David Scott Kessler

30 Nov 2016


David Scott Kessler, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


David Scott Kessler, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


David Scott Kessler filming The Pine Barrens, 2015, on location in the Great Swamp, Wharton State Forest. Photo by John Pettit.

"Often with little more than tone and concept in mind, I will begin filming and, like the traveler, see where that leads me."

David Scott Kessler (b. 1975) is a filmmaker and director whose work explores place, moving through "the confluence between the real and imagined," he says. Originally a painter, his work combines film, installation, writing, performance, and drawing to suggest what he describes as "a world beyond reality." Kessler's current project, The Pine Barrens—which confronts environmental degradation and human response to it—has included bi-monthly performances over the last three years, during which he collaborated with The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra, inspiring him to think about what he sees as the "untapped potential for the merger of live music and documentary." In 2014, he produced and directed two music videos for singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. He has studied at Parsons School of Design, The University of the Arts, Constantijn Hygens Christelijke Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in the Netherlands, and Montclair State University. Kessler's work has been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Housing Works, New York; Summerhall, Edinburgh; The National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, and many others. He is the founder of the media production company Studioscopic.