Academy invites 42 doc makers into membership ranks

Doc makers invited to join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' ranks include filmmakers Joshua Oppenheimer (pictured, left), Dawn Porter (right), Asif Kapadia and Kirsten Johnson.
June 29, 2016

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited 683 artists and executives to join its memberships ranks.

Among the 48 documentary producers, directors, cinematographers and editors asked to join are Citizenfour director of photography and Cameraperson helmer Kirsten Johnson, Amy director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees, The Look of Silence director Joshua Oppenheimer, Tales of the Grim Sleeper editor Joe Bini, Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman and Trapped director Dawn Porter.

The Academy included a breakdown of invitations by gender and race: 46% of invitations were extended to women and 41% to people of color.

membership diversity among class of 2016

Membership diversity among Class of 2016


Diversity became a major topic during this year’s awards season after people of color were shut out of the acting categories at the Oscars. Facing a backlash after the #OscarsSoWhite campaign went viral, Academy executives pledged to boost female and minority representation in its 7,000-plus membership.

“This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today,” writes Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs on the Class of 2016 site. “We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider, and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

The list of documentarians invited to join the Academy in 2016 is below. Individuals with asterisks beside their names have been invited to join the Academy by multiple branches. They can select only one branch upon accepting membership.


Joslyn Barnes – The House I Live In, Trouble the Water

Danielle Renfrew Behrens – Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, The Queen of Versailles

Joe Bini* – Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Encounters at the End of the World

Douglas Blush – The Hunting Ground, The Invisible War

Rachel Boynton – Big Men, Our Brand Is Crisis

Irene Taylor Brodsky – The Final Inch, Hear and Now

Margaret Brown – The Great Invisible, The Order of Myths

Nancy Buirski – Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, The Loving Story

Maro Chermayeff – Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present, The Kindness of Strangers

Ramona S. Diaz – Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, Imelda

James Gay-Rees – Amy, Senna

Haile Gerima – Teza, Ashes and Embers

Laurens Grant – The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Riders

Richard Hankin – Art and Craft, God Loves Uganda

Kazuo Hara – A Dedicated Life, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

Thomas Allen Harris – Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela

Matthew Heineman – Cartel Land, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

Judith Helfand – The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Blue Vinyl

Amy Hobby – What Happened, Miss Simone?, Shepard & Dark

Kirsten Johnson* – Cameraperson, CitizenFour

Asif Kapadia – Amy, Senna

Aviva Kempner – Rosenwald, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

Pedro Kos* – The Square, Waste Land

Victor Kossakovsky – Vivan las Antipodas!, The Belovs

Anita Lee – Stories We Tell, Everybody’s Children

Shola Lynch – Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed

Louis Massiah – W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography in Four Voices

Amanda Micheli – La Corona, Double Dare

Spencer Nakasako – Refugee, A.K.A. Don Bonus

Emiko Omori – Rabbit in the Moon, Regret to Inform

Joshua Oppenheimer – The Look of Silence, The Act of Killing

Dawn Porter – Trapped, Gideon’s Army

Gini Reticker – Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Asylum

Azin Samari* – Ethel, The September Issue

Jessica Sanders – After Innocence, Sing!

Regina Scully – The Hunting Ground, Alive Inside

Signe Byrge Sørensen – The Look of Silence, The Act of Killing

David Teague – Cutie and the Boxer, Freeheld

Trinh T. Minh-ha – Forgetting Vietnam, Surname Viet Given Name Nam

Jean Tsien – Shut Up & Sing, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi – Meru, Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love

Wang Bing – Three Sisters, West of the Tracks



Niels Pagh Andersen – The Look of Silence, The Act of Killing

Joe Bini* – We Need to Talk about Kevin, Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Matthew Hamachek – Cartel Land, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Chris King – Amy, Exit through the Gift Shop

Pedro Kos* – The Square, Waste Land

Pax Wassermann – Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer



Hélène Louvart – The Wonders, Pina

Kirsten Johnson* – Citizenfour, This Film Is Not Yet Rated

About The Author