Vivian Maier was a mystery even to those who knew her. A secretive nanny in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, she died in 2009 and would have been forgotten.
But John Maloof, an amateur historian, uncovered thousands of negatives at a storage locker auction and changed history. Now, Vivian Maier is hailed as one of the greatest 20th Century photographers along with Diane Arbus Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee.
And that is just where the story begins. Finding Vivian Maier follows the filmmakers as they unearth Vivian’s story, combing through thousands of negatives and a mountain of other material (including hundreds of hours of Super 8 film footage and audio recordings) left behind in Maier’s storage lockers. As the filmmakers track down an odd collection of parents who hired her, children she cared for, store owners, movie theater operators and curious neighbors who remember her, the story that emerges goes beyond cliches of the undiscovered artist and offers a portrait that is at times bewildering and troubling. Maier’s story pushes us to ask as many questions about ourselves as it does about her.
Finding Vivian Maier was Directed & Produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (Bowling for Columbine, Religulous) who are Chicago natives. John once worked the swap meets and storage lockers that led to the discovery of Vivian’s photographs and Charlie grew up in the North Shore neighborhoods where Vivian was a nanny.
Since the discovery of Vivian’s work, Maloof is now the chief curator of her photographs. In 2008 he established the Maloof Collection with the purpose of preserving and making publicly available the work of Vivian Maier. Jeff Garlin, an Executive Producer on the film, is a producer, writer, director and actor whose credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm.
The film will be ready later this year.