Verena Paravel

Cinematographer, Film director

1971 –


Who is Verena Paravel?

Véréna Paravel is a French anthropologist and artist who works in film, video, and photography.

Paravel was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, to French parents, and grew up in Algeria, Portugal, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, the Soviet Union, and France. She taught at the Université de Toulouse, and received her PhD in Anthropology and Communication Sciences from the Université de Toulouse II. She later worked with Bruno Latour at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. In 2004, she moved to the United States, where she had a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University.

Since 2006, Verena Paravel has worked with Lucien Castaing-Taylor at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. She has been a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, and in 2012-13 she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow in Film, Video, Sound, and New Media at the Film Study Center and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is also on the master class faculty at the Ecole des Arts Politiques at Sciences Po in Paris. In 2013, she and Castaing-Taylor jointly received the True Vision Award from the True/False Film Festival. Her works in film and video have screened at Berlin, Locarno, New York, Toronto, and other film festivals. They include 7 Queens, Interface Series, Foreign Parts, and Leviathan. Recorded during an aimless extended walk beneath the elevated tracks of the #7 subway line in New York City, 7 Queens wanders in the fragile zone of fleeting relations. Interface Series is a series of five videos filmed entirely through Skype. Foreign Parts is a non-fiction film about an auto parts junk yard in Queens, New York. Leviathan is a film about humanity and the sea that is set in the Atlantic Ocean. Foreign Parts was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and won seven international awards, including the Leopard for Best First Feature and the Best First Feature Jury award at the Festival del Film Locarno and the Punto de Vista Award for Best Film. Leviathan won twenty international awards. Dennis Lim, in the New York Times, wrote that Leviathan “looks and sounds like no other documentary in history… filmmaking at its most visceral and immersive.” In the Village Voice, Melissa Anderson described it as a “watery knockout,” and argued that “Leviathan explodes the antiquated paradigm of the documentary or ethnographic film.”

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Apr 21, 1971
Also known as
  • Véréna Paravel
  • France
  • Switzerland

on July 23, 2013


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