I often work with material from my own life because I hope that forces me to be honest. What I've observed of human nature makes me think that most of us don't fit into the normal categories, so I think that creating an accurate portrait of a person, place, or an event is I think one of my main tasks as an artist is to try to create accurate portraits of those people, places or events that have been ignored or misrepresented, but I also dream of making comedies."
Often autobiographical in content and experimental in form, Friedrich's films question illusion, belief, cultural and sexual identity and the conventions of documentary and narrative films. Having produced eleven 16mm works which weave black and white images, voice-over, interviews, "street footage," and silence, her most recent project combines the artifice of fiction and the direct address of documentary to explore the experiences of lesbians during childhood. In all her films, Friedrich starts with material from her own life, or the lives of people around her, extensively researches the subject, (be it World War Two or the lives of nuns), conducts interviews and/or writes a narrative, shoots and collects footage, optically prints and re-works her footage and, during months in the editing room, fashions a structure by discovering the unexpected relationships between disparate images and texts. The result: ingenious formal strategies and complex, provocative, visually pleasurable representations of a great range of interior states.
Born 1954, New Haven, Connecticut
1975 B.A. Oberlin College
1996 Bedtime Stories (working title)
1993 Rules of the Road
1991 First Comes Love
1990 Sink or Swim
1987 Damned If You Don't
1984 The Ties That Bind
1981 Gently Down the Stream
1979 Cool Hands, Warm Heart
1994 ITVS Production Grant
1994 NEA Fellowship
1990 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship
1989, 93 New York Foundation for the Arts
1989 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
1986-92 Jerome Foundation, three time awardee
1982-93 New York State Council on the Arts, five times awardee
Friedrich's films have won many awards including, for Sink or Swim, the Grand Prix at the Melbourne Film Festival, the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, the Experimental Film Award at the USA Short Film and Video Festival; for Damned If You Don't, the best Experimental Film Award at the Athens Film Festival and the Best Experimental Narrative Award at the Atlanta Film Festival.
Her work has been the subject of numerous retrospectives, including at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Stadtkino in Vienna, the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Anthology Film Archives in New York.