Martha: A Picture Story
Dir. Selina Miles / USA, Australia / 2019 / 82’ / Polish premiere
Director: Selina Miles
Screenplay: Selina Miles
Cinematography: Selina Miles, Marcus Autelli
Editing: Simon Njoo
Sound: Lachlan Harris
Music: Adit Gauchan, Vincent Goodyer
Producer: Daniel Joyce
Production: Projector Films in association with: The South Australian Film Corporation, Create NSW
World sales: Projector Films
Language: English, Portugese
Martha Cooper is an unexpected icon of the street art movement – a tiny, grey-haired figure running alongside crews of masked graffiti artists. In the 1970’s, as the boroughs of New York City burned, she worked as a photographer for the “New York Post”, seeking images of creativity and play where others saw crime and poverty. As a result, she captured some of the first images of New York graffiti, at a time when the city had declared war on this new culture. Martha and her co-author Henry Chalfant compiled these images into the book “Subway Art”. However, the commercial failure of the book forced Martha to leave graffiti behind, moving on to document many other hidden cultures of New York. 20 years later Martha discovers she has become a legend of the graffiti world – a culture that has now exploded into a global movement. “Subway Art” became one of the most sold – and stolen – art books of all time, photocopied and shared by graffiti artists for decades. At 75 years of age, Martha finds herself navigating a culture vastly changed. The small community born from struggle and adversity, has grown into a commercial industry fuelled by the rise of social media. Now every new piece of street art is immediately uploaded, and crowds line up for selfies in front of popular works. Martha struggles to find her place in this new world, driven by a passion for capturing the creativity that helps people rise above their environment.
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
Tribeca Festival, Sydney Film Festival (Audience Award for Best Documentary), PÖFF - Tallinn Black Nights International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Scad Savannah Film Festival, Hof International Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival, Cinefest Film Festival
Director Selina Miles works extensively in digital online production and the global street art movement. Her style of energetic and vivid direction has brought her acclaim in that space - her short ‘hyper-lapse’ video “Limitless” became a globally recognised rendition of graffiti art, garnering over 12 million views on YouTube. She extended her examination of the street artist at work with her online series “The Wanderers”, in 2017. Her current production “Martha: A Picture Story” has developed out of her unique access to this global art movement, merging immersive storytelling with bold direction to create a distinctive feature documentary.