Author: Courtney Sheehan

Courtney Sheehan is the artistic director of Northwest Film forum and is a frequent contributor to The Independent.

Articles Written by Courtney Sheehan:


From Bosnia to Berlin: Sarajevo at Berlinale 2016

The film industries of the countries of former Yugoslavia continue to evolve and adapt to changing environments, both on the industry level in the broader European landscape, and in the political and economic contexts of their respective countries. At this year’s Berlinale, the region’s continued ability to punch above its weight was proven by Bosnian… Read more »

Documentarian Gina Abatemarco

Island on the Edge: Gina Abatemarco’s Kivalina

Kivalina is an Alaskan island 80 miles north of the Arctic circle. A community of Inupiaq Eskimos have called the island home for centuries, but today climate change threatens Kivalina’s future. Kivalina, Gina Abatemarco’s documentary feature debut, tells stories about the island, its people and their way of life. It premiered in the 66th Berlinale… Read more »

HomoSapiens1 (1)

Nikolaus Geyrhalter confronts “Homo Sapiens”

European documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Our Daily Bread, Abendland, Over the Years) returned to the Berlinale Forum this year with Homo Sapiens, a photographic contemplation of what human impact on the planet might look like after we are gone and nature has reclaimed the debris. Courtney Sheehan: You’ve talked about how the vision for this film is… Read more »

LOTE tripod

Working Together: The Land of the Enlightened (Part II)

This is the second installment of a two part story looking at the making of  The Land of the Enlightened by Pieter-Jan De Pue which had its European premiere at the 2016 edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (following a world premiere at Sundance). Read more about the origins of the film and the story… Read more »

LOTE solider

Perseverance of Vision: The Land of the Enlightened (Part I)

This is the first installment of a two part story looking at the making of  The Land of the Enlightened. Read more about the co-production at Working Together: The Land of Enlightened (Part II) First time Belgian director Pieter-Jan De Pue was fresh out of film school when he traveled to Afghanistan in the early 2000s. After… Read more »

Kurt Vincent filming for The Lost Arcade

The Lost Arcade: Video Games on Film

The Lost Arcade is the feature documentary debut of director Kurt Vincent and producer Irene Chin. The film captures the final days of Chinatown Fair, the last video game arcade in Manhattan. It premiered at DOC NYC and had its European premiere at the 45th International Film Festival Rotterdam, where The Independent interviewed Vincent. Courtney… Read more »

Abraham Attah (left) and Idris Elba (right) in "Beasts of No Nation." (Courtesy Netflix)

TIFF 2015: Volatile Times for Indie Exhibitor-Distributor Relations

Before the 40th Toronto International Film Festival, the film market was characterized as “cold,” “slow,” “weak,” and downright “volatile.” Speculations and predictions abounded about the significance and potential reverberations of Netflix’s first substantial feature acquisition, Beasts of No Nation alongside the entry of companies like Netflix’s peer, Amazon, into the market, as well as the addition… Read more »


TIFF 2015: Frederick Wiseman on Thoughts at the Edge of His Brain

Fittingly, Frederick Wiseman attended the 4oth edition of the Toronto International Film Festival with his 40th documentary, In Jackson Heights, which captures a historic and remarkably diverse New York neighborhood in a moment of flux. The Independent sat down with Wiseman to discuss the role of daydreaming while editing, discovering the communities of Jackson Heights, and screening all… Read more »

The Afghan Film Archive contains more than 8,000 hours of footage dating back to the early 1900's. (Courtesy Pietra Brettkelly)

TIFF 2015: Doc Breathes Life Into Afghan Film Archive

Pietra Brettkelly’s belief that “cinema is the most important vessel of the last 100 years of all of our cultures,” inspired her to document the labor-intensive and passion-fueled project of restoring the Afghan Film Archive. The resulting documentary, A Flickering Truth, contains incredibly rare footage from Afghan films dating back to the first days of… Read more »