Jan Krawitz, documentary filmmaker

Jan’s independently-produced films have been exhibited at film festivals in the United States and abroad, including Sundance, the New York Film Festival, Visions du Réel, Edinburgh, AFI/SilverDocs, London, Sydney, Full Frame, and SXSW.  Her most recent film, Perfect Strangers, follows one woman as she embarks on a four-year journey of twists and turns, determined to give away one of her kidneys. Krawitz’s previous film, Big Enough, a documentary about dwarfs, was broadcast on the national PBS series P.O.V., Netflix, and in eighteen countries. Her documentaries, Mirror MirrorIn Harm’s WayLittle People, and Drive-in Blues were also screened on national PBS. Little People was nominated for a national Emmy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Jan’s short film, Styx, is in the permanent collection of MOMA.

Jan has had one-woman retrospectives of her films at the Portland Art Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Rice Media Center, Austin Film Society, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival.  She was awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, Bogliasco (Italy), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and Docs in Progress. She is also a recent recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award. Jan is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a professor at Stanford University where she teaches in the MFA Program in Documentary Film and Video.

Jan on documentary filmmaking:
“The subjects of my films (an altruistic kidney donor, dwarfs, the subway, a traveling tent circus, drive-in movie theaters, female socialization and body image) reflect my engagement with eclectic aspects of American culture. My role as a documentary filmmaker is akin to that of a ventriloquist in that my perspective is implicit in the collective voice of the individuals appearing in my films.

I have been privileged to form collaborative relationships with the people I film and venture into worlds that would remain off limits without my filmmaking passport. I embrace a range of aesthetic and conceptual challenges with each new project, allowing the style and approach to develop in tandem with the subject matter.”