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Behind the camera: Meet Clara and Julia Kuperberg of Wichita Films

May 2021: A Note from Inkandescent Women magazine publisher Hope Katz Gibbs and filmmaker Martine Melloul — “I want everyone to know my friends Clara and Julia Kuperberg, two filmmakers who are passionate about American film history and American culture,” says Martine, who has been a fan of their film company, Wichita Films, since they launched it in 2006 to produce and direct documentaries.

The two sisters come from different spheres.

About Julia: For three years, Julia was on the editorial board of the famous French TV show, Tracks, broadcast on the French/German channel ARTE. She also coordinated the teams before being solicited by the international company, Fremantle. She worked for Fremantle for two years. After several years working on shorts programs, Julia craved working on more long-form projects. She decided to join forces with her sister, Clara, already a documentary film director.

About Clara:  Attracted by the documentary form, for three years, Clara worked for CNDP, the French National Educational Institute, on a TV art documentary series. The series was broadcast on the French national channel France 5.  After she directed her first documentary in 2001 (she also directed approximately ten films for various producers: Lobster, Program 33, LGM), she joined forces with Julia and created their own company.

The Kuperberg sisters: The team works in equal measure as producers, directors, writers, and editors on their films. Their films, all in English, are distributed all over the world. Their last ones, This is Orson Welles and The Women Who Run Hollywood, was selected and screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2015 and 2016, and at Deauville American Cinema Festival 2015 and 2016, too, among other prestigious film festivals.

Awards and accolades: In April 2018, the Kuperberg sisters won the Best Director Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival for The Women Who Run Hollywood. And in June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences screened their film for a special screening at the Linwood Theater in Los Angeles. They have also edited 3 DVD boxes set collections with the prestigious Editions Montparnasse with 15 of their documentaries inside. Their most recent movie, Hannibal Hopkins & Sir Anthonywon the Best International Feature Documentary at The American Documentary and Animation Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) in Palm Springs.

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Photo of Clara and Julia by Sylvie Castioni