Kirsten Johnson


Kirsten Johnson has worked as an independent documentary cinematographer and director committed to human rights questions and visual creativity since 1989. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature--length documentaries and has been credited on countless others as “Additional Camera." She directed “The Above” which premiered at the New York Film Festival as a part of The Intercept’s Field of Vision launch, spearheaded by Laura Poitras. Her collaboration with Poitras is longstanding, credited as cinematographer on the Oscar- winning “Citizenfour,” the upcoming series "Asylum" on Julien Assange, has shot footage that will be appear in Poitras' new visual work for her Spring 2016 solo show of at the Whitney Museum, and shared the 2012 Sundance Cinematography Award with Poitras for “The Oath.” She is also a long-time collaborator with Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, shooting the Oscar- nominated “The Invisible War,” “Outrage,” “This Film is Not Yet Rated” and “Derrida.” In 2004, “Deadline,” which she co--directed with Katy Chevigny, premiered at Sundance, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award. Her first documentary feature, “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, which later appeared on HBO. Her cinematography is featured in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the Oscar--nominated short by Sandy McLeod "Asylum,” the Emmy winners “Ladies First” and “We Came to Testify,” Tribeca Winner “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” and Sundance premiere documentaries, including “A Place at the Table” and “American Standoff,” among others. “Cameraperson” is her third feature--length documentary as a director. Her early experiences filmmaking were shaped by an invitation to work with Djibril Diop Mambety and Ousmane Sembene in West Africa, inspiring her to apply to the French National Film School (La Femis), where she studied cinematography. Throughout her career, the films she has shot have won and been nominated for Academy Awards, won major festival audience awards and been seen by tens of millions of people. She teaches a class in “Visual Thinking” at the NYU Graduate Journalism Department, a course in cinematography at SVA, and often leads workshops for young camerapeople and documentarians under the auspices of the Arab Art and Culture Fund in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.

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