In this riveting and disturbing documentary GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE, Photojournalist Amanda Mustard directorial debut, alongside co-director and cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson, (First to Fall, Unschooled) returns home to Pennsylvania to investigate the sexual abuse crimes committed by her grandfather. A visual whirlwind of memories from her family’s archive unravels a world of secrets through interviews, photographs, and home movies. A cinematic journey eight years in the making, GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE, chronicles a granddaughter’s attempt to disrupt a cycle of intergenerational trauma through the voices of the survivors and her grandfather himself. Secrets kept close and snapshots of joy plague almost every family. This is a film about having the courage to take the steps we must take and have the conversations we must have to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational trauma. GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE is dedicated to those carrying secrets they shouldn’t have to keep and is a validation for all of the people who are suffering in silence. Amanda Mustard directorial debut alongside co-director and cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson (First to Fall, Unschooled) join us for a conversation on Amanda’s decision to undertake this deeply personal project knowing the potential of fracturing family ties and how the collaboration with Rachel came about and their determination in pursuit of the truth and how to insure that everyone who wanted to participate would feel unfettered.
HBO documentary GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE follows Photojournalist, Amanda Mustard, as she investigates her own family on a quest to uncover the truth. GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE debuts on HBO December 5th.
About the filmmaker – Amanda Mustard is an independent photojournalist and filmmaker based between Brooklyn and Bangkok. She is currently accepting assignments and project collaborations worldwide. Mustard has contributed work to clients such as Associated Press, New York Times, Outside Magazine, Monocle, National Geographic PROOF, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, WIRED, Bloomberg, The Smithsonian, Ritz Carlton, Chrysler, Facebook, Colgate, GAVI, amongst others. She is a contributor for Redux Pictures. Mustard is an advocate for the protection and sustainability of the freelance community and gender equality in the media industry. She serves as an advisor for the Photography Ethics Center. Previously, she was a board member and exhibition curator of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand, served four years on the Frontline Freelance Register board, and was a member of the Makeshift Magazine editorial board, an independent quarterly magazine about grassroots innovation around the globe. Her directorial debut, feature-length documentary Great Photo, Lovely Life, premiered at SXSW in March 2023 and will air on HBO December 5, 2023. amandamustard.com
About the filmmaker – Rachel Beth Anderson, a Sundance award winning cinematographer, began her career filming in conflict zones across North Africa and the Middle East. Anderson was on the ground in Egypt during the 2011 uprising for the investigative documentary series PBS Frontline, and has worked on over twenty acclaimed films for the series. Anderson’s focus on the Middle East extended to her shooting award winning independent documentaries E-TEAM, THEO WHO LIVED and her directorial debut, FIRST TO FALL. Broadcast on BBC’s Storyville Global, FIRST TO FALL was born of an 8-month journey spanning the 2011 Libyan war. Screening at festivals worldwide, after premiering at IDFA, the film garnered international praise – among the accolades the film won two grand jury awards at the investigative journalism festival FIGRA in France, the Grand Prix Jury Award at IRFF in Poland, and was featured at the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents. Originally from North Dakota, Anderson graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Journalism school, producing a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award winning documentary BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS. Prior to graduating she participated in a Fulbright sponsored journalism program based in Cairo, Egypt focusing on international reporting and conversational Arabic – which led Anderson to officially relocate to Cairo in 2010.Currently Anderson is now based in Brooklyn, NY – where she has continued to collaborate on PBS Frontline docs while directing / filming multiple indie feature films. In the fall of 2019 her second feature, UNSCHOOLED, premiered at DOC NYC and was awarded the Prix D’or – Best of Fest at the Lower East Side Film Festival. UNSCHOOLED, is a character driven film focused on the racial and class disparity of education through a lens of alternative school choices, based in Philadelphia, PA.Anderson recently wrapped production as a Director/DOP on the HBO feature documentary, GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE. The film is a verite doc following a photojournalist as she turns her lens on the decades of sexual abuse her family and community experienced at the hands of her grandfather in an unflinching portrait of intergenerational trauma, family secrets, and redemption. rachelbethanderson.com
“The beauty of the film is that it doesn’t ask you to judge Debi or her mother, so much as to reckon with their complicity, which is fraught and messy and infuriating and tragic all at once.” – Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune