Edward Guthmann is a freelance journalist highly regarded for his film criticism and pieces on health culture and the arts. He was a feature writer and film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle for more than 25 years, before striking out on his own in 2009. As a freelancer, Guthmann still contributes to the Chronicle, writing the weekly What I Do column and a variety of feature articles.
Well known for his in-depth pieces about body image and body culture, Edward Guthmann has written about pectoral implants for men, the pros and cons of male circumcision and facial feminization surgery for male-to-female transsexuals. In his profiles of people in the arts, he has interviewed such notable personalities as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Salman Rushdie, Lucille Ball, and Caroline Kennedy; and more recently painter Maxon Crumb, “Wicked” author Gregory Maguire, violin prodigy Kenneth Renshaw, and the late poet Thom Gunn.
Guthmann has strong ties to Africa, which resulted in “Return to Cameroun,” a documentary about his grandparents’ work as Presbyterian missionaries in the first half of the 20th century. Guthmann wrote, directed, and produced the film — tracing his grandparents’ steps to the remote village they called home for 38 years; and weighing the costs of cultural colonialism against the medical, educational, and ecumenical improvements made by many missionaries. Guthmann’s filmmaking journey began when he interviewed his mother and aunts in 1988 about their lives as the children of missionaries, and ended in 1993 when the film was broadcast on several PBS stations and cable networks.
In 2008, inspired by his friend, public health nurse Simin Marefat, Edward Guthmann returned to Africa to volunteer with the Rwanda Association of University Women (RAUW). He spent three weeks in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, interviewing and writing profiles on professional women who took important roles in rebuilding the country in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. The profiles are posted on the RAUW website (www.ifuw.org/rwanda/profiles.shtml).
In addition to his charity work in Africa, Guthmann regularly donates to a number of environmental and social justice causes, including the Sierra Club, Ocean Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Trevor Project, and PFLAG.