Astra Taylor is a writer and documentary filmmaker. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1979 and raised in Athens, Georgia.
She holds an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research and has been an instructor in sociology departments at the University of Georgia and State University of New York, New Paltz where she has taught classes on social theory, globalization, and the sociology of film. Her writing has appeared in the Monthly Review, The Nation, Adbusters, Salon, and other outlets.
In 2001 she spent two months in southern Senegal with a partner producing and directing (and later editing) The Miracle Tree: Moringa Oleifera, a 45-minute documentary shot on digital video. The project was commissioned by an international NGO to record efforts of a local sustainable development project to alleviate the plight of infant malnutrition.
In 2002 Astra associate produced Persons of Interest, a feature documentary directed by Allison Maclean (Jesus’ Son) about the round up and detention of Muslims and Arabs in the aftermath of September 11th. The film was an official selection at the 2004 Sundance, Rotterdam, and Human Rights Watch film festivals and won the Amnesty International Humanitarian Award at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival.
Astra then directed Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most famous philosopher. It premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, is distributed in North America by Zeitgeist Films and the Institute for Contemporary Art in the UK, and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.
Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008. A companion book will be published by The New Press in spring 2009.