Visual Arts Past Faculty

Su Friedrich

Su Friedrich headshot

Photo by Alexander Tuma


Su Friedrich has produced and directed twenty-four 16mm films and digital videos, including Today (2022), I Cannot Tell You How I Feel (2016),  Queen Takes Pawn (2013), Gut Renovation (2012), From the Ground Up (2007), Seeing Red (2005), The Head of a Pin (2004), The Odds of Recovery (2002), Hide and Seek (1996), Rules of the Road (1993), First Comes Love (1991), Sink or Swim (1990), Damned If You Don't (1987), The Ties That Bind (1984), Gently Down the Stream (1981), and Cool Hands, Warm Heart (1979). With the exception of Hide and Seek, Friedrich is the writer, director, cinematographer, sound recordist and editor of all her films.

Friedrich's films have won many awards, including Best Narrative Film Award at the Athens International Film Festival, Outstanding Documentary Feature at Outfest in Los Angeles, Special Jury Award at the New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Grand Prix at the Melbourne Film Festival, the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and Best Experimental Narrative Award at the Atlanta Film Festival. Her work is widely screened in the United States, Canada and Europe and has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, The Stadtkino in Vienna, the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, the National Film Theater in London, the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema, the New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the First Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the Cork Film Festival in Ireland, the Wellington Film Festival in New Zealand, The Bios Art Center in Athens, Greece, and the Anthology Film Archives in New York.

In 2016, her film Sink or Swim (1990) was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry of The Library of Congress.

Friedrich is the recipient of the Alpert Award in the Arts (1996), an Independent Television Service production grant (1994), an NEA Fellowship (1994), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1990), a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1989), a DAAD grant as artist-in-residence in Berlin (1984), as well as multiple grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Jerome Foundation

Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Library of Australia, as well as many university libraries. The films are distributed by The Museum of Modern Art, Outcast Films, Canyon Cinema, The Canadian Filmmaker's Distribution Center, Light Cone in Paris and the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek in Berlin.

The films have been reviewed in numerous publications, including Variety, Premiere, The Village Voice, Artforum, The New York Times, The Nation, Film Quarterly, The Millennium Film Journal, Sight and Sound, Flash Art, Cineaste, The Independent, Heresies Art Journal, Afterimage, and The L.A. Weekly. Essays on her work as well as excerpts from her scripts have appeared in numerous books, including Crafting Truth: Documentary Form and Meaning (2011)

Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art (2010), Women’s Experimental Cinema (2007), 501 Movie Directors (2007), Contemporary American Independent Film: From the Margins to the Mainstream (2005),Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000 (2002), Left In the Dark (2002), The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (2002), Girl Director: A How-To Guide (2001), Collecting Visible Evidence (1999), Experimental Ethnography (1999), The New American Cinema (1998), Play It Again, Sam (1998), Film Fatales (1998), Cinematernity (1996), Screen Writings (1994), Women's Films (1994), Queer Looks (1993), Avant-Garde Film: Motion Studies (1993), Vampires and Violets (1992), and Critical Cinema: Volume Two (1992).

Her DVD collection is distributed by Outcast Films and her films are also now available for streaming via Outcast.

Trailer for "Gut Renovation"


On the Laura Flanders Show, avant-garde filmmaker and Professor of Visual Art Su Friedrich discusses the hidden “sheroes” of film editing, the names you don’t know but ought to know from Hollywood to Bollywood and beyond. Aired April 20, 2020.


Su Friedrich: A Mini-Retrospective at The New Haven Documentary Film Festival on June 10, 2018, New Haven, CT |

“Hidden Histories: The Story of Women Film Editors,” Read the blog feature from The Criterion Collection — September 12, 2019.

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Program in Visual Arts
185 Nassau Street
Room 315

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