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Susan Novick

Susan Novick

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Also Known As: Susan E. Novick Died:
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Renowned for shining a light on various taboo subjects largely ignored by the mainstream media, Kirby Dick was regarded as one of the most fearless investigative journalists of his generation. A graduate of three different art schools, Dick set the tone for his career with directorial debut, "Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate" (1986) and first began to attract awards attention a decade later with "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist" (1997), an unflinching documentary based on the performance artist's extreme way of coping with cystic fibrosis. Dick earned his first Oscar nomination in 2005 for "Twist of Faith" (2004), a powerful expose of sexual abuse within the Catholic church, and went onto tackle subjects as varied as corruption within the ratings system on "This Film is Not Yet Rated" (2006), the hypocrisy of closeted politicians in "Outrage" (2009) and the rape epidemic in the US military on "The Invisible War" (2012). The latter was not only showered with accolades, but also prompted changes in the law, and Dick further cemented his status as an important documentary filmmaker with "The Hunting Ground" (2014), an alarming look at systematic sexual assault...

Renowned for shining a light on various taboo subjects largely ignored by the mainstream media, Kirby Dick was regarded as one of the most fearless investigative journalists of his generation. A graduate of three different art schools, Dick set the tone for his career with directorial debut, "Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate" (1986) and first began to attract awards attention a decade later with "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist" (1997), an unflinching documentary based on the performance artist's extreme way of coping with cystic fibrosis. Dick earned his first Oscar nomination in 2005 for "Twist of Faith" (2004), a powerful expose of sexual abuse within the Catholic church, and went onto tackle subjects as varied as corruption within the ratings system on "This Film is Not Yet Rated" (2006), the hypocrisy of closeted politicians in "Outrage" (2009) and the rape epidemic in the US military on "The Invisible War" (2012). The latter was not only showered with accolades, but also prompted changes in the law, and Dick further cemented his status as an important documentary filmmaker with "The Hunting Ground" (2014), an alarming look at systematic sexual assault within US colleges.

Born in Phoenix, AZ, in 1952, Dick studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the California Institute of the Arts, and the American Film Institute before making his full-length directorial debut with "Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate" (1986), a documentary exploring the relationship between a sex surrogate and her clients. After directing "I Am Not A Freak" (1987), a TV short exploring the world of the freak show, Dick kept a low profile for over a decade before returning with "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist." Possibly the most extreme film of his career, the Sundance hit portrayed the final years of the titular performance artist, and his use of BDSM as a therapeutic device for cystic fibrosis, and immediately positioned Dick as one of documentary film-making's most daring new voices. Dick's next two projects proved to be less controversial, although no less intriguing, with "Chain Camera" (2001) a case study of high school life entirely assembled from footage shot by students and "Derrida" (2002), a portrait of the French philosopher which deconstructed both his private and professional life.

Dick returned to more eye-opening fare in 2003 with "Showgirls: Glitz & Angst," an instalment of the "America's Undercover" (HBO, 1983-) series which followed the creation of a topless dance troupe in a Las Vegas hotel/casino, and two years later earned his first Oscar nomination for "Twist of Faith" (2004), an emotionally-charged story of a fireman's attempt to come to terms with the sexual abuse he endured within the Catholic church as a young boy. Dick followed it up with "The End" (2005), a heart-wrenching and incredibly intimate portrait of five terminally ill patients as they face their final days, before switching his focus to the Motion Picture Association of America and their secretive ratings system in "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" (2006), a documentary which received a standing ovation at Sundance and inspired significant change within the classification board.

The hypocrisy of closeted politicians who promote anti-gay legislation was the subject of Dick's next film, "Outrage" (2009), which sparked just that amongst both those who were outed as well as the GLAAD Media Awards, who claimed that the film didn't "promote awareness, understanding and respect for LGBT lives." Three years later, Dick received the highest acclaim of his career for the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated "The Invisible War" (2012), which exposed the rape culture within the US military and subsequently inspired Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to implement various reforms designed to reduce the number of cases and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to introduce the Military Justice Improvement Act. Dick then attempted to provoke a similar change in policy with "The Hunting Ground" (2014), an investigation into the rise of sexual assaults on college campuses in the US, and two former students at the University of North Carolina in particular.

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