SocDoc at DOC NYC 2020

October 16, 2020
SocDoc at DOC NYC 2020

We are delighted to see so many SocDoc filmmakers a part of this year’s DOC NYC line-up! DOC NYC, America's largest documentary festival, is all online this year, screening November 11-19. SocDoc has a strong showing with several films from our clever faculty and alumni, as well as our annual student showcase. Have a great time at DOC NYC! Wherever you are in the US, you can tune in!
DOC NYC U - SVA - a selection of current SVA SocDoc student’s films, curated by SocDoc staff & faculty, in partnership with the festival. 

a photo of photographs of violins hung on a wall in various shades of orange and red. the text Viseltear Violins, a film by Rohan Rao is in yellow font on top of the images
Mourning Doctor Li Wenliang
| Director: Alice Chen Chen (2021) - After Chinese Doctor Li Wenliang, the famous whistleblower, died of COVID-19, over 300 people gathered for a memorial in his honor in NYC’s Central Park.
What’s in Chinatown? | Director: Hansen Chenhui Lin  (2020) - A city symphony, capturing Manhattan’s Chinatown.
To Lay Bare | Director: Cathy Zijun You  (2021) - Boudoir photography, while viewed stereotypically as pornography, allows the filmmaker to learn about her sexuality through years of photos and to celebrate women’s beauty.
My Little Ones | Director: Peipei Zhang (2021) - A visit with the vet brings bad news for a professional taxidermist and her beloved pet.  
Butts | Director: Yijia Zeng (2021) - What lesson can we get from a cutie little butt?
Viseltear Violins | Director: Rohan Rao (2020) - In Jason Viseltear’s workshop, the feel of wood, the twang of strings, and the smell of polish come together to create a unique instrument that will live forever in the hands of its players.
Busker | Director: Zooey Zhang (2020) - A talented European street musician pursues his dreams in New York City, regardless of his hearing disability.

Other faculty and alumni films include:

  • Baby God, directed by Hannah Olson and edited by Toby Shimin (faculty). Using a consumer DNA test, a woman discovers that Dr. Fortier is her biological father, who was helping thousands of couples have babies but with his own sperm. 

  • Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, directed and filmed by Tom Hurwitz (faculty) with editor Ann Collins (faculty); the film's co director is by Rosalynde LeBlanc. Beginning in 1980s New York City, this film chronicles the love story between dancers Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, the diverse dance company they founded, and the painful devastation of AIDS on the arts community, as told through the company’s signature performance piece D-Man in the Waters. 

  • Love & Stuff, directed by Judith Helfand (faculty). In less than a year, filmmaker Judith Helfand goes through two major life moments: losing her beloved mother, Florence, and becoming a mom herself at the age of 50.

  • Mayor, alum David Osit (2011) is director, producer, cinematographer, editor and also composer. A portrait of Musa Hadid, the affable mayor of Ramallah, the historically Christian city that serves as the administrative center of Palestine. Balancing absurd humor with unforgettable moments of gravity, Mayor reveals a side of Palestine rarely seen in Western media. Rooj Al-Wazir (student) was a translator on Mayor, and Hanna Nordenswan (2018) and Xin Fang (2019) did Additional Translation Editing.
    b&w photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • MLK/FBI , directed by Sam Pollard (faculty). MLK/FBI performs the vital task of examining FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment against Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired by the work of historian David Garrow, the film uses recently declassified files to study the FBI’s motives and methods. The results are “a remarkable cinematic framework” (Indiewire). Sam is also being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the festival.

  • Red Heaven, directed by Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe. Bella Randle Racklin (2018) is a researcher on the film. 

  • Women in Blue, produced by Beth Levison (faculty) and directed by Deirdre Fishel. After the Minneapolis Police department appoints its first female chief, four female officers, each from different walks of life, must cope with the interdepartmental politics of this landmark change 

The DOC NYC PRO Conference streamed throughout the summer; the archives are now streaming and include several alumni and faculty on panels:

  • DOC NYC PRO DAY: THE FIRST-TIME FILMMAKER DAY includes a case study of first features, focusing on SocDoc graduates Yuqi Kang (2016) director of DOC NYC alum LITTLE WISDOM and Lindsay Lindenbaum (2012), director of 2020 SXSW feature doc TOMBOY, and moderated by SocDoc Director of Operations, Rose Vincelli Gustine.

  • DOC NYC PRO DAY: DOCUMENTARY PRODUCING - This recorded panel features faculty Beth Levison and Farihah Zaman, talking about creative sustainability during the era of COVID-19.

DOC NYC's "40 under 40" list celebrating young talent includes alumni Ja'Tovia Gary (2014) - see her THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT in festivals and museums worldwide, and David Osit (2011), who's feature MAYOR will have theatrical release in December 2020.

And, alumni Dana Kalmey (2013) and Nori Mizukami (2014) are presenting their work-in-progress doc feature Tandem in the Only In NY program. Two Hawaiian world champion tandem surfing pioneers fight to keep their endangered sport and its Hawaiian roots alive by making Olympic history.
SocDoc's Rose Vincelli Gustine is also an industry rep in this program.

We are proud long-time supporters of DOC NYC; their only education partner. The festival’s Artistic Director and founder is faculty Thom Powers.