February 14, 2022

Kathryn Bigelow unlocks the HURT LOCKER

Written by NaRhee Ahn (SOA Film '99)


Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow SOA Film '79 is the recipient of Columbia University's 2009 Andrew Sarris award for alumni achievement. As a conceptual artist turned filmmaker, Kathryn studied at The San Francisco Art Institute and The Whitney Museum Independent Study Program before entering the graduate film program.  "I transitioned from art to film while at Columbia, completing my first film, THE SET-UP, with voiceover commentary by cultural theorists Syslvere Lotringer and Marshall Blonsky."

"I choose projects that are artistically interesting and possess challenging subject matter." 


"I had been a fan of Mark Boal's reporting for some time and when he returned from his embed with a bomb squad in Baghdad in 2004, his observations about these men, who have the most dangerous job in the world, suggested a filmic translation that could be both topical and relevant. The fact that these men live in mortal danger every day makes their lives inherently tense and iconic. On a metaphorical level, they seemed to suggest both the heroism and the futility of the war. The film began as a piece of reporting by Mark, therefore I wanted the feel of the film to be reportorial, placing the audience squarely in the middle of the action, a boots on the ground, you-are-there experiential look at combat in Iraq 2004."


"In Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty I found three talented actors whose ability to humanize the helplessness and heroism of these soldiers unnerving and mesmerizing. Then with the help of the visually gifted cinematographer Barry Ackroyd and four Super 16 cameras, we returned from our shoot in the Middle East with about a million feet of film. We finished post with two extremely dexterous editors, Bob Muraski and Chris Innis. I think this production, though as challenging as anything that I've ever attempted in the past, also is somehow personally the most gratifying."

Asked if she had any advice for young graduates of Columbia's film program, Kathryn replied, "Never take no for an answer.