NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke’s career has run the course of 33 years. She started her career in 1988 and worked her way up to lead cinematographer. In 2011, she was the cinematographer for the Oscar-nominated documentary God is Bigger Than Elvis about actress Dolores Hart who renounced her successful career at the age of 24 to become a Benedictine nun, the film’s success was a precursor of what was to come for Raschke. She has since been the director of photography for multiple award-winning films: the Emmy award-winning documentary RBG about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Peabody Award-winning film Black Magic on ESPN, and Oscar short-listed films Mad Hot Ballroom, Particle Fever, Atomic Homefront and The Freedom to Marry.
Right before the recent purchase of Twitter by tech magnate Elon Musk for $44 billion dollars, Raschke was working behind the camera to bring to life CNN +’s Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech, a five-part documentary-series about the world’s most powerful CEO’s and how their companies reshaped our world.
Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech examines the rise of Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. This documentary series unearths the unabridged history of these organizations, from their meager origins to their current standing as billion-dollar entities and their impact on our society. The series uses a combination of archival footage and interviews with field experts, to give the viewers insight into the genesis of the worlds most influential companies and their polarizing founders: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Raschke has worked on many projects, of varying subjects but what ties them all together is her method and style of filmmaking: Cinéma vérité. The term itself comes from the French film movement that took off in the 1960s, wherein directors filmed people in everyday situations speaking unscripted dialogue and interacting authentically. The term is used to describe a style of filmmaking that is unimposing.
NYFA Documentary Filmmaking Instructor Claudia Raschke behind the camera.
Raschke has a masterful eye for the truth and her style of filming allows her to tackle nuanced and complex subjects, similar to the ones in Land of the Giants: Titans of Tech and God is Bigger than Elvis, with intimacy. During a conversation with 20/20 host Liz Hinlein, Raschke explained that the key to documentary filmmaking is ceasing the moment. She also shared with us that, at times, while filmmaking, there is a level of vulnerability shared by both the cinematographer and the subject. Raschke said “there is bonding because we experience something together: emotions, anger, resolve, struggle and when that happens they do turn to me.”
Check out the interview below where Raschke discusses her experience filming the political legend Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the documentary film RBG, and cinéma vérité, the art of truthful documentary filmmaking.
Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.