Project Description

Nina Davenport

Portrait of Nina Davenport

FSC-Harvard Fellow – Before 2004

Nina Davenport grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and received a B.A. in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 1990. Her senior thesis, Slain in the Spirit, a portfolio of photographs about faith healing, received the distinction of summa cum laude and The Boston Globe’s J. Edward Fitzgerald Award for Photojournalism.

Upon graduating from Harvard, Davenport traveled in India. She shot Hello Photo, her first film, with a silent movie camera, applying her still photographer’s vision to filmmaking, as she documented her journey through the sub-continent. Hello Photo premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 1996 and has played at many other festivals throughout the world, including Seattle, Chicago, Sydney, St. Petersburg, Créteil and Montreal. It garnered numerous awards, including Best Documentary from Melbourne, Australia, Best Black & White Cinematography from Cork, Ireland, Outstanding Independent Film from the New England Film & Video Festival, and the Kodak Award from the New York Expo. It was also one of six films chosen for Southern Circuit, a tour of films throughout the southern United States

In 1996, Davenport received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to go to Mexico where she filmed Los Pericos (The Parrots), a documentary about a pair of blind street musicians. Davenport’s first feature, Always a Bridesmaid, a quirky personal documentary about her fear of spinsterhood, aired on Cinemax Reel Life and was theatrically released in 2001.

FSC Works

Film Still from Hello Photo

Hello Photo

Nina Davenport, 16mm film, 55 mins. (1995)

Photographer and filmmaker Nina Davenport spent one year traveling throughout India with her 16mm hand-crank movie camera.

In one extraordinary image after another, this award-winning film shows us a jute factory straight out of the industrial age, a rooftop kite festival, cows stuck in traffic jams, elephants blessing people.

We’re taken behind the scenes of a traveling circus to the sidelines of a polo match, inside the classrooms of a school for blind boys to a ceremony for an arranged marriage.

We return now and then to the sets of Bombay’s thriving film industry and to the streets where crowds of people stare back at the filmmaker.

Hello Photo is at once a revelatory visual experience of India, and also about the truths and deceptions inherent in making movies.

Distributed by First Run Features, New York.