Anne Aghion biography

Biography & Background

Anne Aghion biography


Anne Aghion has been praised as a filmmaker of poetic vision and a unique documentarian whose films, in the words of one critic, “pull us deep into the social fabric” of the places she covers. She gained international renown for THE GACACA SERIES (pr. ga-CHA-cha), four films on post-genocide justice and social reconstruction in Rwanda. There, Anne Aghion charted the emotional impact of a controversial system of justice that returned killers to their homes to live side-by-side with the survivors of unimaginable violence. The final film in the series, MY NEIGHBOR MY KILLER, premiered in Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival; was nominated for Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards; and earned Anne Aghion the Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. Additionally, other films in the series received an Emmy Award and the UNESCO Fellini Prize. The 2008 feature ICE PEOPLE was described by Variety as “staggeringly beautiful,” and New York Magazine’s noted critic Bilge Ebiri wrote that “it might be the most immersive documentary I’ve ever seen.” The film, which explores the physical, emotional and spiritual adventure of living and conducting science in Antarctica, was produced with ARTE France and ITVS International in association with Sundance Channel. Her award-winning 1996 directorial debut SE LE MOVIO EL PISO: A PORTRAIT OF MANAGUA, examines how Nicaraguan slum dwellers had survived the double ravages of political and natural disasters. Anne Aghion has collected numerous prestigious awards for her work, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has earned a host of grants from such organizations as the United States Institute of Peace, the National Science Foundation, the French Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, and the Soros and Sundance Institute Documentary Funds. She has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony in the United States, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and others. For her most recent film, TURBULENCE she also received a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to India. She has served as a juror for L’Œil d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and the International Documentary Association (IDA), among others. She is an international speaker at universities and has conducted documentary workshops and master classes and workshops at film programs in countries including Haiti, India, Morocco, Lebanon, France and the United States. She serves on the board of Camargo Foundation’s French association.


Before making films, Anne Aghion spent close to a decade at The New York Times and at the International Herald Tribune, in Paris.

Her move into film and television began when she became Production Manager for THE HOLE IN THE SEA, a documentary for Franco-German broadcaster ARTE, by legendary documentarian Richard Leacock, and his partner Valérie Lalonde. In subsequent years, she worked as a production and post-production manager on documentary and magazine programs for ARTE, the French premium network CANAL+, and as a location videographer, creating short weekly features for the highly-rated talk and entertainment program NULLE PART AILLEURS, also on CANAL+.

Before finally delving into independent filmmaking in 1999, Anne Aghion worked as Production Manager, Director of Production Development and Consultant for Pixibox Studios, the largest 2-D digital animation studio in Europe, with operations in France, Poland and Asia.

Anne Aghion holds a degree in Arab Language and Literature from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York. She spends her time between New York and France.

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