Profile of HUMANITAS Winner Debra Granik in The New York Times

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Granik-NYT-mainDebra Granik is an independent filmmaker whose credits include “Down to the Bone,” “Winter’s Bone” and, most recently, the documentary “Stray Dog.”

READING I’m rereading a collection of autobiographical sketches published in 1906 — “The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans as Told by Themselves,” edited by Hamilton Holt. Hearing the words of ordinary people is very dear to documentary filmmakers. Also Fergus M. Bordewich’s history of the Underground Railroad, “Bound for Canaan.” Bordewich writes history like a film I want to see. He is so true to his cause and so affectionate toward the things he investigates. And “Odysseus in America,” by Jonathan Shay, about combat trauma. He uses the sociology of ancient warriors and applies it to the present.

LISTENING When I’m at my computer, I tune in to radio stations from around the world, anything with non-English lyrics. When I’m driving I enjoy podcasts such as “Inquiring Minds,” “You’re the Expert” and New York City history from “The Bowery Boys.”

WATCHING I enjoyed “Sacro GRA,” by Gianfranco Rosi, which is a series of portraits of people living along a congested beltway around Rome. I also enjoy the outstanding programming at Maysles Cinema. This is a special screening room up in Harlem run by the Maysles film company and family. I recently saw “Salesman” there, which is the core film on the syllabus of any introductory course in documentary film.

FOLLOWING The website Nonfics has writing about documentaries by people who love them. The information and details they give are qualitatively different from other reviews on the Internet. Also Notebook from MUBI, which is a digital magazine of international cinema and film culture. They put an arm around filmmakers and show there is a space for films that are smaller and humbler and different than the mainstream.

Read more at The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/opinion/sunday/debra-granik.html?_r=0

UncategorizedJosh Neimark