Jessica Yu


Jessica Yu spent the month of September in the artist apartment editing a fundraising trailer for her new film about the life and work of the reclusive self-taught artist Henry Darger. Yu returned in March 2001 to premiere the trailer and discuss the making of the film. In March 2005 Yu returned again to show the finished film, In the Realms of the Unreal.

In the Realms of the Unreal film poster, Jessica Yu.
In the Realms of the Unreal film poster, Jessica Yu.

During her 2001 visit, Jessica Yu also worked with Jeremy Ward's third grade class from the Lawrence School. Before Yu arrived, the students visited the Museum to explore the Gothic Room and the Long Gallery. Each student chose an object that interested or excited them, and wrote a poem inspired by it. Next, Yu filmed the students as they recited their poetry in the galleries and edited the footage, juxtaposing the readers with a time-lapse film of the courtyard, objects from the collection, and recordings of music sung and played by the students at school. On the fourth day, Yu showed the completed film to the class, and described how she made it.

Jessica Yu is a film director, writer, producer and editor. In 1997, Yu won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien, a portrait of the poet-journalist who lived for forty years confined by polio into an iron lung. Her first feature length film, The Living Museum, documented an art community at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, New York, and aired on HBO in the summer of 1999. Her most recent documentary, Misconception (2014), was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the TriBeCa Film Festival. Yu has also directed episodes of Grey's Anatomy, ER, and The West Wing. She is a recipient of the Murrow Award for Journalism from the Skeptics Society, the DREAM Media Award from the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, and ACV's Asian American Media Award.