Filmmaker and cinematographer Joan Churchill is dedicated to making experiential films. Churchill began her career shooting on a series of music films, including GIMME SHELTER (1970), No Nukes (1980), Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987), and Jimi Plays Berkeley (1971), which she directed. Her credits include An American Family, the definitive vérité study of dysfunctional family life, Punishment Park (1971) and Pumping Iron (1977), in which the world met Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Churchill is a long-term collaborator with the British documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield. The duo have worked on such acclaimed films as Aileen Wuornos: Life & Death of a Serial Killer (2003), Kurt & Courtney (1998), and Biggie & Tupac (2002). Their most recent collaboration is Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (2011), shot and co-directed by Churchill. She has collaborated with her partner, Alan Barker, on two TV vérité series, producing and shooting The Residents and American High.
Churchill is the first pure documentary cinematographer to be accepted into the American Society of Cinematographers. Her accolades include the British Academy Award, DuPont Columbia Award, Prix Italia, IDA’s inaugural Award for Outstanding Cinematography; Sundance, Chicago, Tribeca and IDFA festival prizes, Amnesty International Doen Award, and Women in Film’s Vision Award, among others.
Photo credit Alan Barker