Kirsten Johnson (born 1965) is an American documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. She is mostly known for her camera work on several well-known feature-length documentaries such as Citizenfour and The Oath. In 2016, she released Cameraperson, a film which consists of various pieces of footage from her decades of work all over the world as a documentary cinematographer. Directed by Johnson herself, Cameraperson went on to be praised for its handling of themes about documentary ethics interwoven with Johnson's personal reflection on her experiences. Movies that Johnson has either filmed or directed have received numerous nominations and awards over the years, and she is now a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Johnson is based in Manhattan where she is an adjunct professor at New York University. Her brother, Kirk Johnson, is the Sant Director of Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.Johnson co-parents her twins with a married couple, painter Boris Torres and filmmaker Ira Sachs. She, Sachs, and Torres were in similar social circles, became friends, and decided to have the experience of parenting together. They now live in neighboring apartments in Manhattan, and split the twins' time equally between both parties.
Johnson was raised in Wyoming, with a very religious family who placed restrictions on her access to film and television. She had no exposure to the medium until she attended university.
Movies & TV shows
Tuktoyaktuk is an Indigenous community in the northern part of the country. During one of the last summers before climate change forced Tuk's coastal population to relocate to more habitable land, the...
Dick Johnson Is Dead
The director is trying to find a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive. She celebrates Dr with moviemaking magic and dark humor. Dick Johnson staged fantasies of death and beyond in his last years....
On the Record
The haunting story of music executive Drew Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward and publicly accuse hip-hop mogul R...
In a village in Thailand, Pomm works in a care center for Europeans with Alzheimer's. While she is separated from her children, she helps Elisabeth during the final stages of her life, as Maya, a new ...
Elliott Erwitt - Silence Sounds Good
Elliott Erwitt has spent his entire adult life taking photographs, of presidents, popes and movie stars, as well as regular people and their pets. His work is iconic in world culture while his life is...
A rural American town suffering economically from factory closings finds an unconventional route to recovery with the help of MASS MoCA.
A Thousand Thoughts
Filmmaker Sam Green (The Weather Underground), in collaboration with writer and editor Joe Bini (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Grizzly Man), takes the stage with the legendary classical-music gr...
Khader El-Yateem, an Arab American Pastor from Palestine, and Linda Sarsour, organizer of the Women's March on Washington, come together in the wake of President Trump's anti-Muslim policies. With Sar...
Crime + Punishment
Over four years of unprecedented access, the story of a brave group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and one unrelenting private investigator who, amidst a landmark lawsuit, risk everything to e...
Cradle of Champions
Three extraordinary young people battle to change their lives through the three-month odyssey of the New York Daily News Golden Gloves - the biggest, oldest, most important amateur boxing tournament i...
5 Movies · 1 TV show
Betting on Zero
Controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman is on a crusade to expose global nutritional giant Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history while Herbalife execs claim Ackman is a market manipula...
32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide
Traces the life and mental illness of New York artist and photographer Ruth Litoff, and her sister's struggle to come to terms with her tragic suicide.
A documentary portrait of power, betrayal, truth and sacrifice is what Laura Poitras finds herself caught between when she captures the story of the founder of WikiLeaks.
St. Louis, Missouri's atomic past as a processing center for the atomic bomb led to the illegal dumping of Manhattan Project radioactive waste throughout North County neighborhoods.
Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge
A chronicle of the last 50 years of American music, politics and popular culture can be found through the perspective of Rolling Stone magazine. An exhilarating visual and musical experience of the ma...
The Joy of Extreme Possibility
Work in progress.
A Thousand Mothers
Set at an ancient nunnery above the majestic Irrawaddy River, A THOUSAND MOTHERS is an unprecedented look at the lives of Buddhist nuns in Sagaing, Myanmar.
Clinics in the US have taken their fight to the courts against TRAP laws, which were passed by conservative state legislatures. Follow the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the fr...
Audrie & Daisy
The stories of two American high school students, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, are included in a documentary film about three cases of rape. At the time of the sexual assaults, Pott and Coleman were...
As a visually radical memoir, CAMERAPERSON draws on the remarkable footage that filmmakers have shot and uses it to illuminate moments and situations that have personally affected her. What emerges is...
5 Movies · 1 TV show
A Woman Like Me
The real story of director Alex Sichel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, is interwoven with the fictional story of Anna Seashell, who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. The film follo...
A U.S. military surveillance balloon floats on a tether high above Kabul, Afghanistan. Its capacities are both highly classified and deeply mysterious.
Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter
Some of this year's most talked about talent open up about the challenges and triumphs of creating critically acclaimed series and performances.
Native American Natural Foods is one of the only private enterprises on the Pine Ridge Reservation. When their new energy bar gains national distribution, it gives new hope to a struggling community.
The New Yorker is the benchmark for the single-panel cartoon. This light-hearted and sometimes poignant look at the art and humor of the iconic drawings shows why they have inspired and even baffled u...
The Armor of Light
The journey of an evangelical minister trying to preach about gun violence. Reverend Rob Schenck, an anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, questioned whether being pro-gun was...
Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity
Born to Fly pushes the boundaries between action and art, daring us to join choreographer Elizabeth Streb and her dancers in pursuit of human flight.
That Film About Money
What is the real value of a dollar? You think that a dollar bill is money and that banks are where your cash is stored and safeguarded. Well, you’re wrong. Like, really wrong.
The children of "Happy Valley" were victimized for years, by a key member of the legendary Penn State college football program. But were Jerry Sandusky’s crimes an open secret? With rare access, direc...
Forty years before WikiLeaks and the NSA scandal, there was Media, Pennsylvania. In 1971, eight activists plotted an intricate break-in to the local FBI offices to leak stolen documents and expose the...
The Wound and the Gift
The Gift is a feature-length film exploring a major transformation in peoples' relationships with animals.
Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald traveled to Hong Kong for the first time to meet Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
Seeds of Time
Cary Fowler's journey to save the foundation of our food supply in a new era of climate change is the subject of Seeds of Time.
ANNIE: It's the Hard-Knock Life, from Script to Stage
Documentary - The documentary directed by Joshua Seftel follows the revival production of the Broadway musical including casting, rehearsals, and opening night. - Andy Blankenbuehler, Lilla Crawford...
Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck takes us on a 2-year journey inside the challenging, contradictory and colossal rebuilding efforts in post-earthquake Haiti.
Here One Day
When filmmaker Kathy Leichter moved back into her childhood home after her mother's suicide, she discovered a hidden box of audiotapes. Sixteen years passed before she had the courage to delve into th...
The Invisible War
The epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military, the institutions that perpetuate and cover up its existence, and its profound personal and social consequences are the subject of an investigat...
Evangelical Christians are calling out for a second sexual revolution: chastity. As a counter-movement of the attitudes and practices of today's culture, one in six girls in the US has vowed to remain...
A Place at the Table
The film shows the plight of 49 million Americans who don't have enough to eat. A single mother, a small-town policeman and a farmer are some of the people who put food on the table.
Filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans' personal data.
The War We Are Living
Two extraordinary Afro-Colombian women fight to hold onto their gold-rich land and defy paramilitary death threats in the remote mountains of Colombia. Part of the PBS series Women, War & Peace.
I Came to Testify
Sixteen women who had been imprisoned and raped by Serb-led forces in Foca, Bosnia, testify in an international court of law.
Yelling To The Sky
A seventeen year old girl is left to fend for herself in a neighborhood where her survival is uncertain as her family falls apart.
Tells the story of two men, Abu Jandal and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a course of events that led them to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, and the U...
No Woman, No Cry
Pregnancy is a death sentence for more than half a million women every year, but their deaths would be preventable if they could obtain the health care they needed. This documentary focuses on the per...
The Edge of Joy
The Edge of Joy follows an ensemble cast of Nigerian doctors, midwives and religious leaders as they battle the world's highest maternal mortality rate.
An indictment of politicians who lobby for anti-gay legislation.
Waiting for Mercy: The Case Against Mohammed Hossain and Yassin Aref
This documentary tells the story of an FBI sting that took place in Albany in 2004. The idea was to entrap Yassin Aref, 37 and Mohammed Hossain, 51. In 2006, the two men were sentenced to 15 years in ...
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.
The story of the first women in the US. It will be sent into ground combat.
Throw Down Your Heart
A film crew follows a well-known banjo player on his travels to Africa, where he learns about the instrument's origins.
Captain Mike Across America
During the 2004 presidential election, Michael Moore set off on a 60 city tour (mostly colleges), making stops in the 20 battleground states, to help raise voting awareness.
How Much Is Your Life Worth?
Documentary looking at the work of the attorneys and adjusters involved in cases of wrongful death, a moving and enlightening story of how tragedy and injustice are computed and integrated into financ...
Small Steps: Creating the High School for Contemporary Arts
This film follows students, staff and parents through the first four years of the High School for Contemporary Arts, an experimental "small school" housed within one of the most dangerous schools in t...
Will you kill for a good story? If you are James Cooper, a 28 year old copy editor with dreams of literary stardom, you will. After all, your girlfriend was just crowned the "voice of a new America" b...
The story of six people who are determined to end the sufferings in Sudan's war-torn Darfur is told in this acclaimed documentary. An American activist, an international prosecutor, a Sudanese rebel, ...
Michael Moore encouraged young people to vote.
Forget the pie charts, color-coded maps and pundits. In a triumph of documentary storytelling, ELECTION DAY combines eleven stories--all shot simultaneously on November 2, 2004, from dawn until long p...
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Kirby Dick's provocative documentary investigates the secretive and inconsistent process by which the Motion Picture Association of America rates films, revealing the organization's underhanded effort...
Welcome Back to the Barrio
A film that chronicles a young mans return to the streets where he grew up and the events that unfold after he reunites with a childhood friend.
In the new Rwanda, women are at the forefront of change; transforming the country from the ground up and planning for a peaceful future.
The Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event of September 11 to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2000, Illinois Gov. George Ryan ordered a moratorium on the death penalty after university students uncovered new evidence proving the innocence of 13 men on death row. This documentary follows the...
A Decade Under the Influence
A documentary looks at the decade of the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. The influential directors of that time were interviewed by some of today's best filmmakers.
Rokia: Voice of a New Generation
Documentary about the life and career of Rokia Traoré, a musician from Mali, an African country, who is one of the few women in her country, perhaps the only one, who manages to have a career in music...
A 2003 documentary film about women on Wall Street following the lives of four Wall Street women - a research analyst, a currency trader, an NYSE floor broker and a rookie investment banker.
Baba, a young Ghanaian woman, goes in search of her father for his blessing on her impending marriage. This turns to a nightmare as he insists she a different man, and that she undergo female genital ...
2 Movies · 2 TV shows
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher and author of deconstructionism.
Two Towns of Jasper
Using two separate filmmaking teams (an all-white crew filming white residents and an all-black camera crew filming black residents), TWO TOWNS OF JASPER captures very different racial views by townsf...
The series was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and was broadcast on PBS. The last host of the weekly one-hour series was a veteran journalist. Wide angle began broadcasting on PBS in 2002 to expand...
Brother Born Again
Filmmaker Julia Pimsleur used to make up elaborate lies about her brother Marc, rather than explain that he had dropped out of college, turned his back on his Jewish heritage and moved to a Christian ...
Journey to the West: Chinese Medicine Today
Journey To The West is a contemporary exploration of the ways in which Chinese medicine - including acupuncture and herbal remedies - is being practiced today.
Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle
There is a documentary about the effects of globalization on Haiti.
Trembling Before G-d
A portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation.
Six years after I left my country, Brazil, I was sent an old sound reel in the post and I discovered a recording of my parent's wedding ceremony. I was twenty-six. It was the first time I'd ever heard...
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
James Forman, a 31-year-old public defender and son of a civil rights leader, provides representation for black youth in Washington, D.C., who can't afford their own attorneys in this riveting documen...
Bintou in Paris
A "fictional documentary" concerning the volatile topic of female excision, Bintou In Paris tells the story of a young Malinese mother faced with the critical decision of whether or not to excise her ...