SocDoc Blog

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

Mark Kendall’s Thesis Film To Premiere at SXSW in Austin, TX

We are very pleased to announce that Mark Kendall’s thesis film La Camioneta will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX this March. Congratulations Mark all of your hard work on the film is paying off! For more information about the film visit:

The SXSW® Film Conference and Festival features a dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry leaders in a uniquely creative environment. A hotbed of discovery and interactivity, the event offers invaluable networking opportunities and immersion into the art and business of independent film.

The Film Conference buzzes with world-class speakers, creatives and innovators in a productive social atmosphere. Simultaneously the internationally acclaimed Film Festival program celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent, featuring provocative documentaries, comedies, genre standouts and more.

For more information about the festival please visit:

Second Year Student Working At Sundance Film Fest
Adam Banicki

Adam Banicki Shooting for at the Sundance FF. And yes, that is Laura Prepon, of "That 70's Show" fame.

SocDoc at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival

As the 2012 film festival season gets underway we will have many exciting announcements, and we will begin with news from Berlin. HUGE congratulations to MFA Soc Doc grad Alexa Karolinski for being selected to premiere her thesis film “Oma and Bella” at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival! The Berlin FF is one of the most competitive and popular festivals in the world, placing Alexa and her beautiful film in some unbelievable company: for more information visit the festival web site.

MFA Soc Doc alumnus Bao Nguyen will be joining Alexa at the Berlinale as a participant in the 2012 Berlinale Talent Campus. The Talent Campus is a six-day creative summit for up-and-coming filmmakers featuring lectures, discussions, workshops, and excursions for directors, screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, producers, editors, sound designers, composers, production designers and film critics. Click here for more information about the Talent Campus.

Alexa and Bao will also have some faculty support in Berlin, as “Marina Abramović The Artist is Present” produced by SocDoc department chair Maro Chermayeff and guest lecturer Jeff Dupre, edited by SocDoc faculty member Donna Shepherd and directed by guest lecturer and SVA alumnus Matthew Akers makes it’s European premiere on February 11th. The film premiered at the Sundance FF last week. More information about this exciting film can be found on Facebook:

2011 Thesis Film Reels (More Films)

MFA SocDoc Thesis Film samples 2 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

Look for them at a film festival near you. We will post all film festival announcements on our Blog.

SocDoc Represents at 2012 Sundance Film Festival

director Matthew Akers and Marina Abramović

The Sundance Film Festival is arguably the premiere film festival in the United States. With over 4,000 feature length films submitted this year, competition for one of the 16 spots in the documentary competition was fierce.

An invitation to premiere your film at the festival is an honor bestowed on very few filmmakers and this year SocDoc is extremely proud that a number of faculty are making the trip out to Sundance this January. In fact, five out of the 16 films in the documentary competition were created by SocDoc faculty and/or guest lecturers.

“Marina Abramović The Artist is Present” produced by SocDoc department chair Maro Chermayeff and guest lecturer Jeff Dupre, edited by SocDoc faculty member Donna Shepherd and directed by guest lecturer and SVA alumnus Matthew Akers will be in the documentary competition.

Cinematography faculty member Tom Hurwitz, ASC was Director of Photography for “The Queen of Versailles” and ”Love Free Or Die.”

Guest lecturers Sam Pollard (“Slavery By Another Name”) and Susan Froemke (“ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare”) also have their films premiering in the documentary competition.

See the full list of films in the documentary competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

A scene from “The Queen of Versailles,” a documentary about a couple facing foreclosure while building America’s biggest house.

2011 Thesis Films Sample

Thesis film excerpts, Group 1 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

Jenni Morello, Alumnus – Talks About SocDoc

Jenni Morello, class of 2011 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

Tom Hurwitz, ASC discusses the cinematography portion of the SocDoc Program

Tom Hurwitz, ASC from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

Apply Now For Fall 2012

Applications are now being accepted for the fall 2012 semester.

Although we do accept applications on a rolling basis through the spring, it is advised that students submit applications by January 20, 2012 in order to be considered in the first round of applicants.

Directions for submitting your application are found here:

Please email or call 212.592.2919 with questions about the admissions process or the program.

End of Semester Screenings

Thursday and Friday December 15th and 16th the SocDoc department will be holding our end of semester screenings from 3pm-6:30pm. Please come on by to watch some of the great short films created in the fall 2011 semester by our year one and year two MFA students. Seating is limited so we will be cozy in our theater at 136 W 21st street, ground floor (between 6th and 7th aves). Questions? Call 212.592.2919.