Kathryn Smith Pyle is a documentary filmmaker and a Sundance Institute Fellow (2011 Documentary Edit and Story Lab; 2009 Creative Producers Lab) whose former career as a grantmaker in the U.S. and Latin America was dedicated to grassroots development and giving voice to marginalized communities. Her concerns as a filmmaker continue that commitment, working in partnership with human rights groups and social movements.
I grew up near a small town with a sleepy movie theater, but a boyfriend from Philadelphia took me to the Bandbox in the city’s Germantown neighborhood — where people brought their dogs and someone sold gingerbread and cider at intermission — and introduced me to Jules and Jim and Juliet of the Spirits. Then, when I saw Don't Look Back and Titicut Follies, both about subjects that I cared intensely about, I saw the potential of documentary to be all the best of fiction — but with real life on top of it. That’s stayed with me: That a great documentary film can give us all that we crave from story, can bind us to our communities, whether electric Dylan or a social justice movement, and can reach beyond the limitations of language to affect us deeply and inspire us to action.