As Questlove, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker in his own right, said onstage at this year's 95th Oscars, the power of documentary filmmaking is in the "unique lens and points of view" of the filmmaker. Now, the Academy's new podcast, The Art of Documentary, is delving deeper than ever before into the minds of some of the field's most influential voices.

Each week, host Jim LeBrecht, who co-directed 2020's Oscar-nominated Crip Camp with Nicole Newnham and was also one of the film's sound designers, will speak to new documentarians, sharing personal stories and chronicling their unique filmmaking methods. New episodes release on Wednesdays. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts or at the bottom of this post.

Episode 3: Chase Joynt and Aisling Chin-Yee

Chase Joynt and Aisling Chin-Yee co-directed 2020's No Ordinary Man, which looks back on the life and death of trans jazz musician Billy Tipton, and at the greater history of representation of gender and sexuality in media.

"As minoritized subjects," Joynt says, "we are used to being scrappy, and finding what we can in very imperfect historical documents and places, and ripping it, and transforming it, and making it usable in the present."

Alongside interviews with LGBTQ+ historians and Tipton's son, Billy Jr., the documentary features recreations of his life staged with trans performers. The music, however, is original to Tipton. "There are the things that he did consciously leave behind," explains Chin-Yee. "That's where his voice is, that's where you hear him touch the piano keys instead of us doing a recreation or anything else that would feel not truthful to his actual experience."

Episode 2: Bing Liu

Bing Liu made his feature debut with the 2018 coming-of-age doc, Minding the Gap, which was a Best Documentary Feature Film nominee at the 91st Academy Awards.

Growing up a Chinese immigrant in suburban Illinois, "I felt awkward and I didn't feel like I belonged, so I would just ask people about their parents or something, and it became like a superpower in a way," Liu reflects on his journey to documentary filmmaking. "Having a camera means that you have a weird sort of agency and power within social settings."

He followed Minding the Gap with 2021's All These Sons, an empathetic look at ending gun violence in Chicago's South and West sides. "You want the world to be better," says the filmmaker. "You don't want the people that are coming up behind you to have to go through the hell you went through. That's been a motivation in my life for a lot of things that I've done."

Episode 1: Danny Cohen

Danny Cohen is the director of the documentary Anonymous Club, which he shot on 16-millimeter film as he followed Australian musician and songwriter Courtney Barnett over three years of touring.

"After the first six months, I was like, 'I feel like I just don’t need to be shooting shows,'" he explains. "Because the plan was never to make a music documentary that had non-stop music, you know? I wanted a story. I wanted something deep. I wanted something that people could relate to universally — not just Courtney fans."

Seeing how the final film resonated with audiences, Cohen reflects, "I had a lot of people come up to me afterwards and be like, 'I just want to be Courtney’s friend...' It’s those sorts of responses that I really want Courtney to see, and feel, and understand. That, by being so vulnerable, people can connect to you. And they see who you are, and they understand."


Why Judy Blume Agreed to Star in a Documentary About Her Life (Exclusive)

'He's Got Nothing to Hide': Davis Guggenheim on Revealing a New Side of Michael J. Fox (Exclusive)

'Imagining the Indian': Director Ben West on the Fight for Native Representation (Exclusive)