Five Questions With... Alison Chernick (JACKSON POLLOCK: BLUE POLES)

JACKSON POLLOCK: BLUE POLES is the true story behind the extraordinary price tag of Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles—now considered one of the most expensive paintings in the world, and one whose purchase almost brought down the Australian government.

We spoke with filmmaker Alison Chernick about this documentary short - learn more, and see it on Thursday, June 20 at 9am in the “Show and Tell” block!


NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for, or how you found your subject of the film.

ALISON: I was a close friend of collector/dealer Ben Heller who was responsible for getting Pollock’s work into the mainstream. He had followed my work for a while and asked me to do a film on Pollock and abstract expressionism.  When The National Gallery of Australia came to him regarding Blue Poles- which he had sold to them in 1973 - he referred me to them and this jumpstarted the project.

NFF: You're in the documentary block. How do you balance entertainment value with a factual accounting of events?

ALISON: For me I stick to facts. Truth is often stranger than fiction. It’s about how you weave the story. 

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

ALISON: A short is much easier in terms of story, financing, time management.  It’s harder in terms of traditional viewer platforms. But you can’t worry about any of that you just have to let the story / subject dictate the length. Many stories can be told concisely. 

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

ALISON: Working on a narrative project. Along with another documentary involving the art world.

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

ALISON: Heard it was a great festival!