Discipline: Film/Video – documentary

Anne Aghion

Discipline: Film/Video – documentary
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2011

Anne Aghion has been praised as a filmmaker of poetic vision, and a unique documentarian whose multiple award-winning films, in the words of one critic, "pull us deep into the social fabric" of the places she covers—be it on the hillsides of rural Rwanda after genocide (My Neighbor My Killer & The Gacaca Trilogy), in scientific expeditions to the vast, silent ice fields of Antarctica (Ice People), or in the paradoxical lushness of Nicaragua's urban slums (Se le movio el piso – A portrait of Managua).

Two brief quotes from reviews in The New York Times, which describe her as a "canny portraitist" in whose work "emotions remain crystal clear," give a sense of Aghion's mission. At the heart of her films is a need to understand how people cope with extreme circumstances. Once drawn to a subject, she sets out to capture not the facts or figures, but the emotional landscape — the part of the story that speaks to anyone, anywhere. It is a form of filmmaking that values time, an absence of prejudgment or agenda and, above all, the patience to listen.

Her films, which have won numerous awards (Emmy, Cannes Film Festival Official Selection, Gotham Awards Best Documentary Nominee, Unesco Fellini Prize, among others) have resonated for an astonishing range of audiences across the globe, from government leaders to news junkies, adventure travelers to cinephiles, or to communities in war-torn nations from Cambodia to the Balkans.



Anne Aghion worked in the Putnam studio.

The Graphics Studio (as it was originally named) was converted to its present use in 1972–1974 through a grant from the Putnam Foundation, and originally served the property as both a power house and pump house. Well water was pumped from a large cistern to Hillcrest, the Foreman’s Cottage, and the lower buildings closer to…

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