SOCDOC - MFA Social Documentary Film

SocDoc Blog

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

Spring Semester Screenings Today and Tomorrow

Group 2 spring semester screenings today and tomorrow from 2pm-5pm.

136 W 21st street, ground floor.

Come join us!

Questions: [email protected]

SocDoc Student Screens At Sheffield Doc Fest

Raul Paz Pastrana is the company of filmmakers like Albert Maysles, Barbara Kopple, Alex Gibney, Wernor Herzog, Morgan Spurlock, Marshall Curry and Robert Flaherty as he screens his film The Art of Remembrance at the 2011 Sheffield Documentary Festival in Sheffield, England in June.

Congratulations to Raul for this huge honor.

For more information about the festival and the film:

Watch the film here:
The Art of Remembrance

The Art of Remembrance from Trailer 88 on Vimeo.

SocDoc Student Mark Kendall advances to Student Academy Awards Finals

Congrats to SocDoc students Raul Paz Pastrana (semi finalist) & Mark Kendall (finalist) in the Students Academy Awards!

22 Named Finalists for Student Academy Awards
by Brian Brooks (May 2, 2011)

Outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Photo credit: Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S.
Thirty-three from 22 colleges and universities have been named as finalists for the 38th annual Student Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Monday. AMPAS members will view the finalists’ films at screenings and vote to select the winners.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards, along with accompanying cash grants of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, may be presented in each of four categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary and Narrative. The winning filmmakers will be brought to Los Angeles for a week of industry-related activities and social events ending with the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 11, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

To reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalists in each of the four categories. For the first time this year, up to three films may be honored in the Foreign Student Film category. Academy members have selected students from the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom as finalists.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972. The 38th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony on June 11 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required.

The 2011 Student Academy Awards finalists:

“Bitter,” Vlad Korishev, the Art Institute of California – San Francisco
“The Dust Machine,” Damon Mohl, University of Colorado, Boulder
“The Vermeers,” Tal S. Shamir, The New School, New York
“Unreal City,” Bryan Bykowicz, University of Michigan-Dearborn

“The Birds Upstairs,” Christopher Jarvis, New York University
“Correspondence,” Zach Hyer, Pratt Institute, New York
“Defective Detective,” Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
“Dragonboy,” Bernardo Warman, Academy of Art University, California
“The Girl and the Fox,” Tyler Kupferer, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia
“Heart,” Erick Oh, University of California, Los Angeles
“The Renter,” Jason Carpenter, California Institute of the Arts
“Swing,” Yen-Ting Kuo, School of Visual Arts, New York
“Treasure,” Chelsea Bartlett, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida

“After,” Jeremy Cohen, The New School, New York
“Civil Indigent,” Nicholas Corrao and David Hafter, University of Florida
“Feast & Sacrifice,” Clare Major, University of California, Berkeley
“Imaginary Circumstances,” Anthony Weeks, Stanford University
“Shape of the Shapeless,” Jayan Cherian, City College of New York
“Sin Pais (Without Country),” Theo Rigby, Stanford University, California
“This is Us: Video Stories from Senegalese Youth,” Jeremy Teicher, Dartmouth College
“The Time Machine,” Mark Kendall, School of Visual Arts, New York
“Vera Klement: Blunt Edge,” Wonjung Bae, Columbia College Chicago

“The Candidate,” David Karlak, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia
“Fatakra,” Soham Mehta, University of Texas at Austin
“Flagpole,” Matt Kazman, New York University
“High Maintenance,” Shawn Wines, Columbia University
“Le Jeu des Soldats,” Lorne Hiltser, American Film Institute, California
“My First Claire,” Lou Howe, American Film Institute, California
“Snovi,” Reshad Kulenovic, Boston University
“Thief,” Julian Higgins, American Film Institute, California
“The Wind Is Blowing on My Street,” Saba Riazi, New York University

SocDoc Students and Kickstarter

Four SocDoc students used Kickstarter this semester to raise almost $50,000 for their thesis film productions.

Sasha Friedlander, Mark Kendall, Jenni Morello and Dawn Schwartz created individual pages with clips reels, information about their films, giving levels and rewards. Knowing that if they didn’t reach their funding goal in time they wouldn’t get a dime – the students did everything they could to get their pages noticed!  Dawn’s Kickstarter page was featured in an Indie Wire article: and Mark Kendall’s film and Kickstarter page was featured in the Huffington Post:

For more information about Kickstarter and SVA projects:

Two SocDoc Students Are Awarded SVA Alumni Scholarships

Alumni Scholarship Awards are given to final year undergraduate and graduate students to aid in completion of their thesis/portfolio project. These cash awards are intended to cover project expenses, and range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the student’s project budget. Applications are ranked by an alumni panel whose recommendations are approved by the Alumni Society Board of Directors.

Congratulations to Sasha Friedlander and Mark Kendall!

View 2011 Recipient List

SocDoc student film featured in Indie WIRE

SocDoc students Dawn Schwartz’s thesis film A Yo-Yo Documentary is featured in an Indie WIRE article:

IDA Awards

Guest Lecture Series Spring 2011

Process and Style 2010
Thursday Evenings

** 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 protected] if you have any questions about the SocDoc guest lecture series.


Date: 1/27/11
Yves Jeanneau
Topic: International Co-Productions/ Murder on a Sunday Morning

Date: 2/3/11
Howard Sharp, Maro Chermayeff and Nancy Abraham
Topic: Working with an Executive/Mann V. Ford

Date: 2/10/11
Ira Spiegal
Topic: Sound Editing

Date: 2/17/11
Sam Pollard

Date: 2/24/11
Nigel Noble
Topic: Magic Lantern Media

Date: 3/3/11
Ellen Kuras
Topic: The Betrayal

Date: 3/17/11
Judith Helfand
Topic: Advocacy Filmmaking

Date: 3/24/11
Robb Moss

Date: 3/31/11
Natalia Almada

Date: 4/7/11
Sam Pollard

Date: 4/14/11
Alan Berliner

Date: 4/21/11
Tom Hurwitz, Matt Tyrnauer and Matt Kapp
Topic: Valentino

Tom Hurwitz Shoots Oscar Nominated Film

The film that MFA SocDoc cinematography faculty member Tom Hurwitz, ASC shot in Jordan and Indonesia, “Killing in the Name,” was just nominated for an Academy Award.

Ashraf was celebrating the happiest day of his life when an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber walked into his wedding and killed his father and 26 other family members in front of his eyes. Now, he’s rising from tragedy to break the silence in the Muslim community on the taboo subject of terrorism. From a recruiter for Al-Qaeda, to an Islamic militant behind one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks, to a madrassa filled with young boys ready to fulfill the duty of jihad, Ashraf takes us on a harrowing journey around the world to see if one man can speak truth to terror, and begin to turn the global tide.

Producers: Jed Rothstein, Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy
Executive Producer: Carie Lemack
Cinematography: Tom Hurwitz
Moxie Firecracker Films

39 min. USA/Indonesia/Jordan

For more about the film click here.

For more about Tom and our faculty click here.

Killing In the Name – Trailer from Carie Lemack – Global Survivors on Vimeo.

I’m Dangerous With Love

Michel Negroponte’s “I’m Dangerous with Love” will be at the IFC Center all week. Screening times are below — plenty of chances to make it out to the theater!

IFC Center
323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street | (212) 924-7771

11:15 AM | 12:50 PM | 2:40 PM | 4:30 PM | 6:25 PM | 8:20 PM

An underground adventure into shamanic ritual
Opens at New York’s IFC Film Center on Wednesday January 12, 2011

“Bursts on the screen like a circus fire. A movie you’ll never forget.” 
– D A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus

I’M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE is about addiction and rehabilitation, activism and shamanism. It features Dimitri Mugianis, once the heavily addicted front man for the band Leisure Class, who finally ended his long drug and alcohol addiction with an experimental treatment that uses the hallucinogen Ibogaine, and now devotes his life to helping others overcome addiction through the treatment.

African shamans have used Ibogaine in their rituals for centuries, but in the US it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and illegal, so Dimitri must  work in underground networks to guide addicts through the same detox that he says saved his life.

I’M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE traces Dimitri’s risky journey as he treats desperate drug users. It follows this man of edgy energy as he goes from one addict to the next without stopping to catch his breath. It also follows him on his own search for recovery when one session goes bad in a remote snowed-in Canadian home, and a quiet young man almost dies. Dimitri must decide whether or not to continue his mission. Is he serving the addicts or simply releasing his own demons? To find answers, Dimitri travels to Gabon, West Africa, to consult with Bwiti shamans, and puts himself through a punishing Iboga initiation. Filmmaker Michel Negroponte follows him on this journey to find his own answers.

2009 85 minutes, USA, digital video, English, Color 
Directed by Michel Negroponte • Written by Nick Pappas and Joni Wehrli • Animation by Lisa Crafts • Music and Sound Design by Brooks Williams and Beo Morales • Photographed and Edited by Michel Negroponte • Executive Producers Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis, Caroline Stevens • Produced by Blackbridge Productions in association with Cactus Three

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