Office Location: RSJ 103D
Office Phone Number: (775) 784-1791
Kari Barber is a journalist and an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking and Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C. and a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.
Barber’s most recent documentary Struggle & Hope premiered internationally in Cannes at the Festival International du Film Panafricaine and has won numerous awards including an “Award of Excellence” from the Broadcast Educational Association. The film is currently screening in festivals across the U.S. and abroad. Along with the feature-length documentary, Barber also produced a participatory website for “Struggle & Hope” which included oral histories, photographs and more than 20 short web videos about the remaining historically all-black towns in Oklahoma. The website won “Best in Competition” in its division at the Broadcast Education Association in 2016 and was named “Curator’s Choice” at the International Digital Media and Arts Association’s iDEAS Exhibition in 2015. As part of the participatory storytelling project, Barber received a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council to hold screening events in five of the remaining historically all-black towns. A selection of the short films was screened at each event and the web site unveiled. The events were an open public dialogue bringing people from the outside into the towns to learn from townspeople firsthand about the issues they are facing. An Associated Press story about these events was picked up and run by 40 media outlets across the United States.
Previous to the Struggle & Hope web site and documentary film project, Barber’s short documentary Baking Alaska premiered in 2013 at La Femme International Film Festival in Los Angeles and went on to screen at more than a dozen film festivals across the U.S. The film won many festival awards including “Best of Competition” in its category at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts in 2015 and “Best Short Documentary” at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Baking Alaska is distributed internationally through the Gaia Corporation.
In addition to directing and producing her own films and transmedia projects, Barber has also worked in various roles on other films including as a researcher and reporter for two documentaries for the premier PBS public affairs show Frontline – Flying Cheaper and Lost in Detention. She also co-produced The Mama Sherpas (2014) from executive directors Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein and directed by Brigid Maher.
In addition to documentary filmmaking, Barber has worked internationally as a freelance journalist in Southeast Asia and West and Central Africa where she reported for international media organizations including the Voice of America, Associated Press Television News, Marie Claire magazine, Reuters news agency, France 24, the United Nations humanitarian news analysis site IRIN, and The Christian Science Monitor. As a journalist she traveled to nearly a dozen African countries producing radio, television and multimedia reports on topics including dissident bloggers, government human rights abuses, presidential elections, civil conflicts, art, sports, oil unrest and economic growth. She also worked in Sierra Leone as a media trainer for the organization Journalists for Human Rights.
Barber’s first media jobs were at a newspaper in Cambodia and a television station in Little Rock, Ark.
Barber’s research interests include interactive documentary, nonlinear narrative, and storytelling and technology.
Select Media Production and Publication Links
Struggle & Hope – www.struggleandhope.com
“From Documentary Filmmaker to Interactive Storyteller: What Filmmakers Can Learn from Other Narrative Forms.” iDMAa Conference 2014 Edition. Volume 10. Number 1. 2014.
Baking Alaska – www.bakingalaska.com