Position: Educational Advisory Board Member
Profession: Filmmaker, New York City
Alan Berliner (born 1956) is an American independent filmmaker. The New York Times has described Berliner's work as "powerful, compelling and bittersweet... full of juicy conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique, unpredictable in their structures... Alan Berliner illustrates the power of fine art to transform life.
"Berliner's experimental documentary films, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED (2013), WIDE AWAKE, The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody’s Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast all over the world, and received awards, prizes, and retrospectives at many major international film festivals. The San Francisco International Film Festival called Berliner, “America’s foremost cinematic essayist.” The Florida Film Festival called him “the modern master of personal documentary filmmaking.” Over the years, Berliner’s films have become part of the core curriculum for documentary filmmaking and film history classes at universities worldwide, and are in the permanent collections of many film societies, festivals, libraries, colleges and museums. All of his films are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
In July of 2013, Berliner was awarded the Freedom of Expression Award by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. In 2006, the International Documentary Association honored him with an International Trailblazer Award “for creativity, innovation, originality, and breakthrough in the field of documentary cinema.” Berliner had also been a recipient of a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IDA in 1993. In 2002, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture presented him with a Cultural Achievement Award in the Arts, and he was the recipient of the Storyteller Award from the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival in 2001. Berliner’s films have won awards at many major international film festivals, and he has received retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and many other museums and film festivals all over the world.
Berliner is a recipient of Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Jerome Foundation Fellowships, and has received multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He’s won three Emmy Awards and received six Emmy nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Berliner has also served on several non-profit foundation funding panels and various international film festival juries, including the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Jury. He is on the Board of Directors of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.