‘Sophie and the Baron’ director Alexandria Jackson on unifying power of art

Director Alexandria Jackson has a background in photo journalism, so her cousin Sophie Kipner thought she should meet Baron Wolman, the man behind some of the most famous photos in the history of Rolling Stone magazine. Kipner is an artist, and at the time she was reinterpreting some of Wolman’s iconic images. “I fell in love with their dynamic,” Jackson remembers. “The two of them were so charming and wonderful together that I just started filming as she started to reinterpret the first piece.” And thus “Sophie and the Baron” was born. The film made the Oscars shortlist for Best Documentary Short, and Jackson joined us for our short-film directors panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“Sophie and the Baron” is the collision of not two, but three different art forms: Wolman’s photos and Kipner’s blind contour drawings, both filtered through Jackson’s filmmaking. “I think there’s something so important about artists validating other artists and kind of the confidence that that can give you,” Jackson says about Wolman agreeing to both Kipner’s reinterpretations and her documentary. “There was a lot of trust there. Their friendship was different mediums, different ages, different areas, and it all works. Because I think that art can really unify us in beautiful ways.”

Sadly, Wolman died of ALS not long after shooting “Sophie and the Baron,” so the film now stands as a posthumous tribute to him. “I think that’s what’s so beautiful about Barron’s legacy,” Jackson explains. “It’s not just his incredible work — I mean, some of the most iconic photos of our time really.” It’s also “his philosophy in life, which was to just say yes, and to seize the moment and to follow your bliss, to collaborate, and to validate each other.”

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