History Film Forum
A headshot of an older dark-haired woman in a dark shirt seated before a gray backdrop.

Nancy Buirski


Nancy Buirski is the Director, Producer and Writer of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning The Loving Story (2012) (HBO). The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award and won the WGA Screenwriters Award. It was selected for Sundance’s Film Forward, the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase, and screened at The White House.  It was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a producer of Loving, a narrative film inspired by The Loving Story, directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shleter, Mud). Its star Ruth Negga is nominated for an Oscar and the film was recently awarded the Stanley Kramer Award at the PGAs. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released theatrically by Focus Features to major acclaim. Her Augusta Films produced with Colin Firth’s Raindog Films and Big Beach Films.

Nancy Buirski is the Director/Producer of BY Sidney Lumet (2015), which had its World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It was released theatrically in fall 2016 and broadcast on American Masters/PBS in January 2017. Her documentary Afternoon of the Faun (2013) had its World Premiere at the 51st New York Film Festival and International Premiere at the 64th Berlinale. It was broadcast in June 2014 by American Masters/PBS and had a record-breaking theatrical release by Kino Lorber in the U.S.

Buirski is currently directing Endangered, a live-action/animated narrative based on Eliot Schrefer’s award-winning YA novel of that title and The Rape of Recy Taylor, a documentary that reveals the true origins of the Civil Rights Movement. She is developing Tanny, the narrative version of Afternoon of the Faun. For more production credits, please see IMDB.

Buirski founded and was the Director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival for 10 years. Prior to her work in film, Buirski was the Foreign Picture Editor at The New York Times, garnering the paper its first Pulitzer Prize in photography. Her photo book Earth Angels: Migrant Children in American was published by Pomegranate Press. Prints from the collection were exhibited at the Smithsonian and traveled throughout the U.S. She serves on the Full Frame Board of Advisors, is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Friday, March 10th, 2017
Microphone icon

1:00 p.m. - Warner Bros. Theater

In his keynote address at the inaugural History Film Forum in 2015, filmmaker Ric Burns said “When you traffic in film and history, fiction or nonfiction, you are borrowing the authority and power and majesty of the real and counting on its potency to lift your tale. You, therefore, have a contract with the audience whether you know it or not: you’re going to take them as close to a truth as you can, no matter what the limitations are that get in your way.” This session looks at the responsibilities of filmmakers as public historians.

Friday, March 10th, 2017
Film reel icon

3:00 p.m. - Warner Bros. Theater

Oscar-shortlist selection  The Loving Story, the debut feature by Full Frame Documentary Film Festival founder Nancy Buirski, is the definitive account of Loving v. Virginia—the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage. Married in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1958, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter returned home to Virginia where their marriage was declared illegal—he was white, and she was black and Native American. At the time, anti-miscegenation laws were upheld in 16 states. The Lovings refused to leave one another and, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, took their case to the courts.

Hope Ryden’s luminous, newly discovered 16mm footage of the Lovings and their young ACLU lawyers, Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop, as well as first-person testimony by their daughter Peggy Loving and rare documentary photographs by LIFE Magazine photographer Grey Villet, recounts the little-known story of the Loving family.

Their case made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, whose decision—under Chief Justice Earl Warren—finally struck down state laws against interracial marriage throughout the country. THE LOVING STORY takes us behind the scenes of the legal challenges and the emotional turmoil that they entailed, documenting a seminal moment in American history and reflecting a timely message of marriage equality in a personal, human love story. A discussion will follow with producer Nancy Buirski, who also produced the acclaimed Jeff Nichols film Loving. Courtesy of Icarus Films.

Saturday, March 11th, 2017
Microphone icon

11:00 a.m. - Warner Bros. Theater

Across the top-grossing 1,100 films that debuted between 2002 and 2012, only 4.4% were created by female directors. As a study by Dr. Stacy Smith of the USC Annenberg school discovered, of 129 top grossing G, PG, and PG-13 films theatrically released between 2006 and 2011 less than 30% of all on screen speaking characters are girls or women. The ratio of males to females on the silver screen is 2.53 to 1. These statistics highlight a major problem in the world of filmmaking: the limited ability of women and women’s stories to be seen or told. This panel will bring together female experts in the industry to discuss the unique challenges faced by female filmmakers, and the impact this has on historical filmmaking.