Finding Vivian Maier

Synopsis: Real estate agent John Maloof explains how a trip to a local auction house, in search for old pictures to use for a history book about his neighborhood, resulted in him bidding and winning a box full of old negatives. John goes through the massive quantity of negatives, describes how impressed he is by the quality of the images, becomes quickly determined they are not reverent to his project and just puts them away. That could have very likely had been the end of the story, if the power of the images had not pushed him to fall in love with photography. John confides that his photo hobby quickly motivated him to set up a darkroom and devote large amounts of time printing. As he learned more about photography, he recognized that those negatives he had bought, then stored, were the work of a real master. In an attempt to confirm his suspicion, he selected about 100 images and put them online with the hope that the feedback would confirm his judgement as to the strength of the images.
Production: IFC Films
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 21 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
83 min

"We're gonna get a dumpster.

You're welcome to come and help us.

"If you see anything that you like that

we're gonna throw out, you can have. "

I just wanted to go find out

who she was. Just a quick thing.

I found this leather chest.

It was, like, taped shut with just,

like, box tape or something.

And so we cut it and we opened it.

And it was filled to the top

with rolls of undeveloped film.

I took one canister and

I shook it, and it rattled.

So I opened it and there

was teeth inside.

She had stuff wedged and hidden

in everything that she had.

Almost like... it's like a secret little

hiding spot for all of her little things.

A coupon, a note,

a flyer, bus passes, train cards.

Her hats. Shoes.

Her coats, her blouses.

I have uncashed income tax

cheques from the government

amounting to thousands of dollars.

I have around 100,000 negatives.

I have 700 rolls of

undeveloped colour film.

2,000 undeveloped rolls

of black-and-white film.

I realised everything needs to be

organised and scanned and archived.

But it was more than

I could handle myself.

So I thought, "Let's see what

the museums will do to help me.

"Maybe I could get this into MoMA.

Maybe I could get this into Tate Modern. "

I sent them... letters.

And here is the reply.

"Dear Mr Maloof,

on behalf of the curators,

"I would like to thank you for thinking of

the Department of Photography at MoMA.

"Unfortunately, the

museum cannot accommodate

"these photographs at this time. "

At that point,

I just figured, "I'm on my own.

"I'm gonna try to do an exhibition.

"I'm gonna do a book. "

It's an insane amount of work.

I'm kind of compulsive with stuff.

I just wanted people to

see this incredible work.

And I applied for a show at the

Cultural Center in Chicago.

They said this was the biggest turnout

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Finding Vivian Maier" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Jan. 2021. <>.

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