A Photographic Memory

Director and Producer Rachel Elizabeth Seed, Producers Matt Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, and Danielle Varga
A Photographic Memory


Thirty years after her mother’s death, photographer Rachel Elizabeth Seed discovers her mother’s work—more than 50 hours of interviews with the greatest photographers of the 20th Century, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lisette Model, Roman Vishniac, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, and Bruce Davidson. When Rachel threads in the audio reels and presses play, she hears her mother’s voice for the first time since she was a baby. Sheila Turner-Seed, a daring, world-traveling journalist who—ahead of her time—ventured far beyond the safety of her conservative Jewish family, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm when Rachel was just 18 months old. Moved to uncover more of what she left behind, Rachel sets out to revisit her mom’s subjects, family and friends, revisiting the photographers she interviewed decades before. As new truths emerge, Rachel builds an unlikely relationship with her mother through the audio recordings, photographs, and films her mother made during her brief life, crafting a conversation through the cinematic medium.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

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Rachel Elizabeth Seed

Rachel Elizabeth Seed - Director, Producer

Originally from London, Rachel Elizabeth Seed is a Brooklyn-based nonfiction storyteller working in filmmaking, photography and writing. She is a 2020 Chicken + Egg Pictures, NYFA NYC Women’s Fund, and National Arts Club fellow, and a 2019 Sundance Edit & Story Lab fellow and Sundance Documentary Fund recipient. Rachel’s work has been supported by Field of Vision, the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council On the Arts, the Maine Media Workshops, and IFP. Formerly a photo editor at New York Magazine, her photography was included in the International Center of Photography’s exhibit on Hurricane Sandy, Rising Waters, and she was a cameraperson on several award-winning feature documentaries including SACRED, by Academy-Award winning filmmaker Thomas Lennon. Rachel’s writing has been published by No Film School, the Sundance Institute, and Talkhouse and she is Executive Director and Co-founder of the Brooklyn Documentary Club, a thriving NYC-based filmmaker collective with more than 250 members.

Danielle Varga

Danielle Varga - Producer

Danielle Varga is a nonfiction producer who has been working in documentary film for the past decade. She most recently produced BULLETPROOF (SXSW, Hot Docs 2020) directed by Todd Chandler, who won the Hot Docs Award for Best Emerging International Filmmaker. She produced Brett Story’s critically acclaimed documentary THE HOTTEST AUGUST (True/False 2019), heralded as one of the top films of 2019 by Rolling Stone, Slate, and Vanity Fair, among others, and is being distributed by Grasshopper Film and PBS-Independent Lens. Danielle co-produced Kirsten Johnson’s award-winning and Oscar shortlisted film CAMERAPERSON (Sundance 2016), and produced the short documentary WATCHED (Tribeca 2017). Danielle was listed on DOC NYC’s inaugural list of “40 Under 40” filmmakers to watch. She was a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, has led producing workshops at UnionDocs, and has pitched projects at Hot Docs Forum, CPH:DOX Forum, IFP Week, and the Sundance Creative Producing Summit.

Michael Sherman & Matt Perniciaro

Michael Sherman & Matt Perniciaro - Producers

Bow and Arrow Entertainment was founded in 2014 by Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman to create a focus on artist driven narrative and documentary motion pictures. Bow and Arrow recently premiered STOCKHOLM SYNDROME at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. Recent films include Elyse Steinberg, Eli Despres, and Josh Kriegman’s THE FIGHT, Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, and Sam Feder’s DISCLOSURE at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Past films include Rashid Johnson’s NATIVE SON, an adaptation of Richard Wright’s famed novel for HBO, which premiered as the Opening Night selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and Alex Ross Perry’s HER SMELL, starring Elisabeth Moss, which has been named by The New York Times and Vanity Fair as “one of the best films of 2019”. 2018 Sundance Film Festival entries SKATE KITCHEN and MADELINE’S MADELINE; 2017 Sundance Film Festival entries THE LITTLE HOURS and GOLDEN EXITS.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.