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Filmmaker Anne Aghion

A great role model for girls

By Juliette Kessler | March 22 , 2007
Kid Reporter Juliette Kessler interviews documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion. (Photo: Genet Berhane)
Kid Reporter Juliette Kessler interviews documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion. (Photo: Genet Berhane)

From the terrifying genocide in Rwanda to the frozen landscape of Antarctica, documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion chooses extreme situations for her films. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Aghion about her life, her ideas, and her filmmaking.

Anne Aghion has always loved adventure. When she was growing up in France, her favorite movies were westerns. She wanted to be an astronomer when she grew up, "the first woman to walk on the moon."

When she realized that she wasn’t very good at math, she decided to stay on Earth. She eventually became a filmmaker, but her films’ subjects are no less extreme than outer space! According to Aghion, her work as a documentary filmmaker focuses on subjects that draw her in.

“Sometimes things choose you," she said. "You don’t choose them.”

So last fall, she traded the urban excitement of New York City (where she lives much of the time when she isn’t globe-trotting) for the icy excitement of Antarctica.

There, she filmed a group of scientists who were on a geological expedition. They found fossils that are 13 or 14 million years old! Aghion lived in the region for four months, enduring weather that was sometimes as cold as 70 degrees below zero.

Try to imagine it: while in Antarctica, the driest place on earth, she had no house, no bed, no taxis, not even running water. But before you start feeling too sorry for her, she did have a tent to sleep in and lots of chocolate!

Also, she pointed out, having no e-mail and no telephone, “you’re having real human contact with the people you’re with and it’s a lot of fun.” In fact, she found that she was sad to leave Antarctica and return to civilization.

Listen to Your Voice

I asked Aghion to share her thoughts about Women's History Month. She said that she thinks it's "really important," but admitted that it makes her sad that we even need a Women’s History Month.

The truth is, she continued, women still have to work harder than men do to succeed in certain professions. One of those professions is filmmaking.

“We need more girl filmmakers. We need more women filmmakers,” she said.

Aghion had some great advice for girls everywhere, advice she has clearly followed herself.

“Listen to your voice and if people say you can’t do it: say yes, you can," she said. "If they say no, just say yes and keep going.”

Women’s History Month

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Scholastic News Online! Learn more about some amazing women who changed history.

 

About the Author

Juliette Kessler is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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