SocDoc Blog

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

ReelAbilities: the second annual NY disabilities film festival

The festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people living with different disabilities. The festival presents award winning films in various locations throughout the NY metropolitan area. Discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. Visit for full program. For tickets visit and click on ReelAbilities logo, or call (646) 505-5708. Student rate $5 per ticket.

Process and Style Lecture Series Spring 2010

Thursday, 01.21.10
Deborah Shaffer – Work in Progress –
“To Be Heard”

Thursday 01.28.10
Susan Fromke and Deborah Dickson –
“Lalee’s Kin”

Thursday 02.04.10
Paula Heredia –
Director, Editor, Cinematographer

Thursday 02.11.10
Alice Elliott –
Advocacy and Education “The Collector of Bedford Street”

Thursday 02.18.10
Joshua Bennett – Nitty Gritty of Producing Shoots

Thursday 02.25.10
Richard Hankin – “Capturing the Freidmans”

Thursday 03.04.10
Sandi Dubowski – “Trembling Before G*d”

Thursday 03.18.10
Natalia Almada – Producer, Director, Editor

Thursday 03.25.10
Brett Morgen –
Reconstruction/recreation, animation, photo animation

Thursday 04.01.10
John Walter, Director, Editor

Thursday 04.09.10
Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra –
On foreign turf, dealing with difficult production issues

Thursday 04.15.10
Vee Bravo & Bernardo Ruiz
“Estilo Hip-Hop” & “Clemente”

Thursday 04.22.10

Faculty Member Screens Film at IFC

I’M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE will be getting a “sneak preview” in the upcoming winter season of STRANGER THAN FICTION in NYC at the IFC Theater.

The film will screen on Tues. Dec. 15 at 8pm. A Q&A with Michel Negroponte and Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis to follow.

There will also be a post-show reception at 99 Below featuring drink specials (99 MacDougal St.).

For more information about ticket sales & reservations, please go to:

The IFC Theater contact info:

IFC Center

323 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10014-4403
(212) 924-7771

Department Tours

Don’t fret if you missed our Information Session on October 24th!

If you have any questions about the MFA Social Documentary program and admissions process or would like to set up a one-on-one informational meeting and department tour, please email

Graduate Portfolio Day – NYC

Eastern Graduate Portfolio Day
Parsons The New School for Design
New York, NY
Saturday, Oct 3, 2009 noon-4 p.m.

Visit for more information about the National Portfolio Day Association.

The MFA SocDoc program will be attending the Portfolio Day in New York to answer any questions about the SocDoc program that you might have. Feel free to come to the event, with or without your reel, to discuss the program with our staff representative.

For more information about Portfolio Day please email

Process and Style Guest Lecture Series – Fall 2009

Core courses in directing, producing, editing, visionary journalism, cinematography and sound will be taught by some of the most significant filmmakers in documentary today. Additionally, a weekly Process and Style screening and lecture series will welcome yet more voices from the field:

This lecture series is primarily for the MFA SocDoc students, however in this first year we will have a few additional seats in each lecture for guests. If you would like to be emailed about seats open for the Thursday night lectures (6:30p-9:20p) please and you will be placed on an email notice list.

Below are some of our planned lectures for the fall 2009 semester:

Screening of “Crude” at IFC Center

Topic: Are you a Journalist or a Filmmaker?  Are the ethical constraints of a filmmaker the same as a journalist? What boundaries, if any, are required in documentary film?
Lecturer: Joe Berlinger

Screening: “Carrier” and ”Circus”

Topic: Who are you more loyal to – the story or your subjects?
Lecturers: Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre

Screening: “I’m Dangerous with Love”

Topic: Flying Solo - The director as a one-person band.  
Lecturer: Michel Negroponte

Screening: “Native Land” 
Topic: New York Documentary scene from 1931 to 1942
Lecturer: Tom Hurwitz, ASC

Lecturer: D.A. Pennebaker

Topic: Observational film/Cinema Verite - The presence of the filmmaker is felt. Subjectivity and relationship.
Lecturer: Susan Fromke and Muffy Meyer

Topic: In what way do you approach your story – as a journalist or filmmaker?

Lecturer: Yoruba Richen

Screening: “Frontier House” 

Topic: Historical Programming
Lecturers: Beth Hoppe and Maro Chermayeff

Topic:  Fleshing out a story – from web videos to a winning television program.
Lecturer: Micah Fink

Topic: Archival Research – how to gather archival footage and use it creatively and to the advantage of your story

Lecturer: Amy Schewel

Topic: The Interview – How to prepare; how to do an informal, spontaneous interview.  How to think on your feet. 

Lecturer: Pamela Yates

Screening: “Bellview” 

Topic: Advocacy Filmmaking 

Lecturer: Maryann DeLeo

Topic: How to land an interview with high profile people

Lecturer: Yvette Vega, Senior Producer of Charlie Rose

* Please note that lectures are subject to change without notice.

For more information about our guest lecturers please visit:

Information Session October 24th from 2-4pm

The MFA Social Documentary Film program at the School of VISUAL ARTS is hosting an information session on October 24th from 2-4pm in Manhattan (136 W 21st between 6th and 7th Ave) for those interested in finding out more information about the program.  This casual event will feature faculty, student and staff presentations, a Q&A session, and a meet and greet. Please join us!

Please use the online registration form to RSVP for the event:

You can request to have a copy of the 2010-2011 Graduate Catalog mailed to you by filling out this form:

Prospective students can also download a copy of sections of or the entire catalog using this link:

Please contact with any questions about this event or call the department 212-592-2919.

The Reckoning tonight on P.O.V.

MFA SocDoc Guest Lecturers Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis’ film to air on PBS tonight!

Skylight Pictures presents the national PBS broadcast of “The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court”, a documentary film by Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy and Paco de Onís.

PBS broadcast premiere July 14, 10pm, on the P.O.V. series.

(Click here for local listings as times vary)

Cinereach Seeking Young Filmmakers for $5,000 Fellowship

Cinereach, a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting and producing artful films that depict underrepresented perspectives, cross cultural boundaries, and promote dialogue, is currently seeking applicants for its annual Reach Film Fellowship.

The prestigious six-month program supports young filmmakers with grants, resources, and industry mentors who help guide their short films through all stages of production.

The application deadline is July 15, 2009. Applications and guidelines can be found at

Four winning applicants will be awarded $5,000 and be mentored by an established filmmaker. Fellows also receive production support from sponsors, workshops, career coaching, and industry exposure. Industry judges will award an additional $5,000 to the most outstanding film of the four, which will also screen at Cinereach’s annual Reach Out event in the spring.

The fellowship is open to filmmakers who completed film studies programs in 2008 or 2009. This year, self-taught filmmakers may also apply, but are advised to discuss their eligibility with Cinereach staff before submitting an application. Applicants must also be able to reside in the New York Tri-State area from August through April of 2009/2010 to meet the Fellowship requirements.

Cinereach also has a large granting program for emerging and established filmmakers. There are two letter of inquiry deadlines annually for this program, June 1 and December 1. Grants range from $5,000 – $50,000 for features and documentary films in all stages of production (

Media That Matters Film Festival – SOLD OUT
Media That Matters

Media That Matters

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!

The Media That Matters Film Festival is the premiere showcase for short films on the most important topics of the day. Local and global, online and in communities around the world, Media That Matters engages diverse audiences and inspires them to take action.
More information is available at

DATE: June 3, 2009
TIME: 6:00pm impACT salon 7:00pm screening
LOCATION: Visual Arts Theater – 333 West 23rd Street
COST: $10 General Admission, $8 SVA Student, Faculty and Staff discount (show your ID at the door)

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