When Kirsten Johnson’s father became her second parent to be diagnosed with dementia, she looked to cinema for a way to acknowledge and transform the grief, turning it into a public form of catharsis. The result was DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD currently screening on Netflix.
In this series of conversations, chefs and writers will consider the role of food in grief, mourning, and healing. Like filmmaking, food is a creative medium to memorialize, tell stories, and create a legacy. Chopped champion Madison Cowan (April 6), fermentation revivalist Sandor Ellix Katz (April 13), and dining critic/author Kate Washington (April 20) will share recipes, prepare meaningful dishes, and discuss who would attend their last supper and what’s on the menu. Series co-presenters include Family Caregiver Alliance, Museum of the Moving Image, and Rooftop Films.
Kirsten Johnson’s previous film, Cameraperson—named to the New York Times' "top 10 films of 2016"—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. Her short The Above premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and was nominated for the IDA Documentary Award for Best Short. Her camerawork appears in Academy Award winner Citizen Four, Academy Award nominee The Invisible War, and Cannes Film Festival award winner Fahrenheit 9/11. In Dick Johnson is Dead, a cameraperson seeks a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive forever. Utilizing moviemaking magic and her family’s dark humor, she celebrates Dr. Dick Johnson’s last years by staging fantasies of death and beyond. Together, dad and daughter confront the great inevitability awaiting us all. The film was awarded Sundance’s Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Filmmaking, two 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Awards, and the Cinema Eye Honors Outstanding Achievement in Direction.
Kate Washington is an essayist and food writer who currently serves as the dining critic for The Sacramento Bee. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The Washington Post, Eater, Catapult, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She lives in Northern California. Connect with her at kawashington.com and on Twitter (washingtonkate). The newly published Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America tells the story of Kate’s struggle to care for her seriously ill husband, offering a revealing look at the role unpaid family caregivers play in a society that fails to provide them with structural support. Already Toast, which Publishers Weekly calls a "wrenching debut," shows how all-consuming caregiving can be, how difficult it is to find support, and how the social and literary narratives that have long locked women into providing emotional labor also keep them in unpaid caregiving roles.