Jennie Livingston

“I’m best known as the director of the film Paris is Burning, which was inducted into the Film Archive at the Library of Congress in 2016, and is included in the new Academy (AMPAS) Museum opening in Los Angeles late September 2021. My directing/producing credits include the shorts Through the Ice, Who’s the Top? and Hotheads; the television show Pose; and other work for hire such as creating a projected piece for Elton John’s show The Million Dollar Piano. I  taught a college seminar at Yale, and have taught and lectured widely. Currently working on a nonfiction memoir film called Earth Camp One.

With cash from the Sudler Prize, I left the US for the first time and was able to travel and photograph. At graduation, I got to carry a flag and impress my parents and grandmother (it was my grandmother who paid my Yale tuition.) At Yale, I’d switched to the art major late, and had worked very hard in the studio and darkroom, and I did it with a lot of commitment and joy. I didn’t know, really, that my professors thought my work was as promising as I realized they must have thought it was when I won that prize. (Of course until I found out I was getting it, I didn’t even know there was a prize!) I’m certain the award helped me (and helped my parents)  believe, at 21, that it might be possible to go forward and make a life as an artist.”

- Jennie Livingston, Jonathan Edwards College 1983