Heddy Honigmann makes movies that have heart and soul. There are always questions within her movies that push you to ask questions within yourself. She’s driven by humanity, empowering the viewer and her movie participants through meaningful conversations, and showing us all through powerful revelations how to be the best version of ourselves. Something in her stories, no matter how different our own lives might be, reaches and connects us. I believe that connection comes because of her deep care and love of the topics she covers and the way she expertly and relatably tells the story. For me, what got me addicted to her work was her documentary “Forever”.
“Forever” moved me deeply. After I watched it, something changed within me. Heddy touches the invisible fabric of our heart and mind with compassion and the impact is deeply profound. It’s as if her movies somehow make me a better person through exposure to many interesting topics and internal introspection. I have been thinking about all those stories for years after. With each of her movies, I am expanding my worldwide views of humanity, which she captures so well in her characters and their stories.
“Exhilarating in its praise of the joys of life and art.”– The New York Post (about “Forever”)
Documentaries shine a light on the things we would not normally know about. Heddy and other documentary filmmakers don’t just love what they do with their whole hearts, but they do it with a higher purpose – to open our minds and fill our hearts with compassion, kindness, and empathy. Many stories are given an invigorating passion through the lens of a filmmaker.
All my films spin around the same few themes: the power of memory and the indestructible will to live; art, literature, poetry and music as routes to a little happiness.– Heddy Honigmann
Filmmaker Heddy Honigmann has quite a unique background. Growing up she was a child of Holocaust survivors that was born and raised in Lima, Peru. During her young adult years, Heddy studied biology and literature at the University of Lima. Later on, she left Peru to travel throughout Mexico, Israel, Spain, and France. Soon after her travels, she began studying film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. Since 1978 she has been a Dutch citizen and presently lives in Amsterdam, but has never lost the itch to travel as her filmmaking career has taken her all around the world.
Forever by Heddy Honigmann
Through a leisurely tour of the world-famous Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the final resting place for legendary artists from around the world, Forever provides an unusually poignant, emotionally powerful meditation on life, love, art, and relationships we have we departed ones.
“Mesmerizing… one of [Honigmann’s] most accomplished and expressive works.”—Deborah Young, Variety
“A delicate, measured work of unexpected wisdom and hope that preserves the mysteries of love, art, and memory.”—Nicolas Rapold, New York Sun
“(It) conveys equally and elegantly the loving devotion of the living to the departed, and the redemptive, revitalizing power of art. One of the very few (documentaries) where we genuinely feel how necessary, how much of a lifeblood (or life preserver), art can be.”– Nicholas Rapold, The New York Sun
Heddy Honigmann Films I Love
Although each film is unique in telling a fascinating story, it is impossible to choose my favorite. I simply love all Heddy’s movies. Twice I visited New York as her guest at the Museum of Modern Art for her USA premiere of “Buddy” and “Around the World in 50 Concerts.” She covers a diverse range of subjects, from a surprising twist of lovers lost in lust to marvelous dog companions that medically assist their owners. But no matter which topic Heddy tackles my heart is always full. Thus, she opens our eyes to poignant worlds that spark curiosity and conversation.
Around the World in 50 Concerts
The opening scene of the movie shows the concert and percussionists with a set of cymbals. He is waiting to play only one note close to the very end. That note matters. Without that one note, the entire scene would lose its impact. I was taken by many poignant layers of that scene. Waiting to play for just one note, and how it is important in creating harmony in a beautiful piece of music. This simple yet interesting decision sets the tone of the movie and draws you in. In that 30-second opening, you’ll find an interesting analogy to life. All those little moments intertwined have a powerful story to tell.
Dame La Mano
For Cubans dancing is one of life’s necessities, like walking, eating, making love and breathing. This inner drive creates a strong zest for life. Dancing means much more than just ‘a night out’ –for the characters in this film it’s their oxygen.
In 2016, Dutch Queen Maxima awarded the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prijs to Heddy Honigmann. The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds not only praised Heddy for the exceptional way in which she conducts interviews but also for the loving way in which she depicts the strengths, the joys, and the vulnerabilities of people from all walks of life. Heddy has been recognized internationally and received numerous renowned awards for her films and achievements.
“Heddy is simply one of the contemporary masters of the form… [She has] the consistent and uncanny ability to capture moments of profound emotional honesty.”– Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
Honigmann’s body of work is honored with retrospectives at multiple events around the globe. To illustrate, she has been featured at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cinema Arsenal in Berlin, the Madrid Film Museum, the Pacific Film Archive in San Francisco, and the Paris Film Festival, among many other venues.
Where to See Movies by Heddy Honigmann
If you’re interested in her work you can find it on Amazon. The documentary “Buddy” is on iTunes. However, dear reader, do start first with “Forever.” It’s a wonderful treat for our hearts. Enjoy!