Finding Vivian Maier

finding_vivian_maier_Poster Directed by —– John Maloof & Charlie Siskel
Writing Credits—- John Maloof & Charlie Siskel
John Maloof —– Himself
Mary Ellen Mark — Herself
Phil Donahue —- Himself
Vivian Maier — Herself (via archive footage)
Jeff Garlin … executive producer
John Maloof … producer
Chris McKinley … associate producer
Lars Mortensen … associate producer
Mary Prendergast … associate producer
Charlie Siskel … producer
Music by—J. Ralph
Cinematography by — John Maloof
Film Editing by — Aaron Wickenden

The film opens up cutting between footage of a handful of people, each in their home, and each pensively waiting to be interviewed. The brief snippets shown clarify that each will be speaking about their recollections of the same woman, as a part of finding insight into the mystery.

Switch to the filmmaker,John Maloof explaining how a trip to a local auction house, in search for old pictures to use for a book history of his neighborhood resulted in him bidding, and winning a box full of old negatives. John, goes through the massive quantity of negatives, describes how impressed he was by the quality of the images, quickly determined they were not reverent to his project and just put them away. That could have very likely had been the end of the story, if the power of the images had not pushed him to fall in love with photography. John confides that his photo hobby quickly motivated him to set up a darkroom and devote large amounts of time shooting. As he learned more about photography, he recognized that those negatives he had bought, then stored, were the work of a real master. In an attempt to confirm his suspicion, he selected about 100 images and put them online with the hope that the feedback would confirm his judgement as to the strength of the images. – He got his conformation!

Mr. Maloof had the artistic vision and business savvy to go back to that auction house, track-down others that had bought Vivian’s negatives that day and buy them all, returning the collection to whole. The amount of images was truly astounding, an total over 100,000, and unlike today’s digital world, she was shooting primarily with a Rolleiflex Camera, a roll of 120 film holds 12 images.

In addition to the film, John found receipts, notes and just enough information to attempt to find out who was this prolific mystery woman? Interestingly, it was not that difficult to discover who she was and people that knew her, the secret was that she had been a masterful artist. Everyone knew her as the slightly odd, but rather nice nanny.

Vivian Maier, Chicago Premier  I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Chicago Premier by Jeff Garlin, the executive producer. It was also interesting to get to talk to the  directors   John Maloof  and Charlie Siskel as well as sit through the Q & A after the showing.

I must say this was a story that, as a filmmaker and Chicago resident, is a must see.

Vivian Maier Chicago Premier

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