Josephine Decker

Keynote Speaker
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Josephine Decker is a filmmaker committed to collaboration, poetry, play, cinema and the new genres and personal transformations that emerge from their mixing. Her work focuses on women’s interiority and sexuality.  Her newest project “The Sky is Everywhere” (A24/Apple TV+, adapted from Jandy Nelson's YA novel) came out Valentine's Day 2022 and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Her feature film “Shirley” (Neon/Hulu), starring Elisabeth Moss and Odessa Young and written by Sarah Gubbins, won Sundance 2020’s U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Auteur Filmmaking and centers around two women whose subtly erotic friendship is both liberating and destructive.  Josephine’s work tends to bend the space between imagination and reality. Her feature film “Madeline’s Madeline” (Oscilloscope/Hulu/Showtime) follows an unstable teenager as she is seduced into a large role in a theater company. 

The film’s visceral cinematography, editing and sound design thrust the audience into the ever-shifting first-person perspective of her main character Madeline. “Madeline’s Madeline”, scripted through a devised process with ten actors, played Sundance, Berlinale and scores of festivals worldwide, was hailed as a “mind-scrambling masterpiece” and was nominated for Best Picture at IFP’s Gotham Awards and for two Independent Spirit Awards. Said to be ushering in a “new grammar of narrative” by The New Yorker, Josephine premiered her first two narrative features at the Berlinale Forum 2014 to critical acclaim. Josephine also explores collaborative storytelling via TV directing, documentary making, performance art, accordion-playing, acting, teaching at places like CalArts and Princeton University and leading artist residencies with the School of Making Thinking.  She wishes she could do more to end climate change and mass incarceration. She trained with Pig Iron Theatre Company in devising and is a big fan of Butoh dance, Zen practice, messy, vulnerable collaborations, the poets Sharon Olds and Mary Oliver and of cinemamakers Andrea Arnold, Barry Jenkins and Terence Nance. 

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