Debra Granik is the Academy-award nominated director and writer of Winter’s Bone, which features a young Jennifer Lawrence in a gripping story set in the Ozarks. Winter's Bone won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received four 2011 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Previously, she wrote and directed Down to the Bone, starring Vera Farmiga. Her narrative work is heavily influenced by real life and real people. So it makes sense that recently Debra has found herself exploring the non-fiction world. She recently released Stray Dog, a contemplative portrait of Ron 'Stray Dog' Hall: biker, Vietnam Vet, and lover of small dogs. It has screened over 60 times around the world and was nominated for a 2015 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. In this episode, Debra talks about learning her craft from politically-active women in the 1970s, being inspired by real life, where ideas come from, how stories take seed, and the ins and outs of her many productions. Debra reflects on her past, present, and the future of the industry.
Name: Debra Granik
Current City: New York City
What are you listening to? I listen to a lot of soothing nature sounds. I take refuge in a track called 8 hours of rivers and streams. I am enjoying the music of Kelsey Morris and their band Layperson Music.
What piece of media changed you? There have been so many it's hard to pick one. Most recently, the narrative feature, Girlhood, directed by Céline Sciamma. Fergus Bordewich's book, Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America. And We Come as Friends by Hubert Super. Many recent documentaries, especially about the experiences of soldiers and the sprawling topic of mass incarceration and the US prison system.
Who is your career role model? I have a special affection and admiration for essay filmmakers and documentarians, film creators who follow their interests and inspirations, those who try not to define their self worth as artists only through external achievement, but also try to make the making be a worthwhile part of their life.
What is a tool you can't live without? Spongy flip flops, viscous hand cream, luscious 0.7 vicuna ballpoint pens, notebooks.
How do you drink/take your coffee/tea? XXX with a little soy. Branching into hemp.
What's your spirit animal? Tortoise. Slow and steady.