Rachel Beth Anderson, a Sundance award winning cinematographer, began her career filming in conflict zones across North Africa and the Middle East, including Libya, Syria, South Sudan, and Afghanistan – she was on the ground in Egypt during the 2011 uprising for the investigative documentary series PBS Frontline, and has continued to produce and shoot on over twenty acclaimed films for the series. Anderson’s focus on the Middle East extended to her shooting award winning independent documentaries E-TEAM, THEO WHO LIVED and her directorial debut, FIRST TO FALL.
Broadcast on BBC’s Storyville Global, FIRST TO FALL was born of an 8-month journey spanning the 2011 Libyan war. Screening at festivals worldwide, after premiering at IDFA, the film garnered international praise – among the accolades the film won two grand jury awards at the investigative journalism festival FIGRA in France, the Grand Prix Jury Award at IRFF in Poland, and was featured at the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents.
Originally from North Dakota, Anderson graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Journalism school, producing a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award winning documentary BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS. Prior to graduating she participated in a Fulbright sponsored journalism program based in Cairo, Egypt focusing on international reporting and conversational Arabic. Anderson officially relocated to Cairo in 2010.
Anderson recently completed her second feature documentary, UNSCHOOLED, that she both co-filmed/directed, premiering at DOC NYC and awarded the Prix D’or – Best of Fest at Lower East SIde FIlm Festival. UNSCHOOLED, is a character driven film focused on the racial and class disparity of education through a lens of alternative school choices, based in Philadelphia, PA.
Currently Anderson is based in Brooklyn, NY – documenting the Covid crisis in America for a series of films for PBS Frontline – and in the final stages of production as Co-Director/DOP on the feature documentary, GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE.
The film GREAT PHOTO, LOVELY LIFE is an investigative verite doc following the journey of a heroin as she fearlessly searches for answers to her family’s past, while confronting the trauma of sexual abuse that has been passed down for generations – the culture of silence in the wider community and the failures of the legal system that enabled an abuser for decades. Slated to be released in 2022.