Nancy Buirski was a renowned American documentary filmmaker, producer and photographer who made a big impact on the industry. She started her career as a photographer and picture editor at The New York Times, where her work was essential to the publication’s Pulitzer Prize-winning feature photo reporting in 1994.
She was born on June 24, 1945. We are deeply saddened to share with you that she passed away.
Nancy Buirski Obituary: An Enduring Tribute to “The Loving Story” Director
Nancy Buirski, a PGA Award winner who launched the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and produced the 2016 movie Loving, which was based on her documentary passed away on August 29, 2023.
We’re saddened to learn about the passing of @fullframe founder and beloved documentary filmmaker Nancy Buirski. Her 2011 documentary, ‘The Loving Story,’ won a Peabody in 2012 for its “gorgeous and sympathetic telling of a couple’s fight to persevere in the face of injustice.”… pic.twitter.com/9VTsMiU6JZ
— Peabody Awards (@PeabodyAwards) August 31, 2023
Her firm Augusta Films made the announcement but did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding her passing. They said in a statement:
“It is with great sadness that Augusta Films announces the death of award-winning documentary filmmaker Nancy Buirski, Nancy’s extensive and rich body of work delved into a wide range of social, cultural and historical issues with keen insight, humanity and above all, artistry.”
“The film and creative community mourns this great loss and will remember her indefatigable energy, optimism, passion, and her devotion to her art, family, friends, and collaborators.”
In 1998, she launched the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which she would run for ten years. “The Loving Story”, a documentary about Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who wed in 1958 without being aware that their union was forbidden in Virginia, where they lived was her first directing gig.
Loving v. Virginia, the case in which they were ultimately successful was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. The movie won numerous awards including a Peabody Award and a News & Documentary Emmy and was nominated for an Oscar.
It served as the model for the movie Loving in which Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton played the Lovings. Both Negga and its writer-director Jeff Nichols received nominations for different awards including the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2017, Buirski and Loving received a Stanley Kramer Award from the PGA.
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