Heather Courtney (Director/Producer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. Her film Where Soldiers Come From, about young men enlisting in the National Guard and being deployed to Iraq, had its national broadcast premiere on POV in 2011. It has been nominated for a 2012 News & Documentary Emmy Award for outstanding coverage of a news story. Where Soldiers Come From won the 2012 Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award and in 2011 won Best Documentary Feature Editing Award at the SXSW Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary at the Philadelphia Film Festival and the Founders Award for Best U.S. Documentary at the Traverse City Film Festival. It was a pick on several “Top 10 Films of 2011” lists, including Salon.com, which ranked it as No. 3 for best nonfiction television.
Previously, Courtney directed and produced Letters from the Other Side, broadcast on more than 60 PBS stations; and Los Trabajadores, winner of the IDA Award for Best Student Documentary and Audience Award at SWSX and broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens. In addition, she was a co-director on Roger Weisberg’s 2006 POV documentary Critical Condition.
Courtney spent eight years as a photographer and writer for the United Nations and refugee and immigrant-rights organizations, working in such places as Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. She holds a master’s degree in film production from The University of Texas at Austin and is a recipient of the prestigious United States Artists fellowship along with grants from ITVS and the Sundance Documentary Fund, among others. Like her subjects in Where Soldiers Come From, Courtney hails the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is proud to call herself a Yooper.