Natalia Almada and Laura Poitras win MacArthur “Genius” Grants!

“A phone call out of the blue – $500,000 – no strings attached.” Last week, the MacArthur Foundation announced its 2012 Fellows, and we were beyond thrilled to see two amazing Creative Capital grantees among them. A huge congrats to Natalia Almada and Laura Poitras—we’ve always thought these remarkable filmmakers were geniuses, but now it’s official! 

Natalia Almada was awarded a Creative Capital Film/Video grant in 2005 for her documentary El General, which brings to life audio recordings Almada inherited from her grandmother, daughter of Plutarco Elías Calles, a revolutionary general who became Mexico’s president in 1924. In his time, Calles was called El Jefe Maximo (Foremost Chief). Today he is remembered as El Quema-Curas (Priest Burner) and as a dictator who ruled through puppet presidents until his exile in 1936. Almada’s complex and stunning El General moves between a daughter’s memories of her father as she grapples with history’s portrayal of him and the weight of that same man’s legacy on Mexico today.

Trailer for Natalia Almada’s El General

Laura Poitras is a 2008 Film/Video grantee for The Oath, which was nominated for two Emmy awards for its broadcast on PBS’s P.O.V. series in 2011. Filmed in Yemen and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, The Oath interweaves the stories of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantánamo facing war crimes charges. Poitras’s masterful documentary unfolds via a narrative rife with plot reversals and betrayals that ultimately leads to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantánamo and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Laura told us last week, “Creative Capital has been so transformative to my work. To receive this alongside Natalia Almada, whose work I so deeply admire, is an honor.”

Trailer for Laura Poitras’s The Oath

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Jenny Gill

About Jenny Gill

Jenny Gill is Director of Communications at Creative Capital and editor of The Lab. Prior to joining Creative Capital in 2010, she produced educational programs and digital content for the American Craft Council. She has worked at numerous commercial and nonprofit galleries, including as Gallery Director at the University of the South (Sewanee, TN), Gallery Manager at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. (New York) and Assistant Curator at Vanderbilt University’s Fine Arts Gallery (Nashville, TN). She also worked as a letterpress designer/printer at the historic Hatch Show Print, studied at the International Workshop for Ceramic Art in Tokoname, Japan, and was an artist assistant for Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire. Jenny holds a BA in art and art history from Vanderbilt University, where she was awarded the Hamblet Award for studio art, and an MA from Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.

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