Unable to find the appropriate parka, we sat out this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where two documentaries on our 2009 must-see list were among the award winners. Ondi Timoner‘s We Live in Public, chronicling a decade in the life of Internet voyeur/pioneer/artist Josh Harris, was the festival’s big documentary winner, taking home the grand jury prize. Meanwhile, the hotly anticipated film that captures the making of Vogue‘s September 2007 issue (weighing nearly five pounds, it sold more than 13 million copies) won for excellence in cinematography for a U.S. documentary.
So how did The September Issue come about? Two words: Anna Wintour. “I like to joke that I was able to convince her to do this film by making her think that it was her idea,” says director R.J. Cutler (The War Room, Thin) in the film’s production notes. “But the truth is that focusing on the September issue as a structure was indeed her suggestion. She said it was something she always thought would make a great subject for a film.” Among Cutler’s greatest challenges was making the well-oiled machine of Vogue play on film. “We were filming a group of people who had been working together for years, in some cases decades,” says Cutler. “They worked together with a fluidity that was almost deceptive. They communicated with nods and glances, not with grand pronouncements. When we started filming there, we were stymied.”
Click “continued…” for a video in which Cutler discusses The September Issue and how he managed to get a skeptical Grace Coddington to stop asking him and his crew to go away. You’ll also get a sneek peek at a few clips.