Immy Humes’ films and videos tell engaging real stories in a distinctive voice, recognizable for its intelligence, irony, and humor. Her works treat serious underlying social and political themes in a variety of formats and styles. Her subjects have ranged widely, from madness to Bill Clinton to murder to dogs.
Immy’s independent feature, DOC, opened to many excellent reviews at NYC’s Film Forum (2008) and aired nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens. About her late father, HL “Doc” Humes, the film is a stylistically original take on a literary “beautiful mind,” a political, personal, and cultural tale of mental illness, politics, and creativity. Thanks to the film, Random House republished HL Humes’ two acclaimed novels, which had been out of print for 50 years.
Immy has received honors including an Academy Award nomination, screenings at Film Forum and MOMA in NYC; festivals in Amsterdam (IDFA), Leningrad, Mannheim, Los Angeles (AFI), Florida, and Arkansas (Hot Springs); and INPUT, the annual public TV conference. Her films have aired on POV (PBS), and many other TV channels here and abroad. She has won grants and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain, the NEA, NYSCA, Jerome, Robeson, Soros (now Sundance Fund), ITVS, NEH, CPB and other funders.
Her first independent documentary, A Little Vicious, about a dog “with ties to the pit bull family” was nominated for an Oscar in 1992. The New York Post called it a “superb… splendid little comedy” that “shows how racism and class prejudice affect our perceptions of something as seemingly uncomplicated as a dog”; The New York Times praised the “literary quality of this offbeat documentary,” which “pays rewarding attention to the little peculiarities of all involved.”Lizzie Borden Hash & Rehash (1997), about America’s favorite “self-made orphan,” features 28 “Bordenites:” scientists, poets, historians, a Gertrude Stein expert—and three artists who adopted the name themselves. A plain-style study of the virtues of talking heads, the film explores obsession, projection, how Americans relate to history, and the cumulative effect of multiple points of view. Newsday found it “swift, sharp, incisive and curiously, unexpectedly funny.” The New York Press liked its “elegant black humor.”
Immy’s TV documentaries are often portraits of unusual people, from Wade Davis, ethnobotanist and indigenous culture activist (Nat Geo, 2002, to Dorothy Lewis, a psychiatrist with a compelling theory about violence (A&E, 2001) and Joseph Paul Franklin, a racist serial killer on death row (CourtTV, 1999). For Michael Moore’s TV Nation (NBC, 1994) she created Pets on Prozac and The Boy from Bubbles (about Bill Clinton’s real hometown, Hot Springs, Arkansas). She has made many segments, for Dateline NBC, USA, and f/x.
A major educational website about Design called 3d&i that Immy created with her company, The Doc Tank, for CPB won the Webby for Best Youth Site in 2003.
Immy loves to consult and write grants for other filmmakers, and is a devoted teacher of documentary. She has taught practice and theory at The New York Film Academy, The New School, NYU/Poly, and City College; and given presentations and master classes at the University of Chicago; University of Texas, Austin; and Connecticut College among others.
She graduated from Harvard with honors in Social Studies, and started out in TV on such programs as an Emmy-winning media criticism program with Hodding Carter; an early environmental news service; an investigative unit of ABC News; Declarations for PBS; and A Life Apart (1997), a feature about Hasidic Judaism. She is a proud native and lifelong resident of New York City.
Read about Immy in The Austin Chronicle and The New York Times.