|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Parent(s)||Patricia Marks Greenfield|
|Relatives||Matthew Greenfield (brother)|
Lauren Greenfield (born 1966) is an American artist, documentary photographer, and documentary filmmaker. She has published four photographic monographs, directed four documentary features, produced four traveling exhibitions, and published in magazines throughout the world.
Greenfield was born on June 28, 1966, in Boston, Massachusetts, to psychologist Patricia Marks Greenfield and physician Sheldon Greenfield. She has a younger brother, film producer Matthew Greenfield.
Greenfield graduated from Harvard University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in visual and environmental studies. While an undergraduate, she studied overseas in several countries with the International Honors Program, a division of SIT Study Abroad. Her senior thesis photography project on the French aristocracy was called "Survivors of the French Revolution".
Greenfield's undergraduate thesis helped kick start her career as an intern for National Geographic Magazine. A subsequent grant from National Geographic provided financial support toward her debut monograph, "Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood" which includes a picture and quote page of Musical Artist LaVonna Harris titled "Levon age 17" (Knopf 1997). Five years after the release of "Fast Forward", Greenfield produced a second major body of work about the self-esteem crisis amongst American women, entitled "Girl Culture".
Greenfield's photographs have been regularly published in international publications, such as The New Yorker, New York, The New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Stern, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, La Repubblica, Time, Vanity Fair, People, National Geographic, Elle, Harper's, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire.
From September 1985 to May 1986, while still an undergraduate at Harvard, Greenfield traveled around the world on a nine-month-long program created by the International Honors Program, entitled "Film Study and Anthropology". This experience exposed her to anthropological and documentary filmmaking in France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, India, Australia, and Japan. In a 2012 interview with Sara Melson (for Harvardwood.com), Greenfield was quoted as saying "We watched many indigenous films, and we met with amazing directors. It was on that trip that I realized my calling. I wasn't sure if it would be sociology, film, photography, or anthropology, but looking at culture was my calling. When I got back to Harvard, I switched my major from Social Studies to Visual Studies. I soon realized that theory wasn't my medium, and I moved toward filmmaking and photography." At Harvard, Greenfield continued her filmmaking studies under the tutelage of established documentary filmmaker Robb Moss. In 1988, she co-directed a 25-minute film, Once You're In, about Irish illegal immigrants living in Boston.
Greenfield subsequently directed THIN, a feature-length documentary for HBO, and published an accompanying book with the same title. THIN was selected for competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. In September 2006, Greenfield received the prestigious Grierson Award for best documentary shown at the BFI London Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Jackson Hole Film Festival. Greenfield received a 2007 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming for her work on THIN. In 2020, fiction author Elle Nash wrote a short story about THIN on HARSH Lit Mag.
Greenfield's follow-up short film, kids + money, was selected as one of the top five nonfiction shorts in the world by Cinema Eye Honors 2009. The short also won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the AFI Film Festival 2007, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film at the 2008 Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Gold Plaque, Documentary:Social/Political from The Hugo Television Awards 2008, and Best Documentary Short at Kids First Film Festival 2008. "kids + money" was also selected into the Official Shorts Program at the Sundance Film Festival (January 2008). The 32-minute film includes interviews with Los Angeles teenagers on the subject of money and how it affects their lives. HBO licensed North American broadcast rights to "kids + money", and the film has been distributed internationally.
In February 2011, the Annenberg Space for Photography commissioned Greenfield to direct a short documentary film, "Beauty CULTure", to serve as the central focus of this record-setting "Beauty CULTure" exhibition (May–November 2011). Shot in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, the 30-minute film is a critical examination of "beauty in popular culture, the narrowing definition of beauty in contemporary society, and the influence of media messages on the female body image".
In January 2012 Greenfield received the Sundance Film Festival's Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary feature film, entitled The Queen of Versailles, which was released theatrically in 2012. Previously, The Queen of Versailles was selected for the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2012 (The world premieres of 16 American documentary films). The Queen of Versailles was further honored by being selected to be the opening night documentary film for the Sundance Film Festival. The film was acquired by Magnolia Pictures on the first day of the festival. Also in 2012, she was awarded the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFFDOCS), a second Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, the Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival. On October 22, 2012, The Queen of Versailles was nominated for Best Documentary Film, 2012 by the International Documentary Association (IDA). According to PBS/POV, The Queen of Versailles was ranked #2 of the Top 10 Documentaries of 2012, based on awards, nominations and other ranking criteria. In January 2013, Greenfield was nominated by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for the year 2012.
In March 2014, Greenfield won a lawsuit brought by the film's main subject David Siegel. Siegel claimed Greenfield had not obtained a proper release from the subjects of the film, in particular David Siegel and Westgate Resorts. An IFTA arbitrator supported Greenfield's position and also awarded her $750,000 for legal fees. A second lawsuit was brought by Siegel asking for return of the Siegel's "life rights" and damages of $5 million. The Siegel's "life rights" were assigned to Greenfield with the appearance releases for the film. In February 2014, an AAA arbitrator dismissed the $5 million in damages but ruled “the Life Story Releases are invalid and unenforceable."
In June 2014 Greenfield directed a commercial spot for Always/Leo Burnett called #likeagirl, which debuted in June 2014. The commercial asked the question "When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult?" In the commercial, running, throwing or fighting like a girl are seen by adults as equivalent to weak, but by young girls as strong. The spot went viral on the internet, culminating in over 58 million views of the US version on YouTube, 85 million YouTube views across all languages, and made over 4.4 billion impressions.
The spot was re-released as a 60-second piece during Super Bowl XLIX. Subsequently, the new #likeagirl Super Bowl piece was ranked #1 Super Bowl Spot by Adweek, #1 Super Bowl Spot by Advertising Age, and garnered the highest social media activity of any Super Bowl Spot by TechCrunch.
In January 2015, Greenfield was nominated by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for the year 2014.
The online spot was ranked #1 by Marketing Magazine in its "Top 10 Marketing Moments", #2 on Fast Company's "20 Best Ads of 2014", #3 of "2014 Top Spots of the Year" by SHOOT, and #4 on Google's"The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2014".
The spot has won 6 CLIO Awards, including the GRAND CLIO for Public Relations as part of the 2014 CLIO AWARDS. It also received 5 separate winning cubes from at the 2015 ADC (Art Directors Clubl) Awards. At the 2015 Webby Awards, #likeagirl picked up 11 separate awards. At the 2015 D&AD Awards (United Kingdom), the spot received 8 "Pencil" nominations and won 5 "Pencil" Awards. At the London International Advertising Awards (LIAs), the spot received 8 awards. At the ANDYs, the spot picked up 3 Golds  At the 2015 One Show Awards, the spot received 5 awards. The piece also picked up two awards at the AICP 2015, including a rare "Best of Show: Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial" recognition.
At the last major awards show of the year, the 2015 Cannes Lions, the spot was the recipient of 14 individual awards, including the prestigious Titanium Award, The Grand Prix, and the Glass Lions Award.
In December 2015, Greenfield was named the most awarded Director in 2015 by AdAge for her work on #likeagirl. In September 2015, #likeagirl won the 2015 Emmy Award for Best TV Commercial.
Greenfield's film Generation Wealth was selected to be the opening night film at the Sundance Film Festival 2018 in the Documentary Premiere program. Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com wrote that the film was "a stunningly deeply resonant documentary about notions as seemingly obvious as the value of love over wealth itself."
The film received its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival (aka Berlinale 68), where it was featured in the Panorama program. Other festivals include SXSW and CPH:DOX. The film was distributed by Amazon Studios and released in U.S. theaters on July 20, 2018. Greenfield received a nomination for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay at the 71st Writers Guild of America Awards for the film.
The Kingmaker is a 2019 documentary film written and directed by Greenfield, featuring the political career of Imelda Marcos with a focus on the Marcos family's efforts to rehabilitate the family's image and to return to political power, including her plans to see her son Bongbong become President of the Philippines, and the alliance that Bongbong and Imee Marcos established with Rodrigo Duterte in his bid to win the 2016 Philippine presidential election.
It debuted internationally in August 2019 at the 76th Venice Film Festival, after which it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the London Film Festival, the first documentary to ever debut at all four festivals in the same year. It debuted in the Philippines on January 29, 2020.
The Kingmaker was nominated as best documentary at the London Film Festival and the Stockholm Film Festival, and for the Checkpoints Award at the Bergen International Film Festival. It was nominated for four categories in the 2019 Critic’s Choice Documentary Awards, eventually winning the award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary. It also received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film at the Warsaw International Film Festival 2019.
The film has a 97% Certified Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, 86% from Google Users, 7.6 from IMDb, and a 76/100 from Metacritic.
Her photography, including entire bodies of work like "Fast Forward", "Girl Culture", "THIN", and "Generation Wealth" is in many major collections such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the New Orleans Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Harvard University Archive, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Clinton Library, and the French Ministry of Culture.
Alongside her books, "Fast Forward", "Girl Culture", "THIN", and "Generation Wealth" Greenfield produced four large-scale traveling exhibitions with the same names, which have been seen in museums and cultural institutions around the world.
In concert with the publication of her debut monograph, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood (Knopf 1997), her first major show, "Fast Forward" had its US debut at the International Center for Photography (ICP) on April 25, 1997 and was extended two additional months due to high attendance and critical acclaim (April 25 – September 7, 1997). The show has exhibited in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia and a number of cultural venues in North America.
The success of her second monograph, Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, 2002), and the accompanying show helped to cement her worldwide reputation as a documentary photographer. The book was reprinted five times by Chronicle Books and the show was exhibited at more than 29 venues around the world (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and United States).
Her third major exhibition, THIN, accompanied both a feature-length documentary film, Thin (HBO, 2006), and a published photographic book, THIN (Chronicle Books, 2006). The exhibition debuted at The Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas and continued to exhibit through 2010.
In May 2011, Greenfield received the honor of being the only photographer to be chosen twice as a Featured Artist at The Annenberg Space for Photography, as part of its exhibition, "Beauty CULTure" (Los Angeles, May 21 – November 26, 2011), as one of only four Featured Photographers. Greenfield was also commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography to direct a 30-minute documentary film about the subject of the exhibition. The resultant film forms the centerpiece of the exhibition. Attendance by the public to the "Beauty CULTure" exhibition exceeded previous records. In October 2011, the exhibition received the Lucie Award for Curator(Kohle Yohannan)/Exhibition of the Year.
From June to November 2010, a collection of her photography from "Fast Forward" and "Girl Culture" was featured in "Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography Since the Sixties", a record-breaking photographic exhibition at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, curated by Brett Abbott. In October 2010, the exhibition received the Lucie Award for Curator(Brett Abbott)/Exhibition of the Year.
Greenfield exhibited "Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield" at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles (April 8, 2017 – August 13, 2017). This exhibit subsequently traveled to New York's ICP Museum (September 15 – January 7, 2018), Oslo's Nobel Peace Center Museum (February 13 – August 21, 2018), and The Hague's Fotomuseum Den Haag (September 15, 2018 – February 3, 2019), and at Hamburg's Deichtorhallen. It is scheduled to open at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on August 21, 2019 and will remain up until February 15, 2020 According to the Annenberg Space for Photography website, this exhibition covers "the influence of affluence over the last 25 years, illustrating the globalization of materialism, celebrity culture and social status," and contains "195 color-saturated prints, 42 riveting first-person interviews and the accompanying multimedia projections and short films".
Greenfield is married to Frank Evers, with whom she has two sons, Noah and Gabriel. They reside in Venice, California. Her stepmother, Sherrie H. Kaplan, is a senior scientist at the New England Medical Center.
|2006||THIN||Director and producer||Documentary|
|2008||kids + money||Director, producer and writer||Documentary short|
|2010||Fashion Show||Director and producer||Documentary short|
|2012||The Queen of Versailles||Director and producer||Documentary|
|2012||Beauty CULTure||Director and producer||Documentary short|
|2012||Best Night Ever||Director and producer||Documentary short|
|2015||Bling Dynasty||Director and producer||TV series documentary|
|2015||Magic City||Director and producer||Documentary short|
|2018||Generation Wealth||Director, producer, writer, and cinematographer||Documentary|
|2019||The Kingmaker||Director, producer, and writer||Documentary|