Discipline: Film/Video – experimental

Courtney Stephens

Discipline: Film/Video – experimental
Region: Los Angeles, CA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2019, 2024

Courtney Stephens is a writer and director of non-fiction and experimental films. Her films have been exhibited at The National Gallery of Art, The Barbican, BOZAR, Arnolfini Arts, the Wexner Center, Walker Art Center, The Royal Geographical Society, BAMPFA, and in film festivals including the Berlinale, the Viennale, IDFA, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival.

The American Sector, her documentary (co-directed with Fellow Pacho Velez who did pre-production while in residence) about fragments of the Berlin Wall transplanted to the U.S., was named one of the best films of 2021 in The New Yorker. She worked on the film while at MacDowell in 2019. Her essay film, Terra Femme, comprised of amateur travel footage shot by women in the early 20th century, was a New York Times critic's pick and premiered at the Museum of Modern Art. It has toured widely as a live performance.

Stephens is the recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship to India, two MacDowell Fellowships, and grants from the Sloan Foundation, California Humanities, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art.

During her 2019 residency, Stephens, worked on a mid-length experimental film, Change of Address, featuring footage from Bryce Canyon, UT. The film considers the fossil record, female itinerancy, and motherhood, and also contains footage shot at MacDowell. Stephens also collaborated with fellow residents Joshua Gen Solondz and JJJJJerome Ellis on a short film Perfect Fifths, which featured Ellis tuning the piano in his studio while discussing his day job as a New York City piano tuner and his interest in personal and acoustic intervals.

At MacDowell in 2024, Stephens edited multiple film projects, including a feature-length documentary about controversial dolphin researcher John C. Lilly. The film is a collaboration between Stephens and Fellow Michael Almereyda and is due to premiere in the fall of 2024.


Delta Omicron

Courtney Stephens worked in the Delta Omicron studio.

Delta Omicron Studio was funded by members of the international musical fraternity in 1927. The building design is somewhat medieval in character, with an unusual cedar shingle pattern, a steeply pitched slate roof, intersecting gables, and small windows. After a 2016 deep-energy renovation, Delta Omicron is now one of the most energy efficient studio on the property…

Learn more