Bernadette Wegenstein is an Austrian-born linguist, author and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker living in Baltimore. Her work brings together her feminist thought and her interest in human-centric storytelling. She studied semiotics with Umberto Eco at the University of Bologna and received her doctorate in linguistics from Vienna University. As a post-doctoral fellow, she studied comparative literature and film at Stanford University. At Hopkins she directs the Center of Advanced Media Study, and is a professor of Media Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She the author of several books in the field of media studies, including two MIT Press monographs. Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory, and The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the Construction of Beauty, and most recently the anthology Radical Equalities and Global Feminist Filmmaking (Vernon Press). She is currently writing a book about the filmmaker Jane Campion for Bloomsbury’s Philosophical Filmmakers Series.
Bernadette has produced and directed feature-length and short documentaries, including most recently the award-winning feature The Conductor, which has been screened at more than forty international festivals since its release at the Tribeca Film Festival, and had a theatrical release in North America. The film has won five Best Documentary film awards including two Audience Awards. The Conductor is streaming on PBS “Great Performances” as of March 2022. Her film See You Soon Again about Holocaust survivors living in Baltimore, which was co-produced by the Austrian Film Board, played on ORF and other European TV stations. Her intimate breast cancer documentary, The Good Breast, which premiered at the Geena Davis Gender Institute’s film festival at Bentonville, played at numerous festivals around the world including Shanghai.
Her recent documentary short, which she filmed during the pandemic, See Me: A Global Concert, won numerous awards among which Best Music Film, and Best Musical Editing and was launched on European TV in 2022. She is currently in post-production with the partly animated documentary Devoti Tutti (Saint Agatha’s Flight) a feminist retelling of the martyrdom of Saint Agatha, and in pre-production with the musical hybrid narrative film A Sweet Secret that adapts a play from 1927 pre-Holocaust Vienna.