Filmmaker Nora Jacobson was born in Norwich, Vermont and spent eight years of her childhood in Paris. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned an MFA from the school of the Chicago Art Institute. She is one of Vermont’s most prolific and gifted filmmakers.


Her films include Delivered Vacant (an eight year project about gentrification in Hoboken, NJ which the NY Times called “an urban epic”), My Mother’s Early Lovers, Nothing Like Dreaming, Tremors in the System, Sun and Moon Were Children and Lived on the Earth, and Habits and Choices: Living with HIV.


Nora’s works have won wide acclaim, including the Golden Gate Award, the Best Independent Film Award at the Ajijic Festival Internacional de Cine, the Audience Award at the Maine International Film Festival, Best of Fest at the Lake Placid Film Forum, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


A former film professor in New York, Nora returned to the Green Mountain State 21 years ago. Since then, she founded Vermont Unity TV, a film contest for young filmmakers. She sits on the Community Council of Vermont PBS, and she founded the White River Film Festival.


Nora’s signature work is the 2014 film series, Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie. This history of Vermont culture was created in a collaboration of more than 50 Vermont filmmakers, with Nora at the helm. The extraordinary 6-part, 9-hour film, was 7 years in the making. Nora’s ambitious vision to tell the story of Vermont on film—from the Abenakis to the slaves to the present day—is a unique experiment in artistic collaboration.

One could say that she has taken documentary filmmaking to a higher level by producing a non-fiction epic that is varied in content and filmic style, while giving the impression of having a master puppeteer. This magnum opus has opened our eyes to aspects of Vermont's history, and perhaps its singularity, in a way that no other medium has done.

Nora’s works in progress include a biography of the Vermont poet Ruth Stone, The Hanji Box about art and adoption in Korea, and an untitled film about pond hockey and the communities that arise around it.

Herb Lockwood Prize in the Arts

2016 Winner

Nora Jacobson