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New Ways of Seeing: Nomadland

Some folks really love sports. In our house, Oscar Night is the World Series, Stanley Cup, and Super Bowl all rolled into one. We roll out a mangy red carpet, sculpt Oscars out of butter, and crowd around the TV clutching our ballots and falling in love (again, and again) with the power of movies to make us feel. And watching Nomadland win the Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards made me leap from my couch and scream and squeeze my kids too tight.  

It made director/producer/writer/editor Chloé Zhao the first woman of color (and the second woman – ever!) to receive this award alongside her producer and 2021 Cinema Unbound Awards winner Mollye Asher. I was lucky enough to work with them on the completion of their first feature, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, and have watched with awe (and no shortage of glee!) as they both continue to develop their visions and actively advocate for change in our field. From working with non-actors to blurring the lines between reality and fiction in the stories they tell, Chloe and Mollye are forging a new path where curiosity drives them – and us — forward.

For more on this dynamic duo and how they do what they do, spend hours with Songs My Brothers Taught Me, The Rider and Nomadland and check out this fantastic essay from the LA Times this weekend: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2021-04-24/chloe-zhao-movies-nomadland-director-non-actors

Amy Dotson, NWFC Director and PAM Curator, Film & New Media

Watch 2021 Cinema Unbound Awards Presenter Chloé Zhao’s speech here: https://youtu.be/kfR-3gfughc

Watch 2021 Cinema Unbound Awards Honoree Mollye Asher’s speech here: https://youtu.be/pC6G2hqyUYo

Nomadland
Director: Chloé Zhao
Available on Hulu