It might be a bit too reductive to call attention to the fact that the director of The Above is formidably tall. That is, it might be reductive if Kirsten Johnson didn’t readily do the same. She thinks a lot about her place in the world, about who she is and what she represents to the people she films. When it comes to The Above, her new documentary for Field of Vision, Johnson takes on the parallels between her own camera and that of the surveillance blimp that constantly hovers within the frames of her film. She’s as voluble and direct in person as her work is spare and allusive; The Above is an elegant visual expression of the urgency and density of her ideas. An acclaimed cinematographer, Johnson has also worked with Kirby Dick on several documentaries — Derrida, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, The Invisible War — and collaborated with Field of Vision’s Laura Poitras on her last two features, Citizenfour (which won an Academy Award for best documentary), and The Oath (winner of the Sundance Cinematography Award). A director in her own right — Johnson made the feature documentary Deadline with Katy Chevigny in 2004 — she shepherded the footage that comprises The Above through different shoots and guises before it took on the form of this eight-minute short. The following interview was conducted the day before the film’s premiere at the New York Film Festival.

How did you find out about the surveillance blimp? Johnson: I was filming in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009, working on Women, War & Peace. I saw the blimp and it blew my mind. I had no idea that we were doing that. It was so provocative to me as a visual person. The sky always feels like the territory that frees us from the complexity of human society, and suddenly to see this American thing in their sky was so shocking. I kept thinking of what would it feel like if we had a blimp from another country floating in our sky. And then I just became obsessed with how it looked from different angles. And how wherever I was it could see me. Because I think about lenses a lot, the “if you can see it, it can see you” idea was very provocative to me. Now, I was raised Seventh Adventist, I believed as a child. And there were a couple of different bible verses that basically say that god knows your thoughts before you think them. So that’s always been a primary question in the life of my mind, and I’m reminded of it when I go to Muslim countries because of the call the prayer. I think about how the call to prayer is a sound, is in the air, and there’s a pervasiveness of the ideas, they can reach you anywhere, wherever you are.

It finds you.

Johnson: It’s there with you. Then when the blimp was there, I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. It’s all here, and acting itself out in this visual way. I was making a different film, but I kept searching for the blimp everywhere I was. And I went on a hike to this hilltop in Kabul, and I couldn’t believe how above the world I felt, and yet the blimp was still above me. It’s very disorienting because sometimes it seems bigger or smaller. Nels Bangerter, the editor, and I had a lot of conversations about what it meant to have the shots of the down blimp in the piece.

It demystifies it a bit.

Johnson: But I felt that understanding the scale of it was meaningful. Because there’s a way in which sometimes it’s almost comic — it’s like a little goldfish, it’s fairly cute. But there’s this incredible contrast between the contemporary-ness of its technology and the landscape of Kabul.

Was it tough to get close to it?

Johnson: Making Women, War & Peace involved shooting some things at the American embassy, and so I asked people about it. I was informally told by the PR person at the embassy that I didn’t have the right to shoot it. And I was like oh, wow, I’m not allowed to shoot the sky? Really? Even though it’s in every one of my shots? Then I started asking people on the street what they thought it was, and what it meant to them. People said things like, “It can see underground.” “It can see underneath burqas.” To some people it was feeling like a transgression in their lives. Then other people totally didn’t care. They thought it was completely ineffective. That god is much more powerful than this little thing in the sky. So there was a huge spectrum of responses to it. I’ve long been a person who’s thought about what Foucault wrote about Jeremy Bentham and the Panopticon, and these institutions where you create setups for people feeling like they’re being watched all the time, even if they’re not necessarily being watched all the time. When I was working on a film in Sudan, every day we had to check in and talk about what we planned to film, but they would also have a list of what we’d filmed the day before — they knew everywhere we were. It was such a revelation that surveillance states can operate without technology, too. Everybody’s in on the deal.

So if the footage wasn’t meant for Women, War & Peace, what context did you imagine for it?

Johnson: I was actually trying to integrate it into a feature-length film, where I followed a one-eyed kid in Kabul and a teenage girl, and I was thinking about all these ideas about visibility and invisibility, and who can be seen. But after we cut that film and I showed it to the young woman, she decided that it was too dangerous for her to be seen in the film. I worked on that film for three years, which included this blimp footage. I mean, I had this girl’s release, but there was no way that I was going to go against her wishes. And the political context really had changed, and it really was more dangerous for her. Laura had seen the Afghanistan movie with this footage in it, and I had always brought it up, like, someday, somewhere …

Someday, somewhere this blimp piece would come out?

Johnson: I have just been holding it and hoping in some way that it would get to exist in the world. It would have broken my heart if the surveillance blimp footage never got shown anywhere, because it does feel like somehow I expressed something visually that’s deeply important to me, politically and emotionally.

It’s a film about seeing and being seen, which is what your job entails and implies.

Johnson: It’s a thing I think about a lot, in terms of my relationship with people I film. Do you have eye contact, do you have their complicity, or are you seeing them from some point of view where they don’t know they’re being seen? So embedded in that way of filming people is a different relationship to complicity or power. So that’s always interesting to me when I’m shooting someone on a really long lens. Or they don’t know that I’m capturing the moment. So I started to collect a body of material where I was looking down at things — imagining what a camera or cameras might see. And that’s what’s interesting in all these things — there’s no possibility for oversight. We have no idea of what the cameras or cameras actually can see. I really love that shot with the woman in the burqa looking up at me.

It’s like there’s in invisible line that you’re working behind, or some invisible wall that, when someone looks back at you like she does, suddenly falls. I would imagine there’s a degree of guilt you feel in those moments.

Johnson: One likes to operate with some illusion that you can be invisible when you’re filming, but you’re not. You’re a person in the place. And you mean a lot there — who they imagine you are, and how you interact with it all. I’m always trying to figure out how I engage in it. But something I just have to accept is that I’m disturbing, that people have not seen anything like me. In this case I was wearing a hijab, but I’m a woman with a camera. Part of the work is accepting who you are, that you are a big white American person with a camera that costs this much money who can get on a plane and leave. But you’re also someone with a sense of humor and someone who’s willing to get physically close to people. All of those things are meaningful to me, so I constantly think about it.

The blimp is cheating in that respect — it abdicates that responsibility, that engagement on a personal level.

Johnson: Even when I was collecting the footage I thought, “What makes me so different from the blimp?” I’m a big white American visible thing. But I don’t get to stay in one position with nobody having any chance to say don’t film me. Because a lot of times when people look back at me and go, “What are you doing?” I’ll turn away. People don’t have that agency in relation to the blimp.

The impulse that you have to look away in that moment is an acknowledgement …

Johnson: That it’s a transgression.

And you have the right to not want me to film you. But the blimp gets away from that entirely. It keeps staying and looking, and there’s no person saying oh you’re right I shouldn’t be here. It’s just a fact. A big fact in the sky.

Johnson: You can’t get around it. It’s always there.

Watching the film, I wasn’t expecting to look down the way you do. I’d gotten used to the idea of being appalled by the blimp, by this interloper in the sky, but then you align me with it. I don’t even want this point of view — except inevitably I also do.

Johnson: I think that’s where I’m always trying to check myself. It’s really easy to be holier than thou in any of this work. Our role in it is incredibly complex. I know that I transgress many people’s desires, their privacy, their boundaries, by my presence when I’m filming. I would like for that not to be the case, and to the extent that I can engage and work with that, I try to. But there are times when I know that I’ve wronged people in the assumption that I could film them. So I can’t detach myself in some ways from the power of the camera.

And sometimes the only way to know is to transgress

Johnson: To have people look at you, and you’re like “ahhh.” One shot that I was dreaming of, that would be impossible and potentially dangerous to get, was to look down on the blimp. When I flew out of Kabul I would be searching for it from the airplane. But scale-wise it was an impossible thing to pull off. And it was probably not a good idea to get in a helicopter in Kabul and fly above it. But that was a shot I wanted.

If you were to go back now, would you attempt to use a drone to get that shot? Being that it’s become more possible in the interim?

Johnson: There’s something about putting my physical person actually in the physical position and moment that matters to me.

And that solution would almost be playing at the blimp’s game.

Johnson: An abdication. That matters to me.


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Field of Vision announces today a new fellowship and its first-ever artist-in-residence. 

The Field of Vision fellowship is a year-long, collaborative program designed to support filmmakers in achieving their long-term artistic goals. The four 2018 Field of Vision fellows are: director Garrett Bradley (AloneBelow Dreams); director, actor, and activist Michelle Latimer (RiseChoke); filmmaker Charlie Lyne (Fish StoryBeyond Clueless); and Lyric Cabral, director of the Emmy-winning documentary (T)error.

“We are establishing this fellowship program to support filmmakers beyond project-based commissions, and to invite artists to collaborate in our editorial process," said Field of Vision executive producer Laura Poitras.  

The first year of fellows were selected from filmmakers who had worked with Field of Vision over the last three years. In addition to creating a framework for idea development, creative support, and a grant, Field of Vision will conduct workshops throughout the year in the areas of digital security, research, and legal issues. Fellows will also be invited to participate in Field of Vision’s editorial process, from identifying urgent stories to offering filmmaker feedback and guidance.

“We have wanted to support filmmakers in as many ways as possible since the beginning of Field of Vision,” said executive producer Charlotte Cook. “We are so thrilled to create these fellowships to be able to collaborate further with these incredible artists, all of whom are visionaries whose work is at the forefront of exploring the ways of combining art and storytelling and expanding the form.”

In addition to the four fellows, Field of Vision and First Look Media are jointly supporting data artist Josh Begley as an artist-in-residence in 2018. On staff at The Intercept since 2014, Begley has regularly collaborated with the publication’s co-founder Jeremy Scahill on multiple projects, including The Drone Papers. Begley’s first project as artist-in-residence is Concussion Protocol, a short film made with footage of all reported concussions sustained in the NFL this season. It has been viewed over 1.6 million times. 

January was a landmark month for Field of Vision. Yance Ford’s Strong Island, made with support from Field of Vision, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, marking the first nomination for an openly transgender director. 

Five Field of Vision-supported documentaries also screened at Sundance Film Festival, and three received special jury awards: Steve Maing’s Crime + Punishment; RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening; and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Our New President

Founded in 2015, Field of Vision has funded over 70 shorts and provided support for 10 feature documentaries. Field of Vision is the recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Best Short Form Series award and a News and Documentary Emmy nomination. 

About the Fellows:

Garrett Bradley

Garrett Bradley is a New Orleans-based filmmaker. Her debut feature documentary,Below Dreams, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Her work has been exhibited in several prominent venues, including the Getty Museum, Hammer Museum, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rooftop Films, New Orleans Film Festival, Hot Docs, and SXSW. Her short film Alone (Sundance 2017), which was released as part of the New York Times’s Op-Docs series, won a Sundance Jury Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. She has received fellowships from the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Garrett is also the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist-led afterschool program that helps high school students develop strong portfolios and applications for college. She currently teaches filmmaking at Loyola University.

Recent Field of Vision films: Like (SXSW 2016), The Earth is Humming (to be released)

Lyric Cabral

Director Lyric R. Cabral creates investigative work that exposes new information for the public record. Cabral’s directorial debut (T)error won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Documentary and was hailed by Variety as "a vital exposé.” (T)error has screened at more than 50 film festivals worldwide and is now available on Netflix. Lyric is a recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Emerging Filmmaker Award and has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A current Rockwood/ Just Films Fellow, Lyric is a former Sundance Women in Film Fellow and a veteran of Sundance Institute’s Edit Lab and Creative Producing Lab. Prior to making films, Lyric worked as an editorial photojournalist; her photography was recently on exhibit in Gordon Parks: The Making of An Argument at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Recent Field of Vision film: The Rashomon Effect (in production)

Michelle Latimer

Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) is a Toronto-based writer, director, activist, and actor. Her body of work includes Choke (Sundance 2011), which received a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Honorable Mention in International Short Filmmaking and was chosen as one of TIFF Canada’s Top Ten in 2012; The Underground (TIFF 2014); Nimmikaage (Oberhausen 2016); the feature-length documentary ALIAS, which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award; and the Viceland docuseries Rise (Sundance 2017). Michelle is currently working on her first dramatic feature The Freedom Project, adapting the bestselling novel The Inconvenient Indian (HBO/NFB) for screen, and being the showrunner for the seriesRed Nation Rising, which is in development for Sienna. She has programmed for ImagineNATIVE, Hot Docs Film Festival, and the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Recent Field of Vision film: Nuuca (TIFF 2017, Sundance 2018)

Charlie Lyne

Charlie Lyne is a filmmaker and film critic, best known for the essay films Beyond Clueless and Fear Itself. He has also directed a number of shorts, including the award-winning documentary Fish Story, and the 10-hour protest film Paint Drying. His work has screened at festivals including Sundance, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and SXSW.

Recent Field of Vision film: Personal Truth (IDFA 2017)

About the Artist-in-Residence:

Josh Begley

Josh Begley is a data artist and app developer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks U.S. drone strikes. Begley’s work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, The Intercept, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Recent Field of Vision films: Best of Luck with the Wall (Doc Stories 2016, True/False 2017), Concussion Protocol


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American football is a beautiful sport. There’s a tremendous amount of grace that goes into it. For a moment, men can fly; the highlight reels are spectacular.

It can also be horrific — like watching someone get hit by a car.

Since the season started, there have been more than 280 concussions in the NFL. That is an average of 12 concussions per week. Though it claims to take head injuries very seriously, the National Football League holds this data relatively close. It releases yearly statistics, but those numbers are published in aggregate, making it difficult to glean specific insights.

I have been tracking these injuries all season. Using a variety of methods, including reviewing daily injury reports from, I have created what I believe is the most complete dataset of individual concussions sustained during the 2017-2018 season.

The resulting film, “Concussion Protocol,” is a visual record of every concussion in the NFL this year.

This film does not make an argument for ending football. Rather, it invites a set of questions. In the spirit of Saidiya Hartman, I am interested in “defamiliarizing the familiar.”

When we watch American football, what are we seeing?

By cutting together only these scenes of injury — moments of impact, of intimacy, of trauma — and reversing them, I hope to open up a space to see some of this violence anew.

In his recent book “Black and Blur,” Fred Moten asks, “What is it to rewind the given? What is it to wound it? What is it to be given to this wounding and rewinding?”

Representing this series of collisions in reverse — and in slow motion or “dragged time” — I hope to make strange what has for many of us become normative: the spectacular, devouring moment of a football hit that knocks a player out cold.

Rather than making a film about concussions with a flurry of hard hits, however, I am interested — inspired by Hartman — in looking elsewhere. How might we see the totality of this violence without just replaying the violence itself? “By defamiliarizing the familiar,” Hartman writes in “Scenes of Subjection,” “I hope to illuminate the terror of the mundane and quotidian rather than exploit the shocking spectacle.”

In a moment when black athletes are being chastised for kneeling in protest of police violence, it should not be lost on us that calls to “get back on the field” or “stick to football” are also calls for players to subject themselves to the slower forms of violence the football field contains.


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Field of Vision is debuting their new film, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN by Marshall Curry.

A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN (Dir. Marshall Curry)

In 1939, twenty-thousand Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN uses striking archival fragments recorded that night to transport modern audiences into this disturbing gathering. With chilling resonance in light of events in Charlottesville and around the country, the film is a reminder about the power that far-right ideology once had in America and a wakeup call about the importance of to addressing it today.

From Field of Vision Co-Founders:

Laura Poitras: "When Marshall approached us with the film two days after Charlottesville, my first thought was, 'we need to put this film in cinemas,' and release it like a newsreel."

Charlotte Cook: “When Marshall first showed us this footage we were stunned. We felt that due to this political climate it was essential to get this film out fast, but also that to do so we needed to try a different style of distribution. By playing in theatres across the country first we hope this the film will be able to reach beyond our usual audience, and into a range of communities and cities around the US. Creating a conversation around the film from the ground up. It’s extremely exciting to be able to do this with Marshall, a filmmaker we’ve been wanting to work with for a long time. And this film is so incredibly well, and thoughtfully, made. We can’t wait for people to see it.”

On Sunday September 24, the film will be shown across the country at 22 screens in Alamo theaters in:

Kansas City


San Francisco


Austin Lakeline

Austin Mueller

Austin Ritz

Austin Slaughter

The film is also playing at the IFC Center in New York until Friday playing before the 12:30pm showing of “The Unknown Girl."

The film will be part of a special event at the NYFF, and more festivals to come, along with an online release.

About Marshall Curry: MARSHALL CURRY is a two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. His film, “Street Fight,” follows Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, NJ and was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. His follow up documentary, “Racing Dreams” tells the story of two boys and a girl who live in rural America and dream of one day racing in NASCAR. It won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and aired on PBS and the BBC. His third film, “If a Tree Falls, a Story of the Earth Liberation Front” peels back the layers of a radical environmental group that the FBI called the number one domestic terrorist group in the United States. That film won the award for Best Documentary Editing at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Marshall was Executive Producer and an additional editor of “Mistaken For Strangers,” a comedy rock-doc about indie band, The National. Most recently Marshall directed and edited “Point and Shoot,” a documentary about a young Baltimore native who set out on a 30,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East and wound up joining the rebels in Libya fighting Gaddafi. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in theaters and aired on PBS and the BBC. Marshall is a graduate of Swarthmore College where he studied Comparative Religion and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, Columbia, NYU, and other colleges. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.


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Before directing Field of Vision’s latest film, “Duterte’s Hell,” with Aaron Goodman, Luis Liwanag worked as a photojournalist for local and foreign press in the Philippines. In the following essay, he reflects on his transition from taking still photographs to filmmaking, and what it was like to capture the horrors of President Duterte’s “war on drugs.

I discovered photography when I was 11. My family did not own a single camera, but our neighborhood sorbetero [ice cream vendor] had a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera and would take our family photos for us. I remember we had so many that when I opened my mother’s closet, dozens of photo albums would cascade down from the shelves. My dad, an artist and illustrator, kept stacks of old National Geographic, Time, and Life magazines tucked away in his filing cabinet. I bought my first camera at age 12: a Kodak Instamatic. I guess you could say I was destined to be in this line of work.

As a kid, I would just snap pictures of my friends in school. As an adult, being a photographer has given me the power to make observations about daily life in my country and voice my opinion on certain issues.

When President Rodrigo Duterte came into power, the rampage of extrajudicial killings started. My fellow journalists were covering the night shifts at the police headquarters. Reports would come in—either from radio dispatch or via Twitter—and they would travel to crime scenes in convoys. It was only a matter of time before I decided to started going with them, to see the effects of Duterte’s war on drugs for myself.

Shooting this and other documentaries has been transformative experience for me. When working as a hired photojournalist, I didn’t really set up my shots—I just filmed whatever is happening right in front of me.

And as I witnessed the aftermath of the slayings, I felt like I was reconnecting to my old self. I was a police beat photographer at the onset of my career, but later shifted to more varied issues and mainstream news coverage. I became focused on issues dictated by the editorial policies of media entities that employed me.

Now, as a freelancer—and particularly with this film—I’ve had the leeway to choose stories that I feel I can interpret better visually. And although the nightly spate of killings numbed me in some ways, I felt for the people directly or indirectly affected by them.

A couple of months into photographing the killings in Manila and its surrounding metro area, Aaron Goodman, an educator and video journalist whom I had worked with previously, saw my images on social media and asked me if I was interested in collaborating with him on a video documentary about Duterte’s drug war.

While filming, we had to maintain a low-key lighting style, and only expose for the midtones. I wanted to be unobtrusive and invisible while shooting the events so that we left as few traces of ourselves as possible.

We had a limited amount of time to set up each shot. When you’re filming events as they unfold, you don’t really have control over what is going to happen. You have to visualize the image in your mind’s eye beforehand, and shoot whatever occurs in the moment.

While filming, we were very attuned to the sounds, textures, emotions and details of each scene. My approach was to linger in a single framed shot as if it was a single image and slowly transition into another well-composed frame and capture the entire story happening between those frames.

Although I am an advocate of still photographs and what photography great Henri Cartier- Bresson calls “the decisive moment,” I have discovered that video, though more fleeting, can be equally powerful in stringing together single images to make a powerful statement.

See Goodman and Liwanag’s film here:

To see more work by Luis Liwanag, visit his website here. To see the work of Aaron Goodman, visit his website here.


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New York, NY (May 17, 2017) - Starting May 18, 2017, Fusion will unveil the first in a series of short films from the Our 100 Days initiative from Firelight Media and Field of Vision. The films explore threats to U.S. democracy and the stories of targeted communities in the current highly polarized political climate. Episodes will be released weekly, beginning with directors Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy’s Act of Worship, a rare behind-the-scenes look at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a champion of civil rights for Muslims in the US that finds itself in the crosshairs of a new administration’s policies.

“The current moment in the U.S. is a result of our collective refusal to tell the whole story of America. Not only do we need new stories, we need new storytellers. At Firelight, we have been committed to supporting storytellers of color for many years,” shares documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “The partnership with Field of Vision has allowed us to deepen that support by providing filmmakers of color with the resources and platform necessary to create powerful cinematic narratives that deepen our understanding of these frightening times.”

The series will also feature work from filmmakers: Cecilia Aldarondo, Chelsea Hernandez & Iliana Sosa, Adele Pham, Lorena Manriquez & Marlene McCurtis, Nadia Hallgren, and Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman. The films examine, among other topics, the immigration issue through the intimate lens of motherhood; a history of racially-motivated violence in one of America’s most iconic liberal cities; the fight for protections for trans students through the lens of one Virginia teenager; and the rapid response by Muslim attorneys navigating the chaotic rollout of the travel ban.

“This collaboration with Firelight is a way to channel our collective horror about Trump's election. By documenting these first 100 days from the perspective of communities most at risk - immigrants, Muslim Americans, transgender men and women - we want to reveal the threats our country is facing, and not normalize this political moment,” says Field of Vision co-creator Laura Poitras.

Fusion Editor-in-Chief Dodai Stewart adds, "This series of beautiful short films — highlighting social and economic injustices — aligns with Fusion’s mission to cover underrepresented people and amplify the voices of the vulnerable."

In an effort to maximize the reach and impact of the films, local and national organizations will participate in weekly Twitter chats to engage the broad public in online conversations about the issues in the films. The Twitter chats will occur at 1pm ET / 10am PT every Thursday throughout the series run using the #Our100Days hashtag and will be moderated by Firelight Media. The weekly Twitter chats will give online viewers an opportunity to delve deeper into the issues and engage with the film directors, protagonists, and partner organizations.



Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions and creates original short-form nonfiction films about developing and ongoing stories around the globe. Field of Vision is committed to making cinematic work that tells the stories of our world from different perspectives. Our films are distributed through a variety of partners including news organizations, film festivals, online platforms, broadcast, streaming and cable.


Firelight produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told, and connects films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. Through our Documentary Lab, Firelight is dedicated to developing and supporting talented, diverse documentary filmmakers who advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful productions.


Fusion is news for the new America: a young, diverse, social justice-minded audience.

MEDIA CONTACT After Bruce PR Tracy Nguyen-Chung 503-701-2115


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Scenes from a Dry City (12 min.)

Simon Wood and François Verster

The Trial (15 min.)

Johanna Hamilton

Crooked Lines (11 min.)

Monica Berra, Yoruba Richen and Jacqueline Olive

Nuuca (12 min.)

Michelle Latimer

More to Watch

CamperForce (16 min.)

Brett Story and Jessica Bruder

Graven Image (10 min.)

Sierra Pettengill

Our 100 Days 7/7

American Carnage (9 min.)

Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert

The Town I Live In (10 min.)

Matt Wolf and Guadalupe Rosales

Captured in Sudan (28 min.)

Phil Cox, Daoud Hari and Giovanna Stopponi

Timberline (12 min.)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Duterte’s Hell (8 min.)

Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag

Conditioned Response (6 min.)

Craig Atkinson and Laura Hartrick

Our 100 Days 4/7

Here I’ll Stay (10 min.)

Lorena Manríquez and Marlene McCurtis

Our 100 Days 3/7

An Uncertain Future (11 min.)

Chelsea Hernandez and Iliana Sosa

Our 100 Days 1/7

An Act of Worship (9 min.)

Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy

The Moderators (20 min.)

Adrian Chen and Ciaran Cassidy

Clowns (7 min.)

Alex Kliment, Dana O'Keefe and Mike Tucker

Project X (10 min.)

Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke

Hopewell (3 min.)

Lorena Manríquez

The Vote (12 min.)

Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko

Like (9 min.)

Garrett Bradley

Concerned Student 1950 (32 min.)

Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj and Kellan Marvin

Peace in the Valley (15 min.)

Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher

Homeland is not a Series (7 min.)

Arabian Street Artists Heba Y. Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl aka Stone

#ThisIsACoup 4/4

Surrender or Die (16 min.)

Theopi Skarlatos and Paul Mason

Eric & “Anna” (14 min.)

Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway

Birdie (14 min.)

Heloisa Passos

The Above (8 min.)

Kirsten Johnson