Discussion: Between art and science. Courage in documentary filmmaking

Jaime Jacobsen, Drew Xanthopoulos and Kira Akerman are filmmakers who focus on science and nature. What does courage mean to them when making documentary films? How do they think about and relate to their audiences? What is the toughest challenge they have ever faced and how did they overcome it? Host Kimberly Dilts asks these and many more questions. Watch the discussion in English for free now.

KineDok interviews


Between art and science. Courage in documentary filmmaking (26. 5.)


Kim is a filmmaker working at the intersection of story and impact.  Via her production company Scrappy Cat, she works as a writer, producer and director on a range of projects including features, docs, and short form content. As a PMD specializing in grassroots organizing and creative distribution, Kim has helped dozens of filmmakers crowdfund, play top festivals (Sundance, Tribeca, DOC NYC), chart independent distribution paths, and connect deeply with their audiences.  Kim's former work includes producing, directing, and performing Off-Broadway and on tour. Kim lives in Stanford with her husband and creative partner J.T. Arbogast, and their three cats, Howard, Archie and Norman. 


Jaime Jacobsen is an award-winning filmmaker and a passionate advocate for using the medium of film to engage audiences in the pressing issues of our time. Her passion for film has taken her to every continent except Antarctica. She has led documentary trips for National Geographic student expeditions in Australia and Tanzania, produced films for Engineers Without Borders in Kenya, and taught filmmaking at Notre Dame University-Louaize in Lebanon. She earned a master's degree in science and nature filmmaking and is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Montana State University. She currently teaches as an adjunct professor in journalism and media communication at Colorado State University.


Drew Xanthopoulos is an award-winning director and cinematographer. He is the author of the Emmy-winning documentary Fathom (Tribeca, AFI Docs, Edinburgh 2021) and The Sensitives (Tribeca 2017). As a cinematographer, he contributed to the feature films Discreet (Berlinale, 2017) and Rogers Park (IFF Chicago, 2017), the documentary series The Mortified Guide (Sundance, 2018), the feature documentary Daughters of the Sexual Revolution (SXSW, 2018), and contributed footage to Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time.


Kira Akerman lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and works as an educator and documentary filmmaker. Hollow Tree is her debut feature film and won a Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival. It was supported by Sundance, IDA, and NEA, among others. Previously, Kira directed and produced the short “Station 15,” (PBS, 2017). Screenings included a Smithsonian exhibit, Sheffield Doc/Fest, The Climate Museum, the UN Global Climate Summit, and DOCNYC. Kira directed and produced the short, “The Arrest,” (“The Atlantic,” 2018). Screenings included The Camden International Film Festival, MOMA, and The Ford Foundation Gallery. Prior to directing, Kira worked on art departments, including a visual effects unit mentored by Doug Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey), and as a producer for commercials and shorts, including “In the Wake” (dir. Cauleen Smith). Kira currently works in partnership with the educational nonprofit Ripple Effect, which is pioneering water literacy in k-12 education, and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University, an interdisciplinary, place-based institute that promotes the understanding of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. 

This project is supported by US Embassy, Creative Europe MEDIA, International Visegrad Fund, The Czech Film Fund and the Prague City Hall.

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