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Saturday, July 27 through
Saturday, August 3, 2024
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2023 Filmmaker In Residence

Allison Otto, 2023 Filmmaker In Residence

Allison Otto is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and visual journalist.

Her first feature documentary, The Thief Collector, premiered at SXSW 2022. Subsequent screenings included the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Hot Docs, the SFFILM festival, the Woods Hole Film Festival, and Telluride Mountainfilm. Variety magazine hailed The Thief Collector as “a nimble and entertaining dissection of a crime” and a film “that builds to a supreme moment of ‘Oh. My. God.’” The Thief Collector is streaming as an Amazon Original in the UK and began streaming on Amazon and iTunes in the US in May 2023. The film ranked as one of the most popular documentaries on iTunes in its first weekend on the streaming platform.

Allison’s documentary short,  (2019), was awarded Best Short Documentary in the 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards after screening on POV Shorts Season 3 (2020). The film was also shortlisted for a 2019 International Documentary Association Award and was long listed for an Oscar in the Documentary Short category. Allison is also a 2019 recipient of the SFFILM Catapult Film Fellowship, a 2018 and 2011 Telluride Mountainfilm Commitment grant recipient, and a 2018 Roy W. Dean grant winner.

Her clients have included National Geographic, BBC America, NBC, the Sierra Club, Travel Channel, Atlas Obscura, and Lonely Planet. Allison’s exclusive story of the discovery of a new invertebrate species was selected by National Geographic as one of their “Ten Best First-of-their-Kind” stories of 2016.

Allison’s films have won Audience Choice and Jury Awards at film festivals around the world. Her first film, Keeper of the Mountains, screened more than 500 times in 32 countries, including a screening at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Allison graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Sociology.

As the 2023 Filmmaker in Residence Allison will teach a Master Class on Character–Driven Storytelling in Documentary Film on Monday, July 31st at 10 am in the Woods Hole Community Hall.

A character-driven story is one of the compelling and engaging ways to drive a documentary, but it can be a complicated process to navigate—and one that is totally different from a traditional expository documentary. In this masterclass we’ll examine how to find characters that will make your story “pop,” how to make use of storytelling tools traditionally used in the narrative space to craft a story arc, how to remain flexible with the story, and how to bring it all together to create a memorable character-driven story that captivates viewers.