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Saturday, June 15
12:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Landmark E-Street Cinema

555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

A Photographic Memory


Rachel Elizabeth Seed

Executive Producers

Kirsten Johnson, Maida Lynn, Hinda Gilbert, Robina Riccitiello


Rachel Elizabeth Seed, Sigrid Dyekjær, Beth Levison, Matt Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, Danielle Varga


Christopher Stoudt, Eileen Meyer, Tyler Hubby


Thirty years after her mother’s death, photographer Rachel Elizabeth Seed discovers her mother’s work—more than 50 hours of interviews with the greatest photographers of the 20th Century, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Roman Vishniac, Cornell Capa, and Bruce Davidson.

Sheila Turner-Seed, a daring, world-traveling journalist ahead of her time, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm when Rachel was just 18 months old. When Rachel threads in the audio reels and presses play, she hears her mother’s voice for the first time since she was a baby. Moved to uncover more of what she left behind, Rachel sets out to revisit her mom’s subjects, family and friends, revisiting the photographers she interviewed decades before.

As new truths emerge, Rachel builds an unlikely relationship with her mother through the audio recordings, photographs, and films her mother made during her brief life, crafting an imagined conversation through the cinematic medium. As she discovers the shocking secrets that may have led to her mother’s untimely death, Rachel’s ability to forge her own path hinges on how these revelations affect her own life. The film draws from footage of Rachel’s visits to the photographers her mother interviewed, Sheila’s award-winning audio-visual work, Super 8 family films, still photography, audio letters and journals, weaving together personal and photohistorical media to tell a universal story—about facing mortality and loss, the construction of memory and the restoration of a legacy.

Along this path, Rachel explores the question of whether it is possible to get to know someone through the things they leave behind.

Director, A Photographic Memory

Originally from London, Rachel Elizabeth Seed is a Los Angeles and Brooklyn-based nonfiction storyteller working in film, photography and writing. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Chicken + Egg Pictures, NYFA, Field of Vision, the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, the Maine Media Workshops, the Roy W. Dean grant, the Jewish Film Institute, Jewish Story Partners, and IFP/Gotham Labs, among others. Formerly a photo editor at New York Magazine, her photography has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography. She was a cameraperson on several award-winning feature documentaries, including Sacred by Academy-Award-winning filmmaker Thomas Lennon. Rachel’s writing has been published by No Film School, the Sundance Institute, and Talkhouse and she is co-founder of the Brooklyn Documentary Club, a thriving film collective with more than 300 members.