Su Friedrich: An Interview

1992 | 00:54:15 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Hi8 video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Interview, LGBTQ, VDB Interviews

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Su Friedrich (b. 1954) is an American experimental filmmaker whose career has spanned over four decades. Her work is both personal and political, integrating autobiographical and archival elements with questions as to the nature of identity and representation. Beginning with her first film Hot Water in 1978, Friedrich has directed eighteen films and videos. She has since become a leading figure of both queer and avant-garde cinema.

In this interview, Friedrich talks through her beginnings as an artist and her transition from photography to filmmaking. She speaks of her disillusionment with the traditional art scene in the late 1970s and early '80s, particularly because of how it excluded women and people of color. Following a trip through West Africa, Friedrich became frustrated with photography, and turned to filmmaking in what she refers to as an “organic evolution” of her career. Her creative process followed a similar trajectory. She speaks of how she shoots footage and then waits for the right moment to use it. In this way, Friedrich notes how she appropriates not only from the world, but from herself. She is able to look at traumatic events from her past and build them into her practice. Friedrich also discusses her difficult relationship to both water and the Catholic Church, and raises interesting questions concerning feminism, sexuality, and the politics of representation.

— Jake Matthews

A historic interview conducted in 1992 and edited in 2013

Interview by Kaucyilla Brooke

Camera by Ayanna U’Dongo

Edited by Charles Rice