26. Charlotte Cook: Look on Behalf of the Audience / by Elaine Sheldon

Charlotte Cook is a documentary film programmer, curator, producer and co-founder of Field of Vision. Charlotte was the Director of Programming at Hot Docs film festival for four years before she left in May of 2015 to start Field of Vision, a visual journalism film unit that aims to commission 40 to 50 original episodic and individual short non-fiction films each year. Charlotte co-founded Field of Vision with Academy Award-winning director of “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras, and filmmaker and founder of Cinema Eye Honors Aj Schnack. In this episode, we talk about Charlotte’s journey to programming Hot Docs, including her time at The Times, BBC Storyville, and The Frontline Club. Charlotte also walks us through what Field of Vision is looking for and how you can be part of it.


I’ve always hated the term gatekeeper or tastemaker or anything like that. I always say the filmmakers drive everything and I think there’s this weird misconception about that. We are always at the mercy of the filmmakers. And that was something I really always tried to get through at HotDocs, ‘It’s not your honor to screen with us, it’s the other way around.’
— Charlotte Cook

RELATED LINKS

CLIPS USED IN SHOW

Name: Charlotte Cook

Current City: New York

Current Gig: Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Field of Vision

What are you listening to now? I find it impossible to pick favorites but the two songs that I listen to the most, because they soothe my soul, are "The Weight of My Words" a Four Tet Remix by Kings of Convenience and "Girlfriend" by Phoenix. And my favourite album of last year was Jamie xx, "In Colour."

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? One of my roommates at university was working on an art project and became obsessed with the documentaries "Party Monster: The Shockumentary" by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, and The Legend of Leigh Bowery by Charles Atlas. He would watch them everyday and I became sucked in by them while I was helping to photograph his work. They were not only my introduction to seeing how non-fiction could really speak to someone and mean so much to them, but also to documentaries that were outside of the more informative, issue films, and spoke to different subcultures and voices. It began my path of ferociously watching non-fiction.

"Fourteen Days in May" by Paul Hamann opened my eyes to the power of documentary and "Portrait of Jason" remains my favorite documentary of all time. The exploration of performance and representation of reality and storytelling is still very powerful to me.

I've always been a huge Steven Soderbergh fan. His use of color in "Out of Sight" was something that really made me fall in love with exploring how directors use visuals in storytelling. I will always pay attention to the work Kyle Cooper makes, I find it fascinating and inspiring.

Who is your career role model? I've always really admired how Ben Hammersley has navigated his career. From the diversity of ways he works, in different mediums, and being someone who is very multi-faceted. But really my role models are those who are committed to supporting, and advancing the medium or field they work in. Whether it's helping to give other people opportunities, creating discussion or building new avenues or outlets for those in their field.

What is a tool you can't live without? Notebook and Pen. I write by hand, every day, for various reasons. I still find nothing more useful, productive or cathartic.

How do you take your coffee/tea? Milky, two sugars in both, which is sacrilegious for most of my fellow British people.


CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

MUSIC: in this episode is by Alexandria Hall of tooth ache. Listen and purchase her music on bandcamp

 

 Featured songs: Skin, Lazarus, Sediment, Guilt, Wild Horses, Not Even The Moon, Body Heat

Featured songs: Skin, Lazarus, Sediment, Guilt, Wild Horses, Not Even The Moon, Body Heat