Jenni Morello (’11) recently debuted a new series of short films on sesamestreet.org about the challenges faced by children of divorce. After screening her thesis film “McB” at the Toronto International Film Festival Kid’s Festival, producers from Children’s Television Workshop were impressed with the sensitivity and humor Morello showed in capturing the lives of her young protagonists. They approached her and asked her to create several verite portraits of children at various stages of divorce for their web series and educational outreach program “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce”. The resulting films include this portrait of Chase, a ten year old who explains how he got through his parents divorce with the support of his mother and his grandmother.
Happenings in the documentary film world and within the School of Visual Arts MFA in Social Documentary Film Community
“Searching for Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul’s film about lost ’70s singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, was the big winner at the International Documentary Association’s 2012 IDA Documentary Awards Friday, taking both Best Feature and Creative Recognition Award for Best Music honors. Other prizes went to Werner Herzog’s Investigation Discovery limited series “On Death Row” and filmmaker David France, whose debut feature “How to Survive a Plague” was awarded best first feature by the New York Film Critics’ Circle and is shortlisted for the Oscar along with “Sugar Man.”The IDA’s Best Short Award went to HBO’s “Saving Face,” directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, while the IDA Career Achievement Award was presented to Oscar-winning producer Arnold Shapiro (“Scared Straight”) and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund was given the Pioneer Award, which celebrates “extraordinary contributions to advancing the nonfiction form and providing exceptional vision and leadership to the documentary community.”
Illusionist and comedian Penn Jillette hosted the event.
A complete list of winners follows:
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
JACQUELINE DONNET EMERGING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER AWARD
SUNDANCE INSTITUTE DOCUMENTARY FILM PROGRAM AND FUND
BEST FEATURE AWARD
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Director/Producer/Writer: Malik Bendjelloul
Producer: Simon Chinn
Executive Producer: John Battsek
Red Box Films, Sony Pictures Classics
BEST SHORT AWARD
Director: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Producers: David Coombe, Daniel Junge, Alison Greenberg, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Sabiha Sumar
Co-Producers: Aaron Kopp, Fazeelat Aslam
Senior Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films, Milkhaus, LLC, and JungeFilm, LLC
BEST LIMITED SERIES AWARD
ON DEATH ROW
Director/Writer: Werner Herzog
Producer: Erik Nelson
Coordinating Producer: Robert Erickson
Executive Producers: Dave Harding, Amy Briamonte; Andre Singer and Lucki Stipetic (Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film); Nick Raslan (Skellig Rock); Henry Schleiff and Sara Kozak (Investigation Discovery)
Creative Differences, Investigation Discovery
BEST CONTINUING SERIES AWARD
Executive Producer: Susan Lacy
Series Producer: Prudence Glass
Supervising Producer: Julie Sacks
Coordinating Producer: Junko Tsunashima
THIRTEEN in association with PBS
DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Director/Producer/Writer: Mark Kendall
Producer: Rafael González
Writer: Shannon Kennedy
Executive Producer: Esther Robinson
School of Visual Arts
ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD
HARVEST OF EMPIRE
Directors: Peter Getzels, Eduardo López
Producers: Wendy Thompson-Marquez, Eduardo López
Onyx Films, EVS Communications, Loquito Productions
HUMANITAS DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Director/Producer: Micha X. Peled
Teddy Bear Films
PARE LORENTZ AWARD
THE ISLAND PRESIDENT
Director: Jon Shenk
Producers: Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge
Executive Producers: Jon Else, Sally Jo Fifer, Dan Cogan
Actual Films, Inc., Samuel Goldwyn/Independent Lens
CREATIVE RECOGNITION AWARDS
WOMEN WITH COWS
Cinematography by: Peter Gerdehag
Editing by: Rodney Ascher
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Original Songs by: Sixto Rodriguez
Additional Score by: Malik Bendjelloul
ANN RICHARDS’ TEXAS
Screenplay by: Keith Patterson
DOC NYC, New York’s premiere documentary film festival began yesterday and runs through next Thursday, November 15th. The festival is full of amazing films, workshops and panels, and we are thrilled to announce the following screenings for our alumni and faculty:
SocDoc Alumni Screenings
SocDoc Faculty Screenings and Panels
Documentary storytelling is flourishing like never before – encompassing reportage, memoir, history, humor and more. DOC NYC celebrates this cultural phenomenon and encourages its new directions.
Graduate Portfolio Days are for students who have already completed a Bachelor’s Degree program and are looking to further their education at the graduate level. These sessions give students the opportunity to learn more about the curricula, faculty, application procedures as well as other program information.
The SocDoc program does not require you to bring a portfolio or reel in order to chat with a representative, but you can if you wish.
Graduate Portfolio Days SocDoc will be attending:
For more information about Graduate Portfolio Days vist their web site.
All fall 2013 applicants are encouraged to come to one of our fall information sessions.
- Saturday, November 3rd from 2pm-4pm (staff, faculty, students, alumni presentations, department tours, Q&A session, mixer)
- Monday, December 3rd from 6pm-8pm (chat with the chair event with department chair and faculty)
To RSVP for either or both sessions – PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE.
To schedule a one-on-one tour or phone info session please email email@example.com or call 212-592-2919.
The 2012 graduates of the MFA Social Documentary Film program have created some of the most interesting, unique, humorous and thought provoking films out there and you are invited to come check them out for free! Please join us on September 21st, 22nd and 23rd for a weekend of very special documentary films. Seating will be on a first come first serve basis so please arrive early and bring friends!
Alums David Osit (’11) and Caleb Heller (’11) are wasting no time in getting a new project off the ground. After a 30 hour series of flights, they have arrived in Svalbard, Norway where they will stay for two months filming their new documentary, tentatively titled “Long Year Begin”. While they shoot, they’ll be keeping a tumblr of photos and haikus about their experiences. Follow them to stay up to date on their latest adventure.
Recent alum Lucas Smith (’12) was selected to participate in IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries this fall with a film that began as his thesis at MFA Social Documentary. “Ghosts of the Aral Sea” tells the story of two brothers, Islambek and Nurbek, who live and fish on the Aral Sea. This inland sea, located on the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was the world’s fourth-largest, but now it’s nearly disappeared. Lucas spent the summer between his first and second years filming, we’re excited that Lucas will now have a chance to bring his beautiful film to the attention of broadcasters, distributors and outside producers. IFP’s Project Forum, which includes the Spotlight on Documentaries, has had a prolific history in the independent community supporting independent filmmakers at critical stages in their development processes.
For an extended look at “Ghosts of the Aral Sea” check out the reel that Lucas created while in school.
Following in the footsteps of last years’ winner, Raul Paz Pastrana (’12), SocDoc student Amitabh Joshi (’13) was awarded a fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation as part of their new Just Films Documentary program. National in scope, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA is dedicated to identifying and assisting emerging talent in theater, dance, and film by awarding grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships. Tabha will use the award to fund production and post-production costs on his thesis film “Mustang Rising”, currently shooting in Nepal. When we we reached him to discuss the award, he was thrilled and honored to have been chosen in this highly selective program. We are sure he will put the funding to good use. Congratulations Tabha!
If you’d like to see some production stills from Tabha’s film, please be sure to check out our facebook page, where we’ve been sharing them all summer.
Following great screenings at Silverdocs and Full Frame, where the film won an Honorable Mention Audience Award, Georgia Gruzen’s thesis short “Fanuzzi’s Gold” comes to Rooftop Films Friday June 29th in the New York NonFiction program. Georgia tells us that both Ed Fanuzzi and his son, Ed Jr., will be there, giving the audience a chance to meet two of the inspiring members of the Fanuzzi family.