SocDoc Blog

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

November 5th Information Session – Sign Up Now

Click to register for our Fall Information Session.

Sasha Friedlander and Mark Kendall selected for IFP Film Week

Documentary has played an important role in IFP’s history from the very beginning of the organization. In particular, the Spotlight on Documentaries program has been an extremely successful and viable forum for U.S. and international buyers, sales agents, and financiers to meet with filmmakers with new documentary feature projects. Presenting 60 documentaries ranging from those at an early financing stage (i.e. early development or in production) to those nearing completion (i.e. in postproduction or at the rough cut stage), this section includes emerging and established filmmakers in non-fiction. SocDoc alumni Mark Kendall and Sasha Friedlander were selected to participate in IFP Film Week in the Spotlight on Documentaries section of the program this year.

For more information:

Process and Style Guest Lecture Series Fall 2011

We are so thrilled and honored to welcome the following guests to our Process & Style Guest Lecture Series this fall.

Process and Style 2011
Thursdays 6:00pm-9:00pm

** This schedule is subject to change without notice**

These events are not open to the public and are for the MFA Social Documentary Film students and by invitation only. Please email if you have any questions about the SocDoc guest lecture series.

PROCESS AND STYLE FALL 2011 (may change)

1. Date: 9/29/11
Instructor: Caveh Zahedi

Topic: Films and Career

2. Date: 10/6/11
Instructor: Ross Kauffman
Topic: Born Into Brothels

3. Date: 10/13/11
Instructor: Wolfgang Held

Topic: Cinematography

4. Date: 10/20/11
Instructor: Beth Levinson

Topic: Etsy and Independent Producing

5. Date: 10/26/11 –  Jay Rosenblat
Topic: Films and Career

6. 10/27/11 – Media That Matters
Topic: Film Festival

7. Date: 11/3/11
Instructor: Tamara Gould

Topic: ITVS

8. Date: 11/10/11
Instructor: Susan Lacy

Topic: American Masters

9. Date: 11/17/11
Instructor: Steve Ascher and Jeanne Jordan

Topic:  Troublesome Creek and more!

10. Date: 12/1/11
Instructor: Sam Pollard

11. Date: 12/2/11
Instructor: Ross McElwee
Topic: Films and Career

Get Your Free Tickets To Our Thesis Showcase Now!

The School of Visual Arts and the MFA Social Documentary Film Department would like to invite you to their first annual SocDoc Thesis Showcase at the SVA Theater on September 16th, 17th and 18th.

All screenings will take place in the Beatrice Theater. A reception will be held on Saturday, September 17th at 5:00pm.

For a full list of the films to be screened and their running times please

SocDoc Student Raul Paz Pastrana Wins Princess Grace Award


NEW YORK, NY – (August 15, 2011) The Board of Trustees of the Princess Grace Foundation- USA (PGF-USA) and its Chairman, Hon. John F. Lehman, announced today the winners of the 2011 Princess Grace Awards. The Awards for theater, dance and choreography, and film continue the legacy of Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco, who anonymously helped emerging artists pursue their artistic goals during Her lifetime. This year’s 21 Awards winners will travel to New York City as guests of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, where they will receive their Awards at the annual black-tie Princess Grace Awards Gala, on November 1, 2011 at Cipriani 42nd Street. This year’s Awards Gala will be highlighted by the unveiling of a unique tribute to Princess Grace by Montblanc.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA, a public charity, was formed after the death of Princess Grace in 1982. They present scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships to assist artists at the start of their careers. The Foundation has cultivated a diverse group of nearly 600 artists to date who continue to advance the spectrum of performing arts with innovative, cutting-edge, and vibrant theater, dance, choreography, film, playwriting and design. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than 700 Awards have been given to recipients, totaling more than $8.5 million.

At the Gala, The Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco will be premiered in the U.S.- a spectacular, new tribute collection to one of the most remarkable individuals of all time, celebrated for Her iconic, timeless style; Her artistic talent as an Oscar©-winning actress and Her unrelenting commitment to helping others. The Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco is a continuation of the privileged relationship the brand has enjoyed with the Principality of Monaco in recent years. Consisting of fine jewelry pieces, timepieces and writing instruments, the Montblanc Collection is true to Princess Grace’s enduring style and sophistication. Feminine and elegant, the pieces from this collection are some of the most exquisite ever crafted in Montblanc’s Ateliers, rich in details and inspired by this icon’s spirit and attention to style.

For the third year in a row, celebrated artist Alex Soldier, known for his mastery of precious miniatures, has created an objet d’art to symbolize the Princess Grace Awards. The Award symbolically combines the three art forms lauded by the Foundation: theater, dance, and film by using precious metals and Swarovski crystal accents. The sculpture is made for each recipient to wear as a pin, a special reminder of their Award for the world to see.

Princess Grace Awards Winners / Page 2 of 5


Past winners of the Awards who distinguish themselves in their artistic disciplines since receiving their initial Princess Grace Awards are eligible to win the coveted Princess Grace Statue Award. It includes a $25,000 unrestricted cash gift and a special Bronze Statue of Princess Grace created by Dutch artist Kees Verkade. This year’s Statue Award winner is Jon M. Chu.

Jon M. Chu won his original Princess Grace Award, a Film Scholarship at University of Southern California, in 2001. He is the director of Step Up 2 The Streets (2008), and Step Up 3D (2010). Combined, these two films have grossed over 300 million dollars theatrically. In 2011, his third film, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, garnered rave reviews and claimed the title as the highest grossing concert-themed film of all time in the U.S. and the third highest grossing documentary of all time. Jon M. Chu is the creator, writer and director of The League of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD), which is the number one original program for Hulu. He is currently in production on the next film in the G.I. Joe franchise, to be released next summer.


Each year, the Foundation presents the Princess Grace Awards to artists who show excellence and promise in the areas of theater, dance, and film. Students are eligible for scholarships; emerging artists working in companies qualify for apprenticeships and fellowships. A playwriting fellowship is available for individual artists through a residency at New Dramatists in New York City, which includes the opportunity to have the winning play be licensed and published by Samuel French, Inc.

In addition to these, the Foundation also gives honorable mention grants to applicants through Honoraria. The 2011 Princess Grace Awards winners (listed below) represent 20 colleges, universities, and not-for-profit theater and dance companies throughout the United States. The Awards winners exemplify both classical and experimental artistic disciplines and, while still considered emerging talent, already show exceptional promise in their areas of expertise. The Foundation’s support assists their theater and dance studies, helps pay their artistic fees at non-profit theater and dance companies and helps support their thesis film projects. In addition to the Awards, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA extends general operating monies to companies hosting an Awards winner. This year’s Princess Grace Awards winners are:


CarlosAlexis Cruz
Theater Fellowship, Grace Le Vine Award
Miracle Theatre Group

Miriam A. Hyman
Theater Scholarship, George C. Wolfe Award
Yale School of Drama

Matt Jones
Theater Apprenticeship, Robert & Gloria Hausman Award
Alternative Theater Ensemble

Hana Sooyeon Kim
Theater Scholarship, Fabergé Award
University of California, Los Angeles

Sarah Rasmussen
Theater Apprenticeship, Pierre Cardin Award
Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Princess Grace Awards Winners
Sadieh Rifai
Theater Fellowship, Gant Gaither Award
American Theater Company

Johnna Adams
Playwriting Fellowship
New Dramatists, Inc.


Alisa Alba
Dance Fellowship
The National Institute of Flamenco

Joseph Gorak
Dance Fellowship
American Ballet Theatre

Margaret Mullin
Dance Fellowship
Pacific Northwest Ballet

Jeffrey Van Sciver
Dance Scholarship, Chris Hellman Award
Dominican University/LINES Ballet

Casia Vengoechea
Dance Scholarship
The Julliard School-Dance Division

Frederick “Pete” Leo Walker
Dance Fellowship
North Carolina Dance Theatre

Zoe Scofield
Choreography Fellowship
DiverseWorks ArtSpace

Olivier Wevers
Choreography Fellowship
Spectrum Dance Theater


Valerie Bischoff
Film Graduate Scholarship
Columbia University

Emily Hyde
Film Undergraduate Scholarship
Pacific Northwest College of Art

Gina Marie Napolitan
Film Graduate Scholarship
California Institute of the Arts

Raul Paz Pastrana
Film Graduate Scholarship, Cary Grant Award
School of Visual Arts (MFA Social Documentary Film Department)

Temra Pavlovic
Film Undergraduate Scholarship, John H. Johnson Award
California Institute of the Arts

Iva Radivojevic
Film Undergraduate Scholarship
CUNY Hunter College


R. Davis McCallum
Theater Honorarium
The Public Theater

Jacqueline Burnett
Dance Honorarium
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Nigel Campbell
Dance Honorarium
Luna Negra Dance Theater

Chanel DaSilva
Dance Honorarium
Trey McIntyre Project

Shreyasi Das
Film Honorarium
Rochester Institute of Technology

Nick Twemlow
Film Honorarium
University of Iowa


The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is a not-for-profit, publicly-supported foundation, headquartered in New York City and founded more than 25 years ago by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in honor of his wife, Princess Grace [Kelly]. The Foundation’s mission, that mirrors Princess Grace’s in Her lifetime, is to support emerging artists in theater, dance and film through the awarding of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than 700 Awards have been
given to recipients, totaling more than $8.5 million. Some notable Princess Grace Awards recipients in Theater include: 2008 Tony® Award winner for Best Direction of a Play, Anna D. Shapiro; Pulitzer and Tony® Award winning playwright Tony Kushner; and Academy Award® winner Eric Simonson. Film recipients include: Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants;

Greg Mottola, director of Paul, Adventureland and Superbad; and Cary Joji Fukunaga, writer and director of Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre. Dance/Choreography Awards recipients include: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle; American Ballet Theatre’s Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel and Sarah Lane; as well as choreographers Andrea Miller and Dominic Walsh.

For more information, please visit For Gala ticket information contact Tamara Leuchtenburg at Event Associates at 212.245.6570,



Contact:Christine KitePGF-USA Communications Manager212.317.1470/

Once Place Remaining…

Because of some last minute changes – there is still one place available in the SocDoc program for the fall 2011. If you are passionate about documentary film and are interested in applying please visit our web site for more details. You can also contact the department for more information at 212.592.2919.

Emmys – Congrats to SocDoc Guests and Faculty!

Congratulations to SocDoc faculty member Joia Speciale for her Emmy nomination for her cinematography on the program Intervention. Also, congratulations to SocDoc guest faculty member and advisor Sam Pollard for his nomination for editing the Spike Lee documentary If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.

For full Emmy nominations please visit

SocDoc Grad is Invited to Sundance Creative Producing Summit

In addition to receiving a $20,000 production grant from the Sundance documentary fund, SocDoc graduate Mark Kendall was invited to participate in the creative producing summit.

In recognition of the importance of producers in the creation and distribution of independent film, Sundance Institute’s long-standing Independent Producers Conference has evolved into the Creative Producing Summit. Since 2009, the Summit takes place each summer at the Sundance Resort, a 6,000-acre arts and recreation community located at the base of Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. Over the three-day gathering, the Creative Producing Summit provides a forum for top industry professionals, producers, and directors to focus on three primary avenues of dialogue: narrative producing, documentary producing, and the state of the independent film industry. The 2011 Summit will take place at the Sundance Resort from July 22-24.

As part of the Institute’s evolving commitment to independent producers, the Summit is an invitation-only event for up to 40 producers and directors identified through the full array of the Institute’s creative development programs and the Sundance Film Festival. Building on Sundance Institute’s philosophy of extending a broad continuum of creative and strategic support to diverse projects, the Summit targets producers and projects already being nurtured through Labs, Fellowships, grants, and Festival participation, or those with potential to be supported by Sundance Institute programs.

For more information visit

Department Chair Maro Chermayeff and Faculty Member Micah Fink’s Latest Film

Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink’s latest documentary “Mann v. Ford,” is about one of the worst environmental disasters in the United States, which was located just 19 miles from New York City. This toxic Superfund site is at the former home of the Ford Motor Plant in Mahwah, NJ, where thousands of cars were produced, along with toxic paint sludge, which was dumped on nearby Ramapough Mountain Indian land. This film tells the story of Wayne Mann, the leader of a small Native American community, who stands up to Ford. “Mann Vs Ford” is playing July 18 at 9 pm on HBO.

You can see the film web site on

Also, you can listen to an interview with Maro and Micah on the Leonard Lopate Show.

SocDoc Grad Gets 20k from Sundance Institute

A HUGE congratulations to SocDoc recent graduate Mark Kendall for being one of a select group of filmmakers to receive finishing grants from the Sundance Institute this year. Mark will use the funds to finish his thesis film La Camioneta, a film about an out-of-service American school bus travels 3,000 miles with its new owner to Guatemala, where it is repaired, renamed, re-equipped and reborn..

To read the full press release click here.

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