Interview with Seth Kramer – “The Anthropologist” premieres at DOC NYC 11/13/15

Seth Kramer

Seth Kramer

From dodging a charging bull in the mountains of Peru to crossing a sea in a small boat with threatening storm clouds looming overhead in Siberia, Seth Kramer is the Indiana Jones of documentary filmmaking.   Kramer travels the world to make documentaries for his company Ironbound Films, produced in conjunction with his partners Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger.

Ironbound’s latest film, “The Anthropologist,” will have its world premiere on November 13 as part of DOC NYC. In discussing the new documentary Kramer explained, “You are looking at the world from the eyes of a social scientist trying to make sense of the world .”

“The Anthropologist” follows anthropologist Susie Crate and her teenaged daughter Katie over a five year period as they travel to different parts of the world examining how climate change affects different cultures.   Kramer continued, “It’s about the science, but it’s also about the scientist, humanizing the scientist.” By way of example Kramer recalled watching anthropological documentaries on cable TV and PBS when growing up. He remembered that, “The scientists were always propped up at the mouth of the tomb of the mummy. You never got to see they arrived there. Did they get sick along the way? Did they get everyone angry, or fight with people. What makes a scientist human? We’re very into this idea of humanizing the scientists and following along on their adventures and also misadventures.”

“The Anthropologist” not only humanizes the scientist, but also humanizes the victims of climate change.  Kramer said that many people talk about the effects climate change will have for the future. In contrast, Ironbound Films wanted to make a film about people who are dealing with climate change right now. “We wanted to tell this story through the eyes of an anthropologist, a social scientist. These are the scientists who go out and learn human behavior and culture. These things are at the heart of climate change right now, the human element and the investigation of what the human response is. That is how we pursued and ultimately found Susie Crate. We did not know of her existence in the beginning. We were looking for an anthropologist who would classify as an expert on this issue. There aren’t too many of them, by the way,” Kramer explained.

“Anthropologists all over the world are studying cultures that are confronting climate change, but how many of those anthropologists understand the big picture and are also familiar with everyone else’s work? There aren’t too many people that fit that bill, but Susie Crate was one of those people.

DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival, runs from November 12 – 19 in Manhattan. For more information on DOC NYC, and to purchase tickets for “The Anthropologist,” go to



About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on November 9, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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