Ross Kauffman


Ross Kauffman, Filmmaker

Classes taught:
Documentary Masters

Ross Kauffman is the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker of the feature documentary BORN INTO BROTHELS. 

In 2014, Ross directed E-TEAM (co-directed with Katy Chevigny), a documentary about four intrepid human rights investigators. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and garnered Kauffman the Best Cinematography Award for a Documentary Feature. His latest feature documentary, TIGERLAND, debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast by the Discovery Channel in over 180 countries. 

In 2009, he served as Executive Producer on the documentary feature IN A DREAM (directed by Jeremiah Zagar), which was short-listed for the Academy Awards. He also worked as Consulting Producer on POSTERGIRL, a documentary short nominated for the Academy Award in 2011.  

Ross recently completed his first scripted short film. Starring Katie Holmes, BOY BOY GIRL GIRL is a dark comedy about a gay couple trying to adopt from a pregnant meth addict and her abusive girlfriend. He is currently developing a full-length scripted feature based on the story.

Ross also specializes in short form documentary film and socially conscious branded content for clients as diverse as Apple, GE and Toyota. In 2013 he directed FIRE WITH FIRE, a 3-minute short film about an oncology unit as they attempt to develop a cure for leukemia using a disabled form of the HIV virus.  The film went viral collecting over 20 million hits and has been shown around the world, spreading word about this revolutionary new treatment and in the process, helping raise billions of dollars for cancer research. He is currently in production on a documentary feature based on the short, entitled TRIAL BY FIRE.

In addition to teaching at SVA's MFA Social Documentary Film program, Ross has lectured at high schools and universities worldwide.

Faculty News view all

IDA Spotlight: SocDoc Faculty Tips for New Projects
July 26, 2019

IDA Spotlight: SocDoc Faculty Tips for New Projects

One of our best jobs here at SVA's MFA in Social Documentary Program is advising our graduate students on their film ideas, helping them make their concepts strong. The idea stage can be invigorating, but successful films happen with thoughtful planning. We surveyed our esteemed faculty for suggestions on what filmmakers should consider as they embark on a new project. Read More
Now Streaming: SocDoc Alumni
May 29, 2019

Now Streaming: SocDoc Alumni

A great many SocDoc alumni films are recently streaming into the comfort of your home these days - so we compiled a list to make a TV party easy for you! Check out the work our alumni are making, and tell a friend. Read More
Spring Festivals!
April 04, 2019

Spring Festivals!

Festival season is ramping up and our prolific SocDoc alum are screening at major festivals across North America. Here’s a rundown of where SocDocers and their films are at over the next few months:  Read More
2019 Alumni Editing Fellowship
March 29, 2019

2019 Alumni Editing Fellowship

Graduates of SVA’s MFA Documentary program (Groups 1 through 8) are invited to apply for the second annual SocDoc Summer Editing Fellowship with their documentary features in post-production.

Acknowledging that emerging documenta Read More