Friday, June 22, 2012
One of the highlights of the LA Film Festival this past week was an intimate reception that Liberty Mutual Insurance tossed in honor of Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker.
The media and a smattering of fans were invited to screen a couple of her short docs - "Magnolia" and "Brazil" - in the filmmakers lounge last evening.
The two well-crafted documentaries are two of four Ms. Walker directed for an International Sports Series.
“The project funded by Liberty Mutual Insurance explore the possibilities, goals, and trials of athletes from around the globe (going to the Olympics),” according to the organizers of the much-anticipated event.
“The films illustrate how world-class athletes overcome obstacles and display extreme dedication to honor their responsibilities to their families, sports, coaches, and countries.
On film, the athletes define what responsibility means to them as International competitors.
The two docs screened last night in the filmmakers lounge beautifully-showcased Walker's unique skills as a competent hands-on documentarian.
For example, her “shots” were crisp and precise – and thus - resonated with the viewer.
Walker – a pretty woman (who turned out in a smart white dinner jacket and chic black ensemble) - is quite articulate, too.
When I asked if it was her dream to be a director since she was a little girl, she was quick on the uptake.
“I used to film plays,” she beamed in response.
After that, her creativity blossomed from there when she focused on actual directing.
Walker has been blessed with a distinguished career to date – a list of credits, in fact – that any filmmaker would give his eye-teeth for.
Her last film – "The Tsunami and Cherry Blossom" (2011) – nabbed her the Polly Krakora Excellence in Filmmaking Award, the Women in Film National Geographic All Roads Award, the Short Film Jury Award: Non-Fiction at Sundance (2012), and an Oscar nomination.
Walker graduated with first class honors from Oxford and then won a Fulbright to attend NYU’s Graduate Film Program.
When I quizzed her about the potential challenges she has had to face as a female director involved in the sports arena (essentially a man's world?) she shrugged off any notion that it was a barrier.
“I love sports. I just jump into the project, happy that I’ve been given the opportunity,” she underscored in so many words.
The talented director intends to tackle the subject of snowboarding in her next doc.
Just betcha, she’ll nab it.
To view a video clip of Ms. Walker at the function surf to this link at my YouTube site:
See 'ya at the festival!