Anna Fitch & Banker White

Artist in Residence, 2019

Artist Statement

We approach filmmaking as a social act. It involves a chemistry that only comes from human interaction. We look at all our documentaries as being created in a collaboration with our subjects. A pact is made and we embark on this experiment—we are usually pushed beyond our comfort zones, and we create something together that none of us could have created on our own. In our recent work, we’ve been exploring what makes us human and what it means to die. We have intimately portrayed how individuals and families navigate disease and end of life. We have explored how our memories hold meaning and make us who we are. Our current project brought us back to the studio to create and build with material. We have been inspired and invigorated both being in the process and by how this work is pushing us to innovate in our craft.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands we will be working on our multiplatform documentary Heaven Through the Backdoor. The project explores something both unthinkable and inevitable: the death of those closest to you and facing your own mortality. The project is centered around Swiss émigré Yo (Yolanda Shae), a fiercely independent 88-year-old woman who we meet as she reflects on her life and prepares for her next great adventure: death. Yo was a very close friend of ours. We filmed with her during the last three years of her life. Our 15-year friendship transcended our 48-year age difference and laid a solid foundation of trust. The Headlands studio will be the place where we can work with natural light while doing our experimental building and shooting. We will be working on the exterior of Yo’s ⅓ scale house and a stained glass portrait of Yo as a saint.

Selected Video

Anna Fitch and Banker White (excerpt), Heaven Through the Backdoor, 2017; video