Emma Miller: Father Figures

2024 Filmmaker in Residence

When Bruce, a retired theater director, begins posting deeply intimate conversations with his growing collection of ventriloquist’s dummies, his daughter Emma is left with questions. Why is Bruce deriving fulfillment from long talks with invented characters that he himself speaks for? And why does ventriloquism allow him to be more open than he is with his own daughter? In an attempt to understand Bruce’s motivations and repair a relationship fractured by divorce and infidelity, Emma digs into home videos, conducts interviews with Bruce’s puppets, and revisits sites from both of their childhoods. As she begins to recognize the key role performance has always played between them, Emma decides to commission the creation of dummies that resemble her and Bruce. Together, Emma and Bruce write, rehearse and film scripted scenes using their puppet avatars, allowing them to share more deeply than ever before and forge a new vision for their relationship.

Emma D. Miller is a documentary filmmaker, creative consultant, and the founder of Marcona Media. She produced Iliana Sosa's Gotham Award-nominated, SXSW award-winning WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND (ARRAY Releasing/Netflix), a New York Times "Critic's Pick," and recently directed the short documentary THE SCHOOL OF CANINE MASSAGE, which will premiere at SXSW 2024. As development executive for nonfiction at Concordia Studio, she worked on Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning films that premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, and Telluride, including TIME (Amazon Studios), BOYS STATE (Apple TV+/A24), and PROCESSION (Netflix). She was a casting associate for Showtime's COUPLES THERAPY series, associate producer of the Academy Award-nominated short documentary KNIFE SKILLS (The New Yorker), and associate producer of the Oscar-shortlisted, Sundance award-winning feature UNREST (Independent Lens/Netflix). Emma was named one of DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40” and is a Sundance Producing Lab Fellow. Emma is currently producing Elizabeth Lo's MISTRESS DISPELLER (Impact Partners / Anonymous Content) and co-producing a feature for National Geographic Documentaries. She is interested in forging new ways of seeing, connecting, and knowing through film.

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