David is a writer, editor and director of films. He was co-writer and an editor of Petra Costa’s Oscar nominated filmThe Edge of Democracy, an epic documentary for Netflix about the rise and fall of popular democracy in Brazil, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The film was also nominated for a Gotham Award, three International Documentary Awards, and two Critic’s Choice Awards, including two nominations for best writing.
As an editor and writer, he has collaborated extensively with the director Josephine Decker. He edited her Sundance competition entry Shirley, directed by Decker from a screenplay by Sarah Gubbins (I Love Dick), was consulting editor on her Madeline’s Madeline (Sundance 2018), co-writer and editor of Thou Wast Mild and Lovely ('10 Best Films of 2014' by The New Yorker), and consulting editor of Butter on the Latch. He has also collaborated extensively with Nepali new wave director, Deepak Rauniyar as editor and co-writer of White Sun, which premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where it won the Interfilm Award, screened at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival and 2017 New Directors/New Films Festival, and won numerous international prizes. He also edited Rauniyar’s Highway, and co-wrote the director’s new film The Sky Is Mine, which will go into production Winter 2020.
Recent credits include an editor of The Reagan Show, directed by Pacho Velez (Manakamana) and Sierra Pettengill (2017 Tribeca and Locarno Film Festivals), nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors’ Outstanding Achievement in Editing; editor and co-writer of Charlie Birns’ Human Affairs, (2018 Slamdance Film Festival; Olmo and the Seagull (collaborating writer and additional editor) by Petra Costa and Lea Glob, which won Best Film at VPH:DOX in 2014 and the Young Critics Award at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival.
He has collaborated several times with the anthropologist Elizabeth Povinelli and the Australian indigenous art collective Karrabing Indigenous Corporation as editor of Windjarrameru: the Stealing Cunts, on which he was also ‘visiting director,’ and as editor of their 2014 film When Dogs Talked, which was awarded Best Short Fiction Film at the 2015 Melbourne Film Festival. His most recent film as director includes the feature Daylight (2009) which was the ‘Critic’s Pick’ in both The New York Times and The New York Post on its release. Jeannette Catsoulis wrote of the film that it is “An unusually delicate psychological thriller ... [Barker's] films coax us into looking beneath the surface. What we find is mostly up to us.”
His previous feature Afraid of Everything featuring French actresses Nathalie Richard (Irma Vep) and Sarah Adler (Notre Musique) premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and was called “A miracle of indie filmmaking” by The New York Post. A short film Seven Days premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival, screened at over 40 international venues.
Besides making films, he has been active in distributing and programming other filmmakers’ work. David was the artistic director of the experimental cinema festival Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, founded by Athina Rachel Tsangari, which was called ‘the most inspiring and significant film festival in the country’ by IndieWIRE during his tenure, and co-founded Noon Pictures, an independent distribution and sales company that released films by filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Harun Farocki, Laura Mulvey, and Isaac Julien.
Under the name Alex Barker, he was guitarist in the bands Drunk Tank and Plywood. David has been a visiting professor at Brown University, Bard College, Boston University’s Kilachand, and others. He studied filmmaking and criticism with former Jean-Luc Godard partner Jean-Pierre Gorin and cinematographer Babette Mangolte (Jeanne Dielman), as well as philosophy with Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Rancière.
He lives and works in New York City and Santiago, Chile.