Video: Milwaukee’s John Ridley Interviews a 2023 Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker

Debra McClutchy was nominated for her Netflix documentary “The Martha Mitchell Effect.”

This video was made in partnership with Nō StudiosMilwaukee Magazine is partnering with the video production company to showcase the stories of local creatives. Watch for more content like this here.

John Ridley spoke with documentary filmmaker Debra McClutchy this week as part of Nō Studio’s Critical Content interview series. Ridley, an Oscar-winning Milwaukee screenwriter, asked McClutchy about her latest film The Martha Mitchell Effect, a documentary that premiered at Sundance Film Festival last year and is now available on Netflix. The film has been nominated for a Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar.

“It’s an astounding piece of filmmaking,” Ridley says. “I cannot wait to see what [McClutchy] does next.”

The Martha Mitchell Effect tells the story of Martha Mitchell, the wife of Richard Nixon’s attorney general, who blew the whistle on the Watergate scandal. The Nixon administration attempted to publicly discredit Mitchell after her comments on the scandal, including telling the press that she had a drinking problem and attributing her claims to mental illness.

“We heard about [Martha Mitchell] on a podcast, and immediately became fascinated by her,” McClutchy says. “We thought … surely there had been a documentary made about her. We did a bunch of digging and couldn’t find any documentary, but found YouTube clips and saw this amazing, charismatic, somewhat unhinged woman in these clips. We thought, wow, this is an amazing story to tell.”

Watch Ridley’s interview with Mitchell above – and check back here in the weeks ahead for further episodes in Nō Studio’s Critical Content series.



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.