SocDoc Blog

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

Witnesses to a Secret War Screening June 2nd

WITNESSES TO A SECRET WAR tells the history of America’s clandestine war in Laos through the stories of the Hmong soldiers who fought alongside the Central Intelligence Agency and were forced to flee when the war was lost to the Communists in 1975.

Artist Cy Thao and refugee advocate KaYing Yang were young children when they fled Laos with their families and came to the United States. Like exiles everywhere, they feel compelled to understand their past. Through disarmingly naïve paintings, Cy depicts the violence against the Hmong that followed the Communist takeover. KaYing has dedicated her life to helping refugees, like the Xiong family, who have been living in refugee camps in Thailand for the past 30 years. While Cy and KaYing look to the past, WITNESSES TO A SECRET WAR follows the Xiong family who are only now, 30 years later, leaving refugee life to make a new life in America.

This is the story of the Hmong people — who against all odds, survived a collision between personal history and the history of American politics in Southeast Asia.

Witnesses to a Secret War was directed by MFA SocDoc directing faculty member Deborah Dickson and will air on select PBS stations this summer.

DATE: June 2, 2009
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: Visual Arts Theater – 333 West 23rd Street
RSVP: This screening is free and open to the public please RSVP to be placed on the guest list

Film Screening: Kim Longinotto A 14-Film Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art

Presented in collaboration with Women Make Movies
May 7th-23rd, 2009
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY
Screening Times

One of the foremost documentary filmmakers working today, Kim Longinotto is renowned internationally for her perceptive and complex portraits and her sensitive and compassionate treatment of unusual topics. This exhibition presents fourteen documentary works tackling a range of fascinating subjects from Japanese women wrestlers to divorce in Iran. The exhibition opens with the New York premiere of Rough Aunties (2009), winner of the Best Documentary, World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival and scheduled for broadcast on HBO in 2010.

Other highlights of the retrospective include the Peabody and Cannes Prix art et Essai Award-winning Sisters in Law (2005, co-directed with Florence Ayisi); The BAFTA Award-winning Divorce Iranian Style (1998, co-directed with Ziba Mir-Hosseini); and Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007) with its national broadcast premiere taking place on July 28, 2009 on PBS’s Emmy-Award winning P.O.V. series. Additional special events include four-consecutive nights of opening weekend screenings and talks with Kim Longinotto, plus a rare Master Class on documentary filmmaking.

Media That Matters Film Festival

Join Arts Engine at the world premiere of the Ninth Annual Media that Matters Film Festival on Wednesday, June 3 at the SVA Visual Arts Theater in NYC. Be among the first to Screen. Act. Impact. with this year’s 12 inspiring selections!

More information is available here –

IFP – Call For Entries

Call for entries for Independent Film Week’s Project Forum. IFP is now accepting applications for the ‘Spotlight on Documentaries’ section. The deadlines and fees are as follows.

Early Deadline May 1st
Submission Fee $50

Final Deadline May 21st
Submission Fee $60

Here is a link with all the details:

If you have any questions email

Man On Wire Screening April 16th

Man on Wire-Philippe Petit

Man on Wire Screening (2009 Oscar Winner for best Documentary Feature), discussion with Philippe Petit post screening

DATE: April 16th, 2009

TIME: 6:30 pm

LOCATION: SVA Theater (23rd St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)

R.S.V.P.: to

Opportunity on NYC TV

NYC TV and Backdrop NYC are looking for short films about New York and/or by New Yorkers! Backdrop NYC will present the best of them during the upcoming Season 3 of Backdrop NYC. We would greatly appreciate if you could help us get submissions from student filmmakers by spreading the word about this great opportunity. Backdrop NYC is the premier showcase of short films set in the New York City area. Selections will be broadcast on NYCTV, the city’s fastest growing Emmy Award® winning network.


$25,000 HSUS ACE Feature Documentary Grant


For a fourth year, SILVERDOCS is joining forces with The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Content in Entertainment (ACE) Program to offer a $25,000 grant to filmmakers for the creation of a documentary of 40 minutes or more highlighting an animal issue.

For more information, click here:

Deadline: April 3, 2009
Notification date: May 15, 2009
SILVERDOCS: June 15-22, 2009

Job Posting: Work for an Oscar Nominated, Emmy Winning Documentarian at MTV

Opening for the position of executive assistant to Lauren Lazin, award winning documentary executive producer and director. Administrative responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Coordinating internal and external meetings and appointments
  • Maintaining executive’s appointment calendar
  • Answering phones – screening and prioritizing phone calls and mail
  • Maintain and complete organizational and filing system
  • Overseeing general office needs (supplies, space, etc)
  • Intern recruitment and supervising
  • Making travel arrangements and preparing expense reports

Additional responsibilities can include:

  • Research and development for potential shows, series and films
  • Assisting in casting and production

Required Skills/Experience:

  • College degree is a must
  • Excellent PC skills (MS Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Professional phone skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to prioritize and multi-task
  • Excellent organizational and follow-up skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Previous administrative experience, and an interest in documentary production is a definite plus.

To Apply, please email me at

Migrating Forms Festival

Migrating Forms, the festival that has grown out of the now defunct New York Underground Film Festival. They are trying to expand their outreach to students who may not be able to afford to submit to many festivals.

Their festival typically shows experimental films and videos, if any of the students and/or instructors in your department have work that might fit with our programming, we are offering a highly discounted “batch submission” educational rate. Film/video departments may submit a single package of various student and faculty work for $10 per entry (per entry, not per entrant). Ordinarily, our entry fees range form $30 to $50 per entry. Departments are welcome to send as many entries as they like, so long as there is a minimum of five.


Applications Still Being Accepted For Fall 2009!

All required application materials (except the online application and application fee) must be received together in one package by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until the program begins in the fall 2009. Applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee as they are submitted. The first round of acceptance letters will be sent to students in April 2009.


Applications for the fall 2009 semester are no longer being accepted as of 5/1/09. Please email for more information.

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