Filmmaker In Residence 2016
Suzanne Mitchell – 2016 Filmmaker In Residence
Suzanne Mitchell brings more than two decades of broadcast television and feature film experience, from Directing feature documentary films, to producing network news to supervising HBO docudramas and creating documentaries on social issues with Academy Award winning documentarian Barbara Kopple (past WHFF filmmaker in residence).
Suzanne Mitchell has directed and produced numerous long and short form documentary films, television series and specials as well as cutting-edge content for the web. Her projects have garnered two Emmys, two Gracie Awards, an Omni Intermedia Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle. Her 2013 film Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde celebrated a successful festival run, winning numerous awards, including an Audience Favorite and Best Documentary, before its nationwide theatrical release. Running Wild was hailed by the New York Times as “a grand documentary” and by the Village Voice as “inspiring in the best possible way.”
After a start in broadcast news, Mitchell fell in love with long-form storytelling. In 1996 and 1997 Suzanne collaborated with Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple to create the ABC special, New Passages. In 2001 re-teamed with Kopple on the four-hour special, The Hamptons and then, in 2009, went on to produce Kopple’s Woodstock: Now & Then celebrating the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. In 2011 she reteamed with Kopple on Force of Nature, where the she traveled to South Sudan to present the humanitarian work of philanthropist Ellen Ratner. Most recently, Suzanne produced and field directed Kopple’s Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation film, which took her to the oil soaked Gulf Coast, the slums of Haiti, the drought ravaged West, and the highly contested political races of 2012.
Mitchell produced two comprehensive historical documentary programs — ABC’s The Century, with Peter Jennings, which included exclusive interviews with nuclear scientist Hans Bethe, Steve Jobs and others; and A&E’s The Millennium Biography Special, which focused on 100 of the most influential people of the last 1000 years. Suzanne’s passion for history solidified her role as the producer of mini documentaries on History’s epic series America The Story of Us. Her work as an independent producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show includes Harpo Productions’ 2008 Martin Luther King special and the 2011 Freedom Riders special. Recruited by AT&T to create cutting edge web programs, Mitchell developed, supervised, and produced hundreds of episodes of The Hugh Thompson Show, a variety-talk show that melded technology, art, history, and entertainment.
Suzanne extracts the authenticity behind her subjects through the art of verité filmmaking. As the Supervising Producer for HBO’s docu-drama G-String Divas, Suzanne exploited her managerial background where she developed and administered a multi-million dollar budget for this 13 part series. In 2005 Mitchell Executive Produced A&E’s documentary Fatal Fathers and went on to create six PBS documentaries focused on women’s issues, for which she won two Gracie awards and one Emmy.
Her career as a multi-faceted content creator continually takes her to interesting places and introduces her to fascinating people. As long as there is a need for storytelling, Suzanne Mitchell will continue to shine a light on humanity.
She will screen her award-winning film “Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde” and will debut two new short films “brickhead EARTH” and “Ed”. Suzanne Mitchell also produced the feature documentary film “Borderline” by Rebbie Ratner, which is screening in competition. She will offer a master class in documentary filmmaking at the Festival, which is open to the public.