Ep 86: President Obama's Principal Videographer at the White House - Filmmaker Hope Hall

10.31.2020 - By Filmmaking Conversations Podcast with Damien Swaby

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Hope Hall is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and photographer. Her short films have been selected for over 40 film festivals worldwide and have received numerous awards, including at Sundance. She has a BA from UC Berkeley and an MA from Stanford, and is a proud graduate of the Independent Studio Program at the Whitney Museum. From May 2011 to January 2017, she was President Obama's Principal Videographer at the White House in the Office of Digital Strategy, with both the position and the office being a creation of this President. After working on "By the People" by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, which followed then-Senator Obama's trajectory into candidacy, she joined the '08 campaign's now legendary New Media team as a staff filmmaker, telling the story from the campaign trail and making over 40 videos, and then the Presidential Transition Team to help draft the infrastructure for the first new media President. Before that, she was a freelance documentary cinematographer for independent documentary features, music videos, and television. Her personal work has taken her to artist residencies all around the world, and she had her first solo exhibition of video and photography in Trondheim, Norway in 2010. ​After her last day on the best job ever, she created a sabbatical by organizing a speaking tour, which took her everywhere from a surprisingly raucous hospice wing in Marlborough, NZ, to an unsurprisingly inspirational time with Google Brand Studio, & 18 months' worth of stops in between. While going lateral in that epic chapter, she embarked on a personal project, ‘Visit the Visionaries,’ tracking down inspirational people at the intersection of art, social justice & tech. Soon thereafter, her freelance life as a documentary cinematographer & filmmaker ramped back up, with projects ranging from independent features ('The Fight') to episodic tv ('And She Could Be Next,' 'Current Revolution,') to campaign videos (FWD.US & unnamed others). She also contributed a chapter for "West Wingers," released September 2018. Then, for 14 magical months, she had the best job ever 2.0, as Senior Advisor for Video & Senior Road Videographer for Elizabeth Warren 2020! Now, she is processing, and caring for her community as much as humanly possible. Awards and recognitionShe is the recipient of honorable mentions at the Sundance, Louisville, Humboldt, and Black Maria film festivals in the short documentary category, and was selected for a year-long independent study fellowship at the Whitney Museum. EducationShe has a Master's degree in communication from Stanford University in Documentary Film and Video, and a Bachelor's from University of California, Berkeley in History and French. She spent her Junior year of undergrad in Paris at the Institute d'Etudes Critiques, studying Philosophy, Critical Studies, Film Theory and Structuralism at the University of Paris III & IV. Cinematography workHer cinematography work can be seen in dozens of independent feature documentaries, including three years of work on Beyond Conviction, a feature documentary on mediation between victim and perpetrator in Pennsylvania prisons. Her work is also in various TV productions: Bravo's Tabloid Wars, VH-1's Live @ VH-1 and Little Beauties, and MTV's Unplugged, Overdrive and First Year, MTV's first feature documentary, following three young people in their first year of something life-changing, including entrepreneur Kenny Lao's opening of Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. She is the camerawork and co-director behind the New York contributions to Paris' Un Concert a Emporter/Blogotheque/Takeaway Shows series, field recordings of bands performing in unlikely spaces, all shot in one take, called "One Take New York."She directed multi-channel installation videos for the Guggenheim Museum's Art of the...

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