At first glance, the life of a film director might seem glamorous and otherworldly. But Scott Kirschenbaum has chosen a path that is as real, raw, and of the earth as you can get. On this week’s episode of Making Ways, Scott talks about how he left mainstream screenwriting behind for the pursuit of cause-driven documentaries like his upcoming film Of Woman Born, an intimate depiction of one woman’s labor and birth of her child, and the Alzheimer’s documentary You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t, which aired nationally on PBS. You’ll hear about his childhood love of performance, his work producing hip-hop musicals, the smorgasbord of creative posts he held after college, and how he approaches mental health and friends in need. Listen in for tips for emerging filmmakers and so much more with Scott Kirschenbaum.
“First and foremost, make the film that no one else wants to make. Be as brash as you can be, and come up with a subject that is so out there that it’s singularly yours—that you are the one who has to make it.”– Scott Kirschenbaum
Scott Kirschenbaum is the director and producer of the forthcoming documentary Of Woman Born, a multisensory exploration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual experience of one self-directed, autonomous woman through the course of her labor. It is the first documentary filmed exclusively during a labor, told from the perspective of someone giving birth. The film is set to premiere in early 2018. Scott’s recent Alzheimer’s documentary You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t, which aired nationally on PBS’s Emmy award-winning program Independent Lens, is used as a teaching tool by nonprofits, universities, libraries, and conferences around the world. His previous film, the speaker series A Soapbox in Haiti, premiered on four Haitian television stations on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, was featured on ABC World News, and is taught in Haitian studies programs in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Scott Kirschenbaum isn’t too concerned with the typical Hollywood hustle. For the past 10 years, he’s been focused on telling hyper-intimate stories that are all too often left out of the spotlight. During our interview for Making Ways podcast, Scott talked about his path to independent filmmaking and his approach to art. Here’s an excerpt from our extended conversation with even more of Scott’s story.