Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, Southern culture and the history of film in the United States. Her collaborative and research-based approach to filmmaking is often inspired by the real-life stories of her subjects.
For Bradley, this research takes multiple forms—deep dives into historical archives, in-depth dialogues prompted by Craigslist want-ads or an extended engagement with the communities and individuals she seeks to represent—and results in works that combine both scripted and improvisatory scenes. Bradley’s films explore the space between fact and fiction, embracing modes of working and of representing history that blur the boundaries between traditional notions of narrative and documentary cinema. Her rigorous explorations of the social, economic and racial politics of everyday life—its joys, pleasures and pains—are lyrically and intimately rendered on screen.
Bradley has received numerous prizes which include the Sundance 2020 Best Director Award in the US Documentary Feature Competition for Time and the Sundance 2017 Jury Prize for the New York Times OpDocs short film Alone, which went on to be shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Awards®. Bradley’s work can be seen across a variety of spaces including her second unit directing work on Ava DuVernay's When They See Us. Bradley's first solo museum exhibition, "American Rhapsody", was curated by Rebecca Matalon at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She has participated in two group shows, the 2019 Whitney Biennial, curated by Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, and "Bodies of Knowledge" at the New Orleans Museum of Art, curated by Katie Pfohl. Her first New York solo exhibition, “Projects: Garrett Bradley” is organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem, with Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem.This exhibition, presented as part of a multiyear partnership between The Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem, will feature a multichannel video installation, America (2019), a work organized around 12 short black-and-white films shot by Bradley and set to a score by Trevor Mathison and Udit Duseja. “Projects: Garrett Bradley” is scheduled to open Fall 2020.