Who is Kirsten Johnson? Meet the Dick Johnson is Dead filmmaker!

Dick Johnson is Dead has launched on Netflix today as part of a filmmakers’ twist on her father’s journey with dementia.

Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson is the director behind the documentary, which showcases different possible ways – of a violent nature – that psychiatrist Dick Johnson could die. While the series has been labelled “radical”, it has quickly led many viewers to become curious about who came up with the film idea.

So who is Kirsten Johnson? We found out more about the director – meet the Netflix star here!

Screenshot: Kirsten (second right) with her father Dick Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead, Netflix

Meet Kirsten Johnson

Kirsten is a 54-year-old American documentary filmmaker and cinematographer from Wyoming.

Her most recent documentary is Netflix’s Dick Johnson is Dead, which she also stars in herself.

She is best known for her camera work on popular documentaries such as Citizenfour and The Oath. It all started when she graduated from Brown University in 1987 with a BA in Fine Arts and Literature.

Kirsten then started her career in filmmaking in West Africa, before she went on to study film in Paris.

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Where else have we seen Kirsten’s work?

Kirsten released film Cameraperson four years ago, which puts together decades of her work all across the globe as a documentary cinematographer.

Despite growing up with a very religious family who restricted her access to film and television, she now has more than 70 credits in different documentaries and movies, such as Jacques Derrida, the documentary Darfur Now and Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

She is not just a cinematographer but a director for films too, such as The Above.

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Kirsten on Dick Johnson is Dead

Kirsten’s most recent Netflix documentary Dick Johnson is Dead is dedicated to her father Richard, who has Alzheimer’s. The documentary focuses on filming Richard towards the end of his life.


It was first launched at Sundance Festival this year. She co-wrote the documentary with Nels Bangerter and concludes the documentary saying:

We thought that maybe we could stop what was coming, that we’d found a way to hold on. Or almost found a way. What can you say when you’ve lost a best friend, or a mother, or your best friend and your father? All I know is that Dick Johnson is dead.



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