Kara Herold

Kara Herold is a filmmaker whose carefully crafted works examine the intersection of feminism and pop culture with wit and visual flair. She has written, directed and produced everything from short animations to award winning documentaries, and has collaborated extensively with other artists and writers, including Beth Lisick, Lynn Peril and Andi Zeisler.

Herold’s last production, Grrlyshow, premiered at Sundance in 2001. The film told the story of the girl zine explosion, in which women from all walks of life began creating zines to provide themselves and others with an alternative to the homogeneity of mainstream media. Zine makers profiled included the creators of Bust, Bitch, Plotz, Bamboo Girl, Java Turtle and Pagan’s Head. Thriftscore creator Al Hoff called the film “A perky peek at the alternative media community where self-publishing gals are doin' it for themselves.” The film screened around the country and is currently being distributed by Women Make Movies.

Herold’s other productions include Tit Chat and Women for Sale. Tit Chat, a collaboration with cartoonist Ariel Bordeaux, is a three minute animation about accepting one’s body, whatever its size. It was a finalist at the Queer Short Movie Awards. Women for Sale takes Beth Lisick’s spoken-word account of a teenage models’ career and sets it to a dazzling montage of exploitation footage from days gone by. The film recently won first place at the 23rd annual Cine-Poetry Film Festival sponsored by the National Poetry Association.

Herold is currently producing and directing Bachelorette, 34, which takes a humorous look at society’s obsession with marriage, through the lens of a mother-daughter relationship. Taking the visual style from her previous film Grrlyshow, Bachelorette,34 combines feminist dialogue with punk ideology and collage-like composition. The film is supported by grants from the Film Arts Foundation, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Herold was raised in the small desert town of Hemet, California by two teachers. She attended UCLA and received an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University. Herold credits a number of individuals who have influenced her development as an artist: Su Friedrich, who uses rigorous ritual structures to tell emotional personal stories; Jay Rosenblatt, who uses found footage to enhance the poetry of his films; and Martin Arnold, who re-choreographs traditional 1950s Hollywood family scenes into black comic nightmares. Herold also credits her grandfather as being at least partially behind her drive to make socially significant films, saying “My grandfather was a traveling Baptist evangelist, so I guess proselytizing is in my blood. We just have different topics and goals.”

Herold’s move to San Francisco introduced her to individuals and issues that have greatly impacted her work. She has encountered communities who have catalyzed a national dialogue about alternative approaches to love, marriage and parenthood. These themes have influenced how Herold looks at culture today and are reflected in her filmmaking and projects.

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