Prospective Students: Attend Fall Process & Style Screenings

September 28, 2017
Prospective Students: Attend Fall Process & Style Screenings
If you're interested in joining SVA's MFA Social Documentary Film program, we encourage you to come by for a tour of the department, and to sit in on our weekly screening series that comprise our Process & Style class on Thursday evenings. Screenings are followed by in-depth Q&A with the filmmakers. Screenings are only for SocDoc students and prospective students. Please be in touch with SocDoc's Rose Vincelli Gustine to RSVP and for more details.  

Not in NYC? Watch videos of our recent discussions about Hooligan Sparrow and PBS' music series Soundbreaking along with Masterclasses from Michael Apted (the 7 Up series) and Marcel Ophuls (The Sorrow and the Pity).

Sept. 28 – Screening: Supergirl (US, 2016)
Time: 7:45pm at SVA Theatre: 333 W. 23rd Street – free & open to the public – no RSVP required
A live performance by Supergirl‘s composers, Eliot Krimsky and Derek Nievergelt, will precede the film from 7:15PM-7:45PM
Director/Producer/Editor: Jessie Auritt; DP/Producer: Carmen Delaney; Editor: Erik Dugger, Justin Levy co-producer
Hamptons Int’l FF 2016, Slamdance 2017; PBS Independent Lens 2017 broadcast
Naomi seems like a typical nine-year-old girl, until her passion for powerlifting transforms her life with world record-breaking championships and national news headlines. SUPERGIRL explores Naomi’s coming-of-age journey as she and her Orthodox Jewish family are changed forever by her inner strength and extraordinary talent.
Speaker: Jessie Auritt, subjects Naomi Kutin, her father: Ed Kutin & Brother: Ari Kutin
First Features | Sports | Character Studies
Oct. 5 - Screening: Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (US, 2017)
Director & Producer: Susan Froemke, Director: John Hoffman; Co-Director and Producer: Beth Aala; PRoducer: Miriam Horn; Exec Producers: John Hoffman & Dylan McGee; Story Consultant: Deborah Dickson; Cinematographers: Bob Richman, Buddy Squires, Thorsten Thielow, Don Lenzer; Narrated by Tom Brokaw. Sundance Film Festival 2017; Discovery Channel broadcast August 2017
Montana Rancher Dusty Crary works to preserve pristine, neighborhing wilderness, championing efforts to prevent commercial development. Kansas farmer Justin Knopf defies conventional wisdom and implements controversial new practices to combat soil degredation and erosion. And Louisiana commercial fisherman Wayne Werner partners with fisheries regulators to help ensure a future for the red snapper upon which his business depends. Based on the New York Times best-selling author Miriam Horn's recent book of the same name, Froemke and Hoffman's illuminating film spotlights these unlikely conservationists, stewards of the land and sea who don't fit preconceptions of environmentalists. 
Speaker: Beth Aala and Deborah Dickson
Environmental Film | Book Adaptation

Oct. 12 – Screening: Behemoth  (悲兮魔兽) (China, France / 2015)
Directed And Cinematography By ZHAO Liang; Produced By Sylvie Blum; Editing Fabrice Rouaud; Sound Editing Severine Ratier
Venice, IDFA, Tokyo Filmex Film Festivals 2015; New Directors/New Films 2016
Beginning with a mining explosion in Mongolia and ending in a ghost city west of Beijing, political documentarian Zhao Liang’s visionary new film Behemoth details, in one breathtaking sequence after another, the social and ecological devastation behind an economic miracle that may yet prove illusory.
Speaker: ZHAO Liang
Environment | Labor | Chinese Filmmaker
Oct. 26 – Screening: In Transit (US / 2015)
Directed By: Albert Maysles, Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu; Produced By: Lynn True, Nelson Walker; Cinematographers: Albert Maysles
David Usui, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu, Editor: Lynn True. Tribeca Film Festival 2015; Theatrical Release Summer 2017 Via Maysles Documentary Center.
 IN TRANSIT journeys into the hearts and minds of everyday passengers aboard Amtrak's Empire Builder, the busiest long-distance train route in America. Captured in the tradition of Direct Cinema, the film unfolds as a series of interconnected vignettes, ranging from overheard conversations to moments of deep intimacy, in which passengers share their fears, hopes and dreams. In the space between stations, where 'real life' is suspended, we are swept into a fleeting community that transcends normal barriers, and where a peculiar atmosphere of contemplation and community develops. To some passengers, the train is flight and salvation, to others it is reckoning and loss. But for all, it is a place for personal reflection and connecting with others they may otherwise never know.
Speakers: Lynn True, Nelson Walker (TBC)
Verite / Direct Cinema | Americana | Travel | Documentary Masters
Nov. 2 – Screening: For Ahkeem (US / 2017) (pictured)
Directed By Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest; Executive Producer: Jeff Truesdell, Producer: Nicholas Weissman, Iyabo Boyd; Executive Producer For ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer; Editor: Lily Frances Henderson; Original Music By: Noah Bennett Cunningham; Director Of Photography: Nicholas Weissman
Berlinale Forum (as a work in progress); Tribeca, Hot Docs, AFI Docs festivals 2017. Self-distribution limited theatrical release October 2017
Beginning one year before the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, FOR AHKEEM is the coming-of-age story of Daje Shelton, a Black 17-year-old girl in North St. Louis. She fights for her future as she is placed in an alternative high school and navigates the marginalized neighborhoods, biased criminal justice policies and economic devastation that have set up many Black youth like her to fail. After she is expelled from her public high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to the court-supervised Innovative Concept Academy, which offers her one last chance to earn a diploma. Over two years we watch as Daje struggles to maintain focus in school, attends the funerals of friends killed around her, falls in love with a classmate named Antonio, and navigates a loving-but-tumultuous relationship with her mother. As Antonio is drawn into the criminal justice system and events in Ferguson just four miles from her home seize the national spotlight, Daje learns she is pregnant and must contend with the reality of raising a young Black boy. Through Daje’s intimate story, For Ahkeem illuminates challenges that many Black teenagers face in America today, and witnesses the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive.
Speakers: Landon Van Soest and Iyabo Boyd
Biopic | Coming-of-Age | Black Experience | Youth
Nov. 30 – Panel: “Working”
Conversation with various industry about freelancing as a filmmaker, working in documentary on personal projects as well as for-hire work, and doing it all with style.
Speakers: Sabrina Dridje, Managing Director, Telly Awards (moderator); Ronnie Bhardwaj, Creative Director, 4th Unit Productions and Cinematographer, Channel One News (SocDoc Class of 2014); Lauren Brady, Creative Producer for Vox Creative and Producer of Live Cargo Nick Bentgen, cinematographer and director of Northern Light and #LoveYourz; Farihah Zaman, film critic,  director of Remote Area Medical and Nobody Loves Me, and Production Manager for Field of Vision. Presented in partnership with the Telly Awards.
Working | Getting Paid | Doing What You Love
Dec. 7 - Screening: Dina
Directed and produced by San Sickles & Antonio Santo
Dina, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia invites her fiancee Scott, a walmar door-greeter, to move in with her. Having grown up neurologically diverse in a worldblind to the value of their experience, the two are head over heels for one another ,but shacking up poses a new challenge.
Speaker: Antonio Santo
RomCom | Relationships | Neurodiveristy/Autism Spectrum

Dec. 14 – Screening: Whose Streets? (US 2017)
Directed And Produced By Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis; Produced By
Jennifer Macarthur, Flannery Miller; Creative Producer: Lucas Alvarado-Farrar; Co Producer: Chris Renteria; Line Producer: Patricia E. Gillespie; Associate Producer: Jonathan T. Hall; Archival Producer: Mridu Chandra
Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy.
Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance.
Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis know this story because they are the story. Whose Streets? is a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for the right to live.
Speaker: Sabaah Folayan
Black Lives Matter | US Politics | Race in America | Community Activism

Hope Litoff, Director; Beth Levison, Producer; Toby Shimin, Editor; Daniel B. Gold, DP; Sean O’Neil, Production Sound; T. Griffin, Original Music; executive producers Dan Cogan and Regina K. Scully; Co-Executive Producers: Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, and Jenny Raskin; For HBO Documentary Films: Senior Producer Sara Bernstein  Executive Producer Sheila Nevins
Hot Docs 2017; self-distribution theatrical December 2017; HBO Broadcast Spring 2018
A few days before December 12, 2008, my sister Ruth Litoff decorated her Manhattan loft like a beautiful stage set with fifteen suicide notes surrounding her and specially selected gifts for her closest friends. Multiple bowls of cat food were left in case it took us awhile to find her and every one of her hundreds of markers was in rainbow order. The police officer whispered,  “I’ve never seen anything like this.” The film begins on that day I found Ruth dead and traces over her fascinating life and work—punctuated by incredible highs and lows and secrets and lies. It follows my journey as I examine her rich body of artwork, interview friends and family, and read her journals for the very first time. She excelled at everything she did.  She was my hero. Why would she want to die?
Speakers: Beth Levison, Toby Shimin
Personal film | Portrait | Mental Illness | Addiction