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).
Jan. 11 - Screening: 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide
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 December 2017
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 | First Feature
Jan. 18 - Screening: La Camioneta - The Journey of One American School Bus (US/Guatemala, 2012) (pictured above)
Mark Kendall, Director, Producer, cinematographer, Editor; Rafael Gonzalez, Producer; Shannon Kennedy, co-editor; David Teague, add’l Editor; Bernardo Ruiz, Consulting Producer; Esther Robinson, Exec. Producer; T Grififn, Composer
SXSW, DOC NYC 2012; Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) 2013; IDA Wolper Award (student film); CINE Golden Eagle; self-distribution theatrical release 2013; NYT Critics Pick
Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses leave the United States on a southward migration that carries them to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly-colored camionetas that bring the vast majority of Guatemalans to work each day. Since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers and fare-collectors have been murdered for either refusing or being unable to pay the extortion money demanded by local Guatemalan gangs. LA CAMIONETA follows one such bus on its transformative journey: a journey between North and South, between life and death, and through an unfolding collection of moments, people, and places that serve to quietly remind us of the interconnected worlds in which we live.
Speaker: Mark Kendall (SocDoc class of 2011); this film was his thesis. Mark will also discuss his upcoming feature
Labor | Latin America | Transformations | Thesis Film | First Feature
Jan. 25 - Screening: Quest (US, 2017)
Jonathan Olshefski, Director; Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, Producer; Lindsay Utz, Editor;
Sundance Documentary Competition 2017; Theatrical release via First Run Features, Dec 2017; PBS POV broadcast in 2018
Filmed with vérité intimacy for nearly a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of the Rainey family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher "Quest" Rainey, and his wife, Christine'a "Ma Quest" raise a family while nurturing a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. It's a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can't always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, QUEST is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.
Speaker: Jonathan Olshefski
Family portrait | Music Doc | First Feature
Feb 15 – CINE Pitch Masterclass
A “How to Pitch” masterclass with top network executive diving into do’s and don’ts, and what execs are looking for in a pitch. Following the masterclass, several select SocDoc Thesis Students (Group8) will pitch their current projects to the panel for feedback on the film’s concept and the delivery of the pitch, as well as suggestions for possible outlets for collaboration, funding, broadcast, festivals, and other opportunities.
Speakers: Amy Savitsky, senior VP of development and programming, A&E Network; Betsy Walters, Executive Director, CINE
March 22 – Screening: Cradle of Champions
Bartle Bull- Director, Editor; Maiken Baird, Matias Rojas – Producers; Michael Levine – Editor; Tom Hurwitz, ASC – DP; ADDITIONAL CAMERA Axel Baumann, Barney Broomfield, Wolfgang Held, Kirsten Johnson, Matt Porwoll, Martina Radwan, Thorsten Thielow
Big Sky, Doc NYC 2017
The epic story of three young people fighting for their lives in the oldest, biggest, most important amateur boxing tournament in the world: New York’s Daily News Golden Gloves. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS follows three extraordinary, inspiring individuals—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—on an urban odyssey through a ten-week tournament, founded in 1927, that has produced more professional world champions than the Olympic Games. Telling a compelling story of dreams, heartbreak, and redemption, the result is a unique work of art. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature film and the intimacy of a gritty cinéma vérité classic.
Speaker: Bartle Bull; Tom Hurwitz
Sports | NYC Stories