Courtney Stephens

Courtney Stephens

Fellow: Awarded 2022
Field of Study: Film

Competition: US & Canada

Courtney Stephens is a writer/director of non-fiction and experimental films. Her language-driven work often deals with geographic themes. Subjects have included material leftovers of the Cold War, women as vehicles, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s desert outpost. Stephens grew up in Northern California and attended UC Berkeley, where she did graduate work in medical anthropology before attending the American Film Institute.

The American Sector, her documentary (co-directed with Pacho Velez) about fragments of the Berlin Wall transplanted to the U.S., was called “an exemplary work of cinema as political action” in The New Yorker. Her essay film Terra Femme, the outgrowth of a Fulbright scholarship, surveys amateur travelogues shot by women in the early 20th century. It premiered at the Museum of Modern Art and has toured widely as a live performance. Her work has been exhibited at The National Gallery of Art, The Barbican Centre, Walker Art Center, The Royal Geographical Society, Garage Museum, and in film festivals around the world. Stephens has collaborated with several poets, and occasionally curates and writes about film and place. Her Guggenheim project considers weather forecasting and American idioms of “elsewhere.”

Photo Credit: Rose Lichter-Marck

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