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The Filmmaker Four: Beth Levison

By May 30, 2022No Comments

Beth Levison is an NYC-based Emmy and Peabody-winning producer/director. Her most recent producing effort, THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT (dirs. Anne Alvergue/Debra McClutchy, producing partner Judith Mizrachy), a 40-minute short about Watergate whistleblower and Republican cabinet wife Martha Mitchell, World Premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and will launch on Netflix later this year. Her previous film, STORM LAKE, which she directed/produced alongside director/DP Jerry Risius, premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, won the Audience Award at AFI DOCS, broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens, and was nominated for a Peabody Award. Other producing credits include WOMEN IN BLUE (Independent Lens, 2020), Emmy-nominated MADE IN BOISE (Independent Lens, 2019), Emmy-nominated PERSONAL STATEMENT (PBS, 2018), and 32 PILLS (HBO, 2017). Levison is the founder of Hazel Pictures, a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance, producing faculty with the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Social Documentary Film, and a member of the Academy.

Her film, “The Martha Mitchell Effect“, is part of BIFF 2022.

What was your first experience on a film set?

That’s such a great question! I’m not sure I remember! My first job was at National Geographic Television and I worked on the EXPLORER series. I remember coming to New York City for a shoot as a production assistant; I think that I was so overwhelmed that I basically blocked it out for forevermore. Then, my first experience on a movie set was as the Production Office Coordinator for playwright Tom Donaghy’s directorial debut, The Story of a Bad Boy. We produced the film out of the Atlantic Theater’s offices in New York City and it was my indie fiction filmmaking 101. I remember that the hours were long, the pay was low, and we just talked about movies all day long. It was a lot of fun.

What was the first film you directed/wrote?

I worked in television for many years before making the leap into independent film. My first film was called LEMON, and I directed it and produced it alongside my partner and friend, Laura Brownson. It played at BIFFMA in 2011.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

That’s a really hard question. I’m going to use it as a chance to shout out some women in film. When it comes to fiction, I think that Eliza Hittman, Andrea Arnold, Chloe Zhao and Debra Granik are all huge talents. In documentary, there are so many gifted female filmmakers, many of them my “sisters.” I couldn’t pick a favorite. I will say that today, I was talking about Emelie Mahdavian (Bitterbrush, Midnight Traveler) and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.

What are you working on that no one knows about?

Oh, I can’t talk about that film! I can tell you that it should be finished this year, it’s going to be really special, and I hope to bring it to BIFFMA 2023!