In honor of Mother’s Day, filmmaker Judith Helfand writes about losing her own mother—and how difficult it must be for those who lose loved ones in the era of social distancing.
Peabody award winning filmmaker Judith Helfand is best known for her ability to use her quirky sense of humor, irony, personal storytelling chops and the power of transparency to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time—from toxic chemical exposure to the climate crisis, from the “politics of disaster” and systemic inequality to love, grief and the transformative power of parenting.
Three of her feature docs A Healthy Baby Girl, Blue Vinyl and Everything’s Cool have premiered at Sundance and nationally broadcast on PBS (POV, Independent Lens), HBO and The Sundance Channel. As a field-builder, she’s helped reshape the documentary landscape by co-founding two critical organizations, Working Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures, where she was Creative Director for a decade and now an active Senior Creative Consultant. In late 2018 Helfand completed and launched COOKED: Survival By Zip Code which is currently streaming on PBS/ Independent Lens Series with an engagement campaign focused on understanding the racial and economic underpinnings of the climate crisis colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her most recent feature documentary Love & Stuff, (which picks up where the NYT op-doc left off) will have its “world premiere” in May at the Hot Docs International Film Festival. Helfand received a United States Artist Award in 2007, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch and has taught at NYU, SVA , UW/Madison and currently holds the Bob Allison (Allesee) Endowed Chair in Media at Wayne State University. She lives in NYC with her six-year-old daughter Theodora and their betta fish Maxi Taxi.