Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson Arrives in Theaters

On Film / In Theaters — Sep 9, 2016

This article, originally posted on September 9, has been updated with the latest news and reviews. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent additions.

We’re proud to be releasing Kirsten Johnson’s remarkable debut feature, Cameraperson, which opens today at New York’s IFC Center. Weaving together footage from Johnson’s twenty-five-year career as a globetrotting documentary cinematographer, this revelatory self-portrait interrogates the ethics of storytelling and the relationship between filmmaker and subject. To celebrate the release, we’ve compiled a selection of writing about the film.

  • In the New York Times, A. O. Scott praises Johnson’s “remarkably intimate” film for inviting us “to reconsider our assumptions about the ethical and emotional foundations of nonfiction filmmaking.”
  • “There are few such personal films that make one so aware of the human presence behind every shot you view,” writes Nicolas Rapold for Brooklyn magazine.
  • “In generating intimacy and trust, can you give back what was extended?” asks Johnson in a new interview with BOMB.Cameraperson is looking at that question.”
  • Film Comment’s Michael Koresky calls the film “a labor of love of the highest order . . . the footage has been brought together so that viewers can muse upon the potentially endless ways the camera can be used.”

  • On an afternoon with the New Yorker’s Tad Friend, Johnson discusses her love of filming people and recalls some of the harrowing footage her camera has captured over the years.
  • Johnson takes her camera into the streets of New York for a Reverse Shot Talkie.
  • “From the time I started holding a camera I have been in a constant state of struggle with whether it’s okay to film people or not,” says Johnson in a new interview with the Brooklyn Rail. “The amount of politics that you need to actually understand the explicit ethical challenges of a particular situation is outrageous.”
  • “All this could have easily become a cacophony of disconnected sights and sounds, but Cameraperson unfolds with beauty and purpose—mixing the fluidity of a dream with the acuity of an essay,” writes Bilge Ebiri for the Village Voice.
  • In the Guardian, Johnson speaks on the challenges of being a filmmaker who seeks to instigate political change. “We most often fail completely,” she says, “but there are moments of grace even among the moments of compromise and betrayal.”
  • Listen to Johnson on Indiewire’s Filmmaker Toolkit podcast:

Update (October 31, 2016):

  • Cameraperson becomes one of those rare films that snap you wide awake as soon as you begin to watch, and listen,” writes Stuart Klawans in The Nation.
  • The 2016 Gotham Award nominations were announced in October, and Cameraperson is among the contenders for best documentary.
  • Cinema Eye, an organization that “recognizes outstanding craft and artistry in nonfiction filmmaking,” has honored Johnson as one of the year’s eighteen most significant documentary subjects in its list of Unforgettables.
  • Cameraperson has been selected to play in the Short List section of DOC NYC in November.