SocDoc Blog

Happenings in the documentary film world and within the School of Visual Arts MFA in Social Documentary Film Community

Fall 2015 Screening Series

Looking forward to a great year for our Process and Style Guest Lecture Series full of exciting filmmakers! Stay tuned for updates about December screening. Process & Style is primarily for current SocDoc students, but if you would like to visit just email mfasocdoc<at> to reserve a seat.


all screenings are Thursdays, 6-8:50pm unless otherwise noted

Sept. 17 – Screening:  First Cousin Once Removed
Directed, produced, and edited by Alan Berliner; cinematography by Ian Vollmer
Speaker: Alan Berliner (2012; New York Film Festival; HBO)
Portrait | Personal | Alzheimer’s Disease / Health | Poetry

*Sunday, Sept. 20, 5:30pm – SVA Alumni Film Festival: Thank You For Playing
At SVA Theater, 333 W 23rd St
Free/Open to the public: RSVP Required here:
Directed, produced, edited, and written by David Osit (SocDoc class of 2011) and Malika Zouhali-Worrall; Cinematography by David Osit (Tribeca Film Festival; PBS “POV” broadcast 2016)
Portrait | Cancer / Health | Video Games

Sept. 24 – Screenings:  Body Typed series (USA, 2009, New Day Films): Wet Dreams and False Images (Sundance Film Festival); The Guarantee; 34x25x36 (SXSW, PBS “POV” broadcast)
Directed, produced, and cinematography by Jesse Epstein
Isle of Flowers (Ilha das Flores) (Brazil, 1989; Berlin Film Festival; New Directors/New Films Festival); directed by Jorge Furtado, edited by Giba Assis Brasil; cinematography by Sergio Amon, Roberto Henkin
Speaker: Jesse Epstein, director
Short Films | Body Image | Satire/Funny | Political

Sept. 25-27 – Thesis Showcase – SVA Theater
Reception: Saturday Sept. 26 8:30-10:30pm
At SVA Theater, 333 W 23rd St
Free/Open to the public
Screening schedule & RSVP:

 *Monday, Sept. 28 3:30-5:30pm – Marcel Ophüls Masterclass
At SVA West Side: 133/141 West 21st Street., Theater / Room 101C
RSVP required:
French documentarian Marcel Ophüls is best known for his epic films exploring the effects of war: The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) and Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988), for which he won an Oscar. For this Masterclass, Marcel Ophüls will be in conversation with Thom Powers, documentary programmer for Toronto Film Festival and SVA MFA Documentary faculty. This event is free and is open to the SVA community at large.
War | Social Justice | Interview-based documentary | Classic Documentary

Oct 8 –Kristian Gonzales leads: Color Correcting in Media Composer

Oct. 15 – Screening: “Soundbreaking” Work in Progress
Series Produced and Directed by Jeff Dupre and Maro Chermayeff. A Show of Force Production. (PBS Broadcast 2016)
Speaker: Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre
Music | American History | Archival | TV Series

Oct. 22 – Screening: Cutie and the Boxer
Written, directed & cinematography by Zachary Heinzerling; produced by Patrick Burns, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Zachary Heinzerling, Sierra Pettengill; executive produced by Kiki Miyake; edited by David Teague (2013, Sundance Film Festival; Radius-TWC (Weinstein Co.); nominated Academy Award, Best Documentary, Features)
Speaker: Zachary Heinzerling, director
Portrait | Process | Art | First Feature | Oscar Nominee

Oct. 29 – Screening: The Immortalists
directed by David Alvarado & Jason Sussberg; written by Jason Sussberg; produced by David Alvarado and Kate McLean; cinematography by David Alvarado; edited by David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg, Annukka Lilja (2014; SXSW; self-distribution theatrical release)
Speaker: David Alvarado, director, producer, editor, cinematographer
Alvarado & Sussberg’s new film now in production, a biopic of loved children’s science tv host, Bill Nye, just became the most-funded documentary on Kickstarter, raising $859,000+ from 16,800+ backers. We’ll talk about this process & the new film as well.
Portrait | Science | First Feature | Self Distribution | Crowdfunding

Nov. 5 – Speaker: Susan Lacy, HBO Documentary filmmaker, Creator of PBS’ “American Masters”
Susan Lacy will share clips from her work-in-progress documentary for HBO as well as from her previous films.
After nearly 30 years as Executive Producer of the acclaimed AMERICAN MASTERS series (which she created for PBS in 1986), Susan Lacy formed her own company, Pentimento Productions to focus solely on directing and producing. Her first film with Pentimento is set to premiere on HBO in 2016; the first project in Pentimento’s exclusive multi-picture deal with HBO. Susan’s previous films were all part of the AMERICAN MASTERS collection. Most recently she directed and produced Inventing David Geffen, earning the series the 2013 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series. She wrote, produced, and directed Judy Garland: By Myself (2004 Emmy award for writing and nomination for directing, the series’ Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series); Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind, Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (representative episode for the series’ Emmy win in 1999 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series); Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval; and Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice. Over the years, AMERICAN MASTERS has garnered unprecedented awards – Susan earned the series 71 Emmy nominations and 28 wins, including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series, in addition to 12 Peabody awards, 3 Grammy Awards and a nomination, and an Academy Award and 4 nominations.
Works-in-Progress | Biopic | Public Television | Broadcast Executive

Nov. 12 – DOC NYC
Screening of the premiere of a centerpiece film at the 2016 DOC NYC Festival

Nov. 19 – Screening: Evolution of a Criminal
Directed by Darius Clark Monroe; produced by Darius Clark Monroe & Jen Gatien; executive produced by Spike Lee and Jay Kubassek; edited by Doug Lenox; cinematography by Daniel Patterson (2014; SXSW; PBS “Independent Lens”)
Speaker: Darius Clark Monroe, director
Personal Narrative | Crime & Justice | First Feature

Dec. 3 – Screening: High Tech, Low Life
Directed cinematography and edited by Stephen Maing; produced by Stephen Maing and Trina Rodriguez; co-edited by Jonathan Oppenheim (USA/China, 2012; Tribeca Film Festival; PBS “POV” broadcast; limited theatrical release via Argot Pictures)
Speaker: Stephen Maing, director
China | Political | Technology  | First Feature

Emmy Wins for our Faculty!

Richard Hankin, Zac Stuart-Pontier, Caitlyn Greene, Shelby Siegel at the Emmys

Congratulations to the SVA MFA Social Documentary Film faculty and their films who were at the Creative Arts Emmys this weekend! Richard Hankin, Supervising Editor for HBO Documentary Films’ THE JINX won an Emmy for outstanding picture editing along with Editor Zac Stuart-Pontier and Co-Editors Caitlyn Green and Shelby Siegel. The show also took home an Emmy for best Documentary Or Nonfiction Series, and was also nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Cinematography in the Nonfiction Programming category.

And, CITIZENFOUR, also broadcast by HBO, won Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking. The film was also nominated for Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Cinematography, and Outstanding Picture Editing in the Nonfiction Programming category. Faculty member Kirsten Johnson was a cinematographer for the film, which previously won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Thesis Showcase, Welcome Class of 2017 & more!

Check out all the news from the department including the 5th Annual Thesis showcase, meet our newest class of documentarians, free screening of alumni film THANK YOU FOR PLAYING, SocDoc faculty with new films at IFP’s Independent Film Week and more! Click here to read the newsletter.

Applications for Fall 2015 Still Accepted


Please email or 212-592-2919 for consideration.

Tribeca ’15: “Thank You For Playing” to air on ‘POV’

Tribeca ’15: “Thank You For Playing” to air on ‘POV’

3 days ago by Kevin Ritchie (Real Screen)

Thank You For Playing

PBS doc strand ‘POV’ has picked up the U.S. TV rights to Thank You For Playing (pictured) ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival next month.

Directed by David Osit (Building Babel) and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu) and coproduced by ITVS, the film follows indie video game developer Ryan Green as he creates an adventure game called That Dragon, Cancer about his experiences raising his terminally ill son. The directors examine the empathetic power of art, how technology can help in the grieving process and the wider implications of using video games to document human experiences.

Thank You For Playing will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17 and the filmmakers will participate in a Tribeca Talks panel on April 18 – the same day the game will be available to play at the festival’s Interactive Playground. Screening times and locations are listed on the festival’s website.

‘POV’ will air the film during its 2016-2017 season. The doc strand’s 28th season kicks off on June 22 with Out In The Night.


Read more:

David Osit is a 2011 graduate of the MFA SocDoc program. 

SocDoc at The Tribeca Film Festival

SocDoc at The Tribeca Film Festival

Bao Nguyen’s (SocDoc ’11) filmLive From NY the new Saturday Night Live doc will open the 2015Tribeca Film Festival in April. Alumni Caleb Heller (cinematographer), Ben Nimkin (sound), David Osit (editor), Natalie Ruiz Tofano (production coordinator) played major roles in the production team. Go SocDoc!More information on the film and the festival. 


 For tickets and more info.

Thank You for Playing co-directed and co-written by David Osit (SocDoc ’11) and Malika Zouhali-Worrall will be featured in the World Documentary Competition. The film follows Ryan and Amy Green who have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child.

Pulitzer Center Film Series at Paley Center: ‘The Abominable Crime’

Pulitzer Center Film Series at Paley Center: ‘The Abominable Crime’

The Abominable Crime, the award-winning documentary on homophobia in Jamaica by director Micah Fink (SocDoc Faculty), kicks off the Pulitzer Center’s film series at New York’s Paley Center for Media on Tuesday, April 21. Free and open to the public, but RSVP requested—please reserve your seat today. Reception follows screening and panel.

Age of Love on the Today Show and NPR

Age of Love on the Today Show and NPR

The Age of Love directed by Steven Loring (’12) follows the humorous and poignant adventures of thirty seniors in Rochester, NY who sign up for a first-of-its-kind speed dating event exclusively for 70- to 90-year-olds.

The film has been making the festival rounds and has had a ton of community screenings. The film was even featured on the Today Show and NPR’s ‘All Things Considered.’

CAAM Fest Screening of Tashi’s Turbine in San Francisco

Directed by Amitabh Joshi (SocDoc ’13) and produced by Erik Spink (SocDoc ’13) this film is an uplifting tale of a small Himalayan Mountain village’s attempt to harness renewable, sustainable energy with the power of the wind.

The film won a Special Jury Mention at the festival. Congrats!

More info about the screening in San Francisco on 3/19 and 3/21.

Two SocDoc Alumni screening at the Rated SR Film Festival

Two alumni have their thesis films in the Rated SR Film Festival next week.

Tuesday 3/17/15
Truth Through a Lens - 92’ – USA – (School of Visual Arts Student) – 2014 (World Premiere)
Directed by Justin Thomas
This stunning feature length debut follows the evolution of Dennis Flores from Brooklyn street kid, subway train tagger to local community organizing legend in the backdrop of recent social issues.

Friday 3/20/15
Love Is the Highest Law - 83’ – USA – (School of Visual Arts student) – 2014 –  (New York Premiere)
Directed by Liliya Anisimova
A unique, firsthand look into three powerful stories connected through the strength of overcoming the stringent same-sex laws both in Russia and the United States and of love triumphing over hardship.

Q & A after the screening