking by the National Endowment for the Arts. Sherman's March was chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000 as an "historically significant American motion picture." .[18]

McElwee's film Bright Leaves premiered at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight, and was nominated for Best Documentary of 2004 by both the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. .[19]

In Paraguay premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2008. [20] McElwee returned to Venice in 2011 to present the premier of Photographic Memory.[21]

Filmography[edit]

Director[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ross McElwee - Biography". ROSS MCELWEE / HOMEMADE MOVIES INC. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  2. ^ FILMMAKER ROSS MCELWEE EXPLORES A HIGHER POWER: TELEVISION-Chicago Tribune
  3. ^ Play-Doc 2012-ROSS MCELWE-Special Program-International Documentary Festival
  4. ^ FILMMAKER ROSS MCELWEE EXPLORES A HIGHER POWER: TELEVISION-Chicago Tribune
  5. ^ Ken Gewertz. "The world according to McElwee: A documentary filmmaker's unique personal vision" by Ken Gewertz, Harvard News Office, Harvard Gazette, 21 Apr 2005.
  6. ^ Ross McElwee-Biography
  7. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  8. ^ "Ross McElwee". ves.fas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  9. ^ Film Quarterly-FRONTLINE-PBS
  10. ^ MoMA
  11. ^ Ross McElwee Interview #1-FRONTLINE-PBS
  12. ^ WorldCat.org
  13. ^ Ross McElwee’s “Sherman’s March”: “A meditation on the possibility of romantic love in the South today”-Night Flight
  14. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  15. ^ Ross McElwee Biography-FRONTLINE-PBS
  16. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  17. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  18. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  19. ^ People-Ross McElwee-The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University
  20. ^ VEINCE 2008-VARDA & McELWEE-BY HARLAN KENNEDY
  21. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (2011-07-27). "Venice Horizons hosts Demme, Franco pix". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  22. ^ Backyard and Ross McElwee’s Observational Comedy·Senses of Cinema
  23. ^ Oddball Films:Seduced and Abandoned in Florida - Fri. Oct. 19 - 8PM
  24. ^ Backyard and Ross McElwee’s Observational Comedy·Senses of Cinema
  25. ^ Backyard and Ross McElwee’s Observational Comedy·Senses of Cinema
  26. ^ Ross McElwee Biography-FRONTLINE-PBS

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]