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Alan Berliner's uncanny ability to combine experimental cinema, artistic purpose, and popular appeal in compelling film essays has made him one of America's most acclaimed independent filmmakers. The New York Times has described Berliner's work as "powerful, compelling and bittersweet... full of conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique... Alan Berliner illustrates the power of fine art to transform life."
Berliner's experimental documentary films, Wide Awake (2006), The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody’s Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast all over the world, and received awards, prizes, and retrospectives at many major international film festivals. The San Francisco International Film Festival called Berliner, “America’s foremost cinematic essayist.” The Florida Film Festival called him “the modern master of personal documentary filmmaking.” Over the years, Berliner’s films have become part of the core curriculum for documentary filmmaking and film history classes at universities worldwide, and are in the permanent collections of many film societies, festivals, libraries, colleges and museums.
In 2006, the International Documentary Association gave Berliner an International Trailblazer Award for “creativity, innovation, originality and breakthrough in documentary filmmaking.” His university course titles include "Experiments in Time, Light and Motion" and “Visual Thinking.”