SocDoc Blog

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

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)

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.


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