Watch: First Trailer for Kirsten Johnson's Powerful Doc 'Cameraperson'

August 22, 2016
Source: Vimeo

Cameraperson Doc Trailer

"A transcendent documentary experience…" Janus Films has debuted the official trailer for an outstanding documentary called Cameraperson, a very unique cinematic experience compiling the 25-year career of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Johnson has been working as a cinematographer for documentaries for a long time, working on projects including Citizenfour, Where to Invade Next, The Invisible War, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Fahrenheit 9/11 and many others. To make this film, she compiled various bits and pieces of footage from all of her projects and edited them together with a very vague narrative. I luckily had the chance to see this doc and it's incredible - a deeply visceral experience. I felt every emotion watching it, from happiness to fear to sadness to joy to disgust, and was amazed by the film she created. Don't miss this.

Here's the first official trailer (+ poster) for Kirsten Johnson's doc Cameraperson, direct from Vimeo:

Cameraperson Poster

A boxing match in Brooklyn. Postwar life in Bosnia. The daily routine of a Nigerian midwife. An intimate family moment at home. These scenes and others weave into Cameraperson a tapestry of footage from documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson's 25-year career. Johnson explores, through a series of episodic juxtapositions, the relationships between image-makers and their subjects, objectivity and intervention, and truth and storytelling. A hybrid work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is both a moving glimpse into one filmmaker's personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world. Directed by cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. This first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and also played at SXSW and Hot Docs. Janus Films will release this in select theaters starting September 9th. A must see if you love docs.

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Reader Feedback - 10 Comments


I don't know what to say. Less and less do I believe in a beautiful souls who represent the truth, whether it is ugly or not, of the world. Camera represents many different things, but I tend to believe that many feature films say much more realistic stories than documentaries about the real world. So, I'm not sure about this ...

shiboleth on Aug 22, 2016


Difficult to understand the point you're trying to make, shiboleth. Yes, the camera represents many different things, I suppose, but what? It's simply a recording device. I don't know if I agree that feature films tell more realistic stories than documentaries. The former is fiction; they fictionalize the truth. The latter document the truth; or at least should. Two different forms. Feature films also tend to want to entertain the masses and make a lot of money while doing so and have nothing to do with the truth. At least doc films attempt, or should attempt, to document life as it is. At least you admitted that you're not sure about this...nice honesty from you. Either/ depends on the filmmaker and their intentions whatever form they are working in. Having said that, I found this trailer to be boring and ineffectual and just not done very well. Difficult to make a good doc film and most are not very good. Later. Cheers.

Bo on Aug 22, 2016


The Look of Silence was very good.

tarek on Aug 22, 2016


So I heard, as was the first film on that subject, The Act off Killing. I read all about both of them and didn't feel compelled to see either one. I almost generated enough interest to see the first one, The Act of Killing, showing these monsters actually re-enacting how they killed massive amounts of people...almost. I feared that I would get so angry and upset that there was no purpose after I read all about the film and saw footage. The film you mentioned also didn't appeal to me. I hope it helped the surviving family members to confront these men, but I see no real reason for doing so as it's really ineffective and all for show, to me, so to speak. Later.

Bo on Aug 22, 2016


What's more interesting, beyond any historical fact, is to see how far a human being can go in the dark side when his mind is prisoner of a perverted ideology. The psychological dimension behind the confrontation of the victim and the executioner who doesn't show any tiny bit of remorse is worth a watch.

tarek on Aug 22, 2016


Ah...well...perhaps. Still, very well said. Very well articulated, tarek. Thanks.

Bo on Aug 22, 2016


I understand you Bo, But first of all, I somehow feel a need to apologize for overstretching some arguments and perspectives but I think that some of them deserve it. Anyway, I strongly believe that a lot of documentaries do fictionalize what the truth is. You say 'a recording device'. Everything is recording device, even pencil, right? But does anybody use it objectively. I doubt it and I also think that it is impossible to use it objectively. Documentary is supposed to show true side of what is recorded but it also can be fictionalized in its 'cinéma vérité' fashion. What I want to say, a camera is not neutral, objective device, it's pretty much subjective. And it also always adds something fictional just as much as feature films, but in other way. But I take it as its advantage since it takes a good cameraman to do good what one is doing.So, if I document filmically with camera something, I do it the best I can (if I want to do it good). But the fact is that I did it and that it is not an objective process. Not for me not for anybody else. However, it also might be the master piece but also a rubbish, nothing worthy of mention which is a signature of our subjective achievement. That's why I often tend to appreciate fictionalized films over documentaries since they are really telling us what they do, they add something to reality and they are honest about it. Believing that documentaries do it directly, without adding something new and fictional, is, on my account, an illusion... And apparently from quite different perspective, I totally agree with you about this trailer ... Cheers ...

shiboleth on Aug 23, 2016


Well, once again, very well said, shiboleth. I agree and what more can I say? You said it all and very well indeed. I do not like most films, fiction or documentary, for the very reasons that you state. You'll get no argument from me here. Oh, I guess I could argue with you about you saying the camera in not neutral. Of course it is! It's who is behind the camera that is not neutral, which is the point you were making I believe...before you made this little The camera, as well as the liked that...are neutral. It's who is welding them that is not. righto cheerio? Like I said, simply a recording device...and a neutral one at I beat a dead horse here. Peace!

Bo on Aug 23, 2016


You know, I am almost thinking of starting some philosophical discussion about what is being an object and what is being a subject. A recording device and a man behind it.But then again, I think it's a too big of maneuver for such a little difference in attitude. Since I think we understand each other on this. I like when you say: later gator ...

shiboleth on Aug 23, 2016


Well executed. I had no interest whatsoever and now I am interested. Good job.

DAVIDPD on Aug 22, 2016

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