Lee Anne Schmitt is a writer and director of essay films and performances, work that exists in the juncture between fiction and documentary.
A versatile multidisciplinary artist whose practice extends from film and performance to photography and writing, she creates evocative, deeply felt works that consider everyday elements of American life as cultural ritual, including a series of cinematic investigations of the intersections of landscape with personal memory (Las Vegas, 2000), with the history of the American Left (Awake and Sing, 2003), and with urban development (The Wash, 2005).
Her most recent feature, California Company Town, was a portrait of the infringement of corporate ideology in the logic of everyday life; it cast a clear eyed gaze at the landscape of California towns abandoned by the industries that created them—onetime boom-towns now haunted by the twilight of the American promise.
The film premiered at the REDCAT theater in Los Angeles in 2008; it went on to screen in over 45 festivals worldwide, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, Marseilles International Documentary Festival, The Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Full Frame Documentary Festival, Buenos Aires Festival International Festival of Independent Cinema, and the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.
Interested in the politics of space, as expressed in the specific medium of film, her work often relies on the union of image and text, and the disparities between the phenomena and meaning each present.
Her film and video work has screened internationally, at venues that include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, SF MOMA, The Cinema du Reel at the George Pompidou Center in Paris, Anthology Film Archives in New York, and the Pacific Film Archives in San Francisco.
Her most recent feature, a collaboration with filmmaker Lee Lynch, entitled The Last Buffalo Hunt premiered in 2010.