The film: At the crossing between man, architecture and landscape

The 70-minute documentary «Didi Contractor» observes an architect realizing her visions - which do not always match the expectations of her clients.

It is the portrait of a strong American woman who has made India her home for over sixty years. She has built almost thirty houses and other structures inspired by the local vernacular tradition. In all the buildings that she makes, Didi Contractor prioritizes ecological concerns as she adapts her skills to the needs of those who will use her buildings.

Following her work and her life, the film makes us aware of visionaries who have the potential to shift our headlong rush into destructive development. It also offers us a portrait of a creative individual who has reached her peak of creativity and productivity in her eighth decade, a time when many of her contemporaries are in retreat from life and work.

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The Protagonist: Didi Contractor

Didi Contractor was born in 1929 in America. Her German father, Edmund Kinzinger, and American mother, Alice Fish Kinzinger, were both Expressionist painters, associated with Bauhaus group of the 1920s. Although she always felt drawn towards architecture, she studied art. As a young woman coming to adulthood in the middle of the twentieth century, she was not encouraged to study architecture.

In 1951, she met a young man from India and fell in love with him. They married and Didi Contractor happily set out to begin a new life in distant India with her husband, Narayan Contractor, a Hindu student of civil engineering. They raised a family and Didi immersed herself in her new home and its cultural patterns, turning her training in art to design and architecture.

We Need Your Support to Tell this Story of Life and Art!

The production of a documentary to be filmed in North India,
is extremely time-consuming and costly. The members of the team have already agreed to forego most of their salary - but costs involved still exceed our financial possibilities. We are eager to make an outstanding film about an unusual and inspiring woman and her architectural work and we would like to release this film at festivals and in cinemas. We hope to make the issues of responsible, authentic architecture and appropriate cultural context accessible to a broader audience. With your support, it will be possible!

If the funding is successful, we will be able to pay:

  • the team’s expenses for their meals and accommodation in northern India during their time of shooting
  • a hired vehicle and driver to get us safely through the foothills of the Himalayas to reach the Kangra valley the location of Didi Contractor’s work
  • for insurance for all our equipment, such as our camera and sound equipment, so we do not, in case of loss or damage, ruin the person who has offered to lend it to us for free

On behalf of the whole crew: Thank you very much!