Frida Kahlo: A Documentary


Frida Kahlo: A Documentary

My first documentary short was for a class, "Gender and Sexuality in Latin America." I have been fascinated by Frida, but realistically, I knew very little about her. That all changed with this project. As I researched her life and read her own words, I realized that Frida Kahlo does not get the proper recognition that she deserves, despite being one of the most recognizable faces of the twentieth century.

Frida is most known for her subversive paintings and she quickly became a feminist icon. While all of the attention is deserved, it is just one small piece of her influence. Frida was a passionate Communist who housed, and loved, Leon Trotsky, a Soviet Russia exile. She challenged outdated notions of sexuality and fought for women's rights in Mexico. Frida also bridged the gap between traditional Mexican culture and a modern, globalized twentieth century. Of course, even these descriptions do not properly describe the nuances of Frida's life. 

My film is a traditional historical documentary, meaning that I used narration to tell the story over archive pictures, footage, and Frida's paintings. There are no interviews or talking heads. All of the pictures, footage, and art are copyrighted by either the Frida Kahlo Foundation, the Smithsonian, or PBS, but each allows fair use for educational purposes. I made this film in conjunction with a research paper. The film acts like a teaser for the deeper research conducted. 

This style of documentary is not my ideal style. It can be dry and dull. I tried to fix this by using music from the early twentieth century and a native Spanish speaker to read excerpts from Frida's diary to add more authenticity. I presented this film at a number of screenings including the UWF History Club and the 2017 Student Scholar Symposium. This film also won "Best Student Film" at the 2017 Ogeechee International History Film Festival.

Below, you can see the movie on YouTube. With over 6000 views, people have really responded well to this introduction to Frida Kahlo's life and influence.