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

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

Apply Now For Fall 2011

The MFA SocDoc Program is currently accepting applications for fall 2011. We accept applications on a rolling basis through the summer 2011.

Please contact [email protected] for more information or to set up a tour or phone information session.


DocNYC is in full swing this week!

Check out: for all of the screenings, panels and events associated!

To Be Heard Premiering at the DOC NYC Festival

TO BE HEARD Premiering at the DOC NYC Festival Nov. 6th 7:00pm

Repeat screening Nov. 8th 5:30pm

Tix at:

For more information:

To Be Heard is a film about lives and language on the edge. It is the story of 3 high-school students, Karina Sanchez, Pearl Quick and Anthony Pittman who find their way into a dangerous poetry workshop. It is not about the ‘roses are red…’ kind of poetry often taught. It is about the kind of poetry that changes lives. And these kids’ lives desperately need changing: The kind of change that only comes from the inside out.

27 Hour Shootout!

This past weekend our students participated in a 27 hour project.

They were assigned to teams of five and given a theme (time), a place (NYC) and 10 elements (The Freudian Id, Feather, Hero, Steam, Red, Fuel, Chiaroscuro, Language, Beast, Currency) to use in creating a 4-6 minute film. Also, each team chose a style for their film at random from a hat (nature,docudrama, first person/personal profile, historical, verite, mocumentary, horror/suspense, romance/love, reality, travel).

With these parameters the students set out to make their films in just 27 hours – from 4pm on Friday, October 1st until 7pm Saturday, October 2nd.

The goal of the project was to give the first year and second year students a chance to work together and bond and this project accomplished its goals and much, much more!

27 Hour Shoot Out – Group 2 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

27 Hour Shoot Out – Group 8 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

27 Hour Shootout Group 3 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

27 Hour Shoot Out – Group 6 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

27 Hour Film Shoot Out – Group 4 from MFA SocDoc on Vimeo.

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