Kirby Dick

Kirby Dick

Born in Phoenix, AZ, Dick studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the California Institute of the Arts, and the American Film Institute before making his full-length directorial debut with "Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate" (1986), a documentary exploring the relationship between a sex surrogate and her clients. After directing "I Am Not A Freak" (1987), a TV short exploring the world of the freak show, Dick kept a low profile for over a decade before returning with "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist." Possibly the most extreme film of his career, the Sundance hit portrayed the final years of the titular performance artist, and his use of BDSM as a therapeutic device for cystic fibrosis, and immediately positioned Dick as one of documentary film-making's most daring new voices. Dick's next two projects proved to be less controversial, although no less intriguing, with "Chain Camera" (2001) a case study of high school life entirely assembled from footage shot by students and "Derrida" (2002), a portrait of the French philosopher which deconstructed both his private and professional life.Dick returned to more eye-opening fare in 2003 with "Showgirls: Glitz & Angst," an instalment of the "America's Undercover" (HBO, 1983-) series which followed the creation of a topless dance troupe in a Las Vegas hotel/casino, and two years later earned his first Oscar nomination for "Twist of Faith" (2004), an emotionally-charged story of a fireman's attempt to come to terms with the sexual abuse he endured within the Catholic church as a young boy. Dick followed it up with "The End" (2005), a heart-wrenching and incredibly intimate portrait of five terminally ill patients as they face their final days, before switching his focus to the Motion Picture Association of America and their secretive ratings system in "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" (2006), a documentary which received a standing ovation at Sundance and inspired significant change within the classification board.The hypocrisy of closeted politicians who promote anti-gay legislation was the subject of Dick's next film, "Outrage" (2009), which sparked just that amongst both those who were outed as well as the GLAAD Media Awards, who claimed that the film didn't "promote awareness, understanding and respect for LGBT lives." Three years later, Dick received the highest acclaim of his career for the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated "The Invisible War" (2012), which exposed the rape culture within the US military and subsequently inspired Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to implement various reforms designed to reduce the number of cases and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to introduce the Military Justice Improvement Act. Dick then attempted to provoke a similar change in policy with "The Hunting Ground" (2014), an investigation into the rise of sexual assaults on college campuses in the US, and two former students at the University of North Carolina in particular.