Kirsten Johnson is a documentary director, producer and principal cinematographer on over 40 feature-length documentaries. Her film, CAMERAPERSON, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival was awarded three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors, including ‘Outstanding Nonfiction Feature,’ was shortlisted for an Academy Award and was named one of the ‘Top Ten Films of 2016’ by The Washington Post and The New York Times. It was the Grand Jury Prize Winner at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Sheffield International Documentary Festival. Her latest film DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD won the Jury Prize for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling at Sundance 2020. Kirsten went on to win a Primetime Emmy for her direction of the film, a Critic’s Choice Award for Best Documentary and the Cinema Eye Award for Best Directing. Listed on dozens of top films of 2020 lists, the film made the Oscar shortlist and is distributed by The Criterion Collection.
Kirsten was the principal cinematographer on the Academy Award-winning CITIZENFOUR (2014), the Academy Award-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012), Tribeca Documentary winner PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL (2008), A PLACE AT THE TABLE (2012), and DERRIDA (2002). Her camerawork also appears in RISK (2016), which premiered at Cannes, FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (2004), Emmy Award winner LADIES FIRST (2013), and the Sundance premiere THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED (2006). Other credits include her short film THE ABOVE (2015), which premiered at the New York Film Festival, DEADLINE (2004) which she co-directed with Katy Chevigny, and THE OATH (2010) for which she shared the 2010 Sundance Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras.
She is preparing to direct Kristen Stewart in SONTAG, which will be Johnson’s first dramatic narrative feature film.
She is one of only 5% of women members of the American Society of Cinematographers.
- Cinematography Masters Series: Kirsten Johnson on The Intimate Documentary (Online)