“I believe the key to great documentary filmmaking is to be wide open when you begin the filming process. The project may evolve into something you may not have first anticipated. I don’t go into the process with a certain agenda but rather an idea of what the story might be. Sometimes my idea is more or less on track, and sometimes it needs to evolve into something perhaps more complex than I initially thought.”

Lisa Molomot is a recipient of a 2016 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

LMolomot_WorkSample1Missing in Brooks County documents the struggles of a team of 3 female forensic scientists working near the U.S./Mexico border to reunite the dead with the families who loved them. Tucson fimmaker Lisa Molomot has received 2 grants from the University of Arizona to begin production on the documentary. Her Artist Research and Development Grant will enable Molomot and her filmmaking partner, Jeff Bemiss, to continue production and travel back to Texas. Molomot and her team will travel back to Falfurrias, TX, to film the ranchers, humanitarians, sheriffs, judges, and federal law enforcement who deal with this growing crisis on a daily basis.

Highlights will include a visit to “El Tule,” a 13,000-acre ranch and popular hunting destination in Falfurrias. There Molomot will interview the ranch manager regarding the role hunting plays in the border crossing drama, and why El Tule (with its lack of water, scorching heat, snakes and lack of signage on its roads) is the last, deadliest obstacle for migrants hoping to reach Highway 285 to catch a ride to Houston from smugglers.

LMolomot_photoAAfter graduating from Hamilton College, Lisa Molomot studied experimental filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute before moving to Los Angeles to work as a film editor. She received an M.F.A. in Film Editing from the American Film Institute in 1998 and has since worked in documentary and fiction film as a director, producer, cameraperson and editor. Her work has been seen at film festivals including SXSW, Sundance, and the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Molomot’s film The Hill, about a civil rights issue in New Haven, CT, won Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 Greenpoint Film Festival and Honorable Mention for the Paul Robeson Award in 2014. The film premiered on national PBS in January 2015. School’s Out, about a forest kindergarten in Switzerland, premiered in early 2013 at the Providence Children’s Film Festival, won Best Short at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and Prescott Film Festival. The film will have its broadcast on PBS in the winter of 2016.

Molomot has taught film production and documentary film history at Yale University, Wesleyan University, Colorado College and Trinity College. She is currently teaching at the University of Arizona.

Photo by Jacob Bricce.