Heather Courtney was named a Guggenheim fellow in 2014.  She won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award for her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM. The film won awards at festivals around the country and was broadcast nationally on the PBS program POV.  Several of Heather’s other films have been broadcast on PBS, including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, and LOS TRABAJADORES.  Her work has been supported by many grants and fellowships in addition to the Guggenheim, including from the Sundance Documentary Fund, ITVS, the United States Artists Fellowship, the Fulbright Fellowship, and the Austin Film Society.  She was also a fellow at the Sundance Edit and Story Lab.

 

Heather has worked on shorter productions in various capacities, including directing/producing fundraising and promo videos for non-profit organizations and NGOs, and editing PSAs (in English and Spanish).  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.

 

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.   Heather is from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and is proud to call herself a Yooper.

 

Heather Courtney was recently named a Guggenheim fellow for 2014.  She also won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award for her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM. The film received rave reviews from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and was broadcast nationally on the PBS program POV in November 2011.  It made several Top 10 films of 2011 lists, including Salon’s Best Non-fiction, and was supported by many grants and fellowships including from ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the United States Artists Fellowship, POV/American Documentary, and the Austin Film Society.  Heather was also a fellow at the Sundance Edit and Story Lab.  She has directed and produced several other documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, and LOS TRABAJADORES, which were both broadcast nationally on PBS, and were supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and an International Documentary Association Award.

 

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, Heather 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 currently splits her time on freelance projects between Austin and Washington, DC, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas.  Heather is from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and is proud to call herself a Yooper.

 

Films by Heather Courtney

Letters From the Other Side

LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE interweaves video letters carried across the U.S.-Mexico border by the film's director with the personal stories of women left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico, giving voice to four amazing women who feel the effects of failed immigration and trade policies on a daily basis. Focusing on a side of the immigration story rarely told by the media or touched upon in our national debate, LETTERS offers a fresh perspective, painting a complex portrait of families torn apart by economics, communities dying at the hands of globalization, and governments incapable or unwilling to do anything about it.

Los Trabajadores/ The Workers

Through the stories of Ramon and Juan, and through the controversy surrounding the relocation of a day labor site from downtown to a residential neighborhood, Los Trabajadores/The Workers examines the misperceptions and contradictions inherent in America's paradoxical history of both dependence on and abuse of immigrant labor. 

Where Soldiers Come From

Winner of an Emmy and the Independent Spirit Award, Where Soldiers Come From is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and the families and town they come from.  Returning to her hometown, Director Heather Courtney gains extraordinary access following these young men as they grow and change from teenagers stuck in their town, to National Guard soldiers looking for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, to 23-year-old veterans dealing with the silent war wounds of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD.