Heather Courtney won an Emmy, the Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award for her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM. The film has won awards at festivals around the country, including Best Documentary Feature at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and the Founders Award for Best U.S. Documentary at the Traverse City Film Festival. The film was broadcast nationally on the PBS program POV in November 2011. It made several Top 10 films of 2011 lists, including Salon, and was supported by many grants and fellowships during its production including from ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship, and the Austin Film Society. Heather was also a fellow at the Sundance Edit and Story Lab, and a 2014 Guggenheim fellow.
Prior to WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM, Heather Courtney directed and produced several documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, and LOS TRABAJADORES, and was a co-director on Roger Weisberg’s documentary CRITICAL CONDITION. LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and LOS TRABAJADORES were both broadcast nationally on PBS.
She is currently in production, with co-director Anayansi Prado, on a documentary film called THE UNAFRAID, which follows the lives of undocumented students and the underground movement they are building.
Prior to receiving her MFA in Film Production, she spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee and immigrant rights organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She is a periodic adjunct professor of documentary film at the University of Texas, and has taught Master Classes in documentary filmmaking at several universities. Heather is from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and is proud to call herself a Yooper.
Winning Project: Where Soldiers Come From
Letters from the Other Side