DOC TALK (ONLINE): The Big Scary “S” Word – Screening and Q&A with Yael Bridge (Director/Producer)

“Examines the history of socialism and why so many Americans have been conditioned to reject a philosophy that’s in their best interests” 

– Cassie Da Costa, Daily Beast

THE BIG SCARY “S” WORD  delves into the rich history of the American socialist movement and journeys with the people striving to build a socialist future today. With inequality growing, a climate catastrophe looming, and right-wing extremism ascending around the world, many Americans are wondering whether capitalism is to blame. But what is the alternative? Socialism is plagued by conflicting definitions. Is it dictatorship or democracy? Norway or Venezuela? Reform or revolution? This film explores where American socialism has been, why it was suppressed, and imagines what a renewed American socialism might look like.

AWARDS: Official Selection: AFI Fest 2020, Official Selection: Mill Valley Film Festival 2020, Official Selection: DOC NYC 2020, Official Selection: HotDocs 2020, Official Selection: DocLands 2020.

Yael Bridge

Yael Bridge is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker based in Oakland. Her films have shown at major film festivals nationally and internationally. She produced Left on Purpose, winner of the Audience Award at DOC NYC, and most recently produced Saving Capitalism with Robert Reich, nominated for an Emmy Award in Business and Economics. As Director of Productions at Inequality Media, Yael has made numerous viral videos tackling complex political issues that have garnered over 200 million views on social media. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies and an MA in Media Studies from the New School. 

Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies
Doc Studies @ Instagram

School of Media Studies
The New School

DOC TALK (ONLINE): Honeyland – Screening and Q&A with Samir Ljuma (Cinematographer)

Nothing less than a found epic, a real-life environmental allegory.
(A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, NYTimes)

A miraculous feat, shot over three years as if by invisible camera.
(Cath Clarke, The Guardian)

Its narrative construction depicts extraordinary tensions and conflicts with a clarity and coherence that a screenwriter might dream of. 
(Richard Brody, The New Yorker)

Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She’s the last in a long line of wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city – a mere four hours’ walk away. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and a herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, it doesn’t take long however, before a conflict evolves that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability. 

The debut feature from documentarians Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, HONEYLAND is made with the widescreen sweep of an epic, yet clearly built from an intimate collaboration between filmmakers and subject. With a surprising sense of humor, it’s a tough and tender portrait of the delicate balance between humankind and nature, a glimpse at a fast disappearing way of life, and an unforgettable testament to one extraordinary woman’s resilience.

AWARDS: Sundance, Critic’s Choice Documentary Award, Cinema Eye Honors, European Film Awards, International Documentary Association + 30 other awards and over 40 nominations including two Oscar nominations for Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film.

Samir Ljuma

Samir Ljuma is an award-winning cinematographer and producer from Macedonia. He worked as Director of Photography on several documentary features and collaborated with a host of international film directors, including AVEC L’AMOUR by Ilija Cvetkovski and HONEYLAND by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. He is the winner of the American Society Of Cinematographers Award for Best Documentary Cinematography as well as IMAGO Award, IDA Award, Cinema Eye Honors Award, and Sundance Film Festival award. 

Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies
Doc Studies @ Instagram

School of Media Studies
The New School

DOC TALK (ONLINE): Mayor – Screening and Q&A with David Osit (Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor)

THE BEST NEW FILM ABOUT THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT is a dark comedy about Ramallah’s Mayor… offers a striking new perspective on that struggle, with a personal on-the-ground quality matched by grand tonal ambitions that makes it the best of its subgenre. CRITICS PICK. 

THOUGHTFUL AND GRIPPING… There are whiffs of Veep-like humor throughout MAYOR … but it’s also a sincere tale of a public servant who’s seeking to lead in a world that’s stacked against him.

Offers more absurd moments than Samuel Beckett could have ever worked up.

MAYOR is a real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. Surrounded on all sides by Israeli settlements and soldiers, most people in Ramallah will never have the chance to travel more than a few miles outside their home, which is why Mayor Hadid is determined to make the city a beautiful and dignified place to live. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine. Rich with detailed observation and a surprising amount of humor, MAYOR offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?

AWARDS: Grand Jury Prize winner: Full Frame Film Festival, NEXT:WAVE winner: CPH:DOX 2020, Best Documentary: Boston Palestine Film Festival, Official Selection: True/False Film Festival 2020.

David Osit

David Osit is an Emmy Award-winning director, editor and composer. David is one of the directors of the feature documentary THANK YOU FOR PLAYING, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, broadcast on POV in 2016, and was nominated for three Emmy awards, winning for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. He also edited and produced OFF FRAME, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Berlinale in 2016. His first film, BUILDING BABEL, premiered at True/False in 2012. David is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents and the Sundance Nonfiction Director’s Lab.

Please join us for this online screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.

Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies

Doc Studies @ Instagram

School of Media Studies
The New School


“Outstanding… An information revolutionary, Stokes, despite her decades of isolation, touched the nerve center of the times.” – Best Films of 2019,  New Yorker

“Weirdly exhilarating… Enlightening and the stuff of madness.” Critic’s Pick – New York Times

“The Information Age has found a startling, eccentric heroine in the subject of Matt Wolf’s eye-opening documentary.” – LA Times

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today. 

Before “fake news” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free. 

This is a mystery in the form of a time capsule. It’s about a radical activist, who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist. Her work was crazy but it was also genius, and she would pay a profound price for dedicating her life to this visionary and maddening project. 

Matt Wolf is an award-winning filmmaker in New York whose feature documentaries include Wild Combination, about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell and Teenage, about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers. His new film Spaceship Earth about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment is premiering at Sundance 2020. Matt’s short films include I Remember, about the artist and poet Joe Brainard, Time Magazine’s The Face of AIDS about a controversial Benetton advertisement, and Bayard & Me, about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He is also the director of HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary and is the co-curator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow.

Please join us for this screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.

Doc Talk: Nico Pereda (Dec.5, 2019)

Andrea Bussmann and Nico Pereda’s Tales of Two Who Dreamt is set in a housing block in Toronto. A Roma refugee family is hired as actors to work on a fiction film.  We see them rehearsing stories of their past while reflecting on the upcoming hearing about their residency status. The stories are spun into legends, whereby the boundaries between reality and fiction, and the documented and the performed no longer apply.  There’s the tale of the dog left to starve in an empty flat, the tale of the lawyer’s child, and the tale of the boy who woke up to find himself transformed into a bird. You’d think all these stories could make for a mesmerising film and you’d be right, but what sort of film would it be? An observational documentary, a family portrait they themselves help mould, a Kafkaesque fairy story, the making-of the same? But there are no clear explanations here, for it is also a place of infinite shifting boundaries. If you want answers, you might as well ask the devil.

Nicolás Pereda is a filmmaker whose work explores the everyday through fractured and elliptical narratives using fiction and documentary tools. His work has been the subject of more than 20 retrospectives worldwide in venues such as Anthology Film Archive, Pacific Film Archive, Jeonju International Film Festival and TIFF Cinematheque. He has also presented his films in most major international film festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, and Toronto, as well as in galleries and museums like the Reina Sofía in Madrid, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Guggenheim and MOMA in New York, and in television stations such as HBO, Turner, MVS, Netflix, and ISat. In 2010 he was awarded the Premio Orizzonti at the Venice Film Festival.

Doc Talk: Ian Soroka (Nov. 4, 2019)

GRAND PRIX – DOCLISBOA – City of Lisbon Award for Best International Competition Film

GRAND PRIX – DOXA Doc. Film Festival Vancouver – Best Feature Documentary Award

The film’s attractively verdant visuals are layered with a variety of voices exploring the forest’s past and present, with particular focus on its role as a commune for partisans during WWII. – Matt Turner, The Brooklyn Rail

Tactfully, Soroka keeps subjects at a distance in the frame, mostly using off-screen interviews as voiceover, side-stepping both conventional technique and creating a sort of unified disembodied voice of the setting. – Adam Cook, MUBI

Drifting through the densely forested landscape of southern Slovenia—GREETINGS FROM FREE FORESTS, like a lifting fog, reveals a refuge of embedded historical memory. The film travels alongside the testimonies of local hunters, foresters, cavers, and foragers among others—orbiting around an absence left by radical struggle after it has come to fruition and since faded. During WWII, this forest served as a sanctuary for the Partisan Liberation Front, who were resisting the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia. Remnants of this event can still be found throughout the forest in various states of decay, but also within images that sought to preserve the revolution’s emancipatory energy for future generations; images now stored in an underground film archive buried within the forest itself, depicting both the violence and the hope that came with radical change.

Ian Soroka (b. 1987) works in non-fiction forms of film and of Colorado in Boulder, in Prague at FAMU, and completed an M.S. in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT. Ian is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Princess Grace Foundation-USA Award recipient, and a Fulbright Fellow in Slovenia, where he was a guest researcher at the Slovenian National Film Archive and Cinematheque. His work has screened internationally in festival, gallery and museum contexts including: DocLisboa, Art of The Real, The Doc’s Kingdom Film Seminar, Rencontres Internationales, Dokufest, DokFest München, and Kinoteka, Ljubljana. Ian is from western Colorado and is based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Doc Talk: Penny Lane (Oct.14, 2019)

As a history lesson every bit as clarifying as it is cockeyed, “Hail Satan?” possesses unarguable value. – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon). When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.

PENNY LANE (Director) has been making award-winning, innovative nonfiction films for more than a decade. Her third feature documentary, The Pain of Others (2018), debuted at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and went on to Sheffield and BAMcinemaFest. Her previous feature documentary Nuts! (2016) premiered at Sundance, where it won a Special Jury Prize for Editing. Her debut feature documentary, Our Nixon (2013), premiered at Rotterdam, had its North American premiere at SXSW, won the Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival at Ann Arbor, and was selected as the closing night film at New Directors/New Films.

Festival screenings of her works have spanned the independent and experimental film worlds, including Sundance, Rotterdam, Images, Impakt, Hot Docs, Full Frame, CPH:DOX and Oberhausen. She has been awarded grants from Sundance, Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Jerome Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, LEF Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and many other organizations. She is possibly most proud, however, of having been named “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009.

Please join us for this screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.

Doc Talk: Samara Chadwick (Oct.7,2019)

“1999 is one of the most haunting documentaries I’ve ever seen… a philosophical meditation on memory, sorrow, uncertainty, adolescence, and rebellion”  – Astra Taylor

“A profoundly personal but strikingly universal diaristic look back at a particular place and time. Surprising, tender, and charming.” – Pamela Cohn, Filmmaker Magazine

“A powerful meditation on trauma and resilience. Unlike anything I’ve seen this year.” – NOW Magazine

When death haunts a high school in a small town in the late 1990s, everyone is forever transformed. In this gentle, prismatic film, Samara returns to the town she fled as a teen to re-immerse herself in the memories still lurking there, in its spaces and within the dusty boxes of diaries, photos and VHS tapes. 1999 is not a ghost story, but the ghosts are palpable at every turn. The snow-covered streets, the school’s hallways and lockers are preserved as in a dream. 

The absences left by the relentless teenage suicides still shimmer with questions, trauma and regret. Samara encounters people who are as breathtaking as they are heartbroken, and, finally, 16 years later, the community strengthens itself by sharing the long-silenced memories. Ultimately the film weaves together multiple voices in a collective essay on how grief is internalized—and how, as children, we so painfully learn to articulate our desire to stay alive.

Samara Chadwick is a scholar, filmmaker and curator. She has a PhD in Cultural Studies from the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro and Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle. Samara’s first feature documentary, 1999, produced by Parabola Films (Canada), Beauvoir Films (Switzerland), and the National Film Board of Canada, premiered in 2018 at Visions du réel, and has since played festivals worldwide including HotDocs, DokuFest Kosovo, BAFICI Buenos Aires, as well as the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

Samara is also the Senior Programmer for the Points North Institute and the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF), a much-loved documentary festival, bringing the best of creative non-fiction (features, shorts & immersive) from around the world to the rugged coast of Maine. She has programmed films and conferences for HotDocs, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) and the Berlin Biennale (2012). In 2018, Samara curated VR:RV, a year-long German:Canadian Exchange in Virtual Reality by the Goethe-Institut. She has served on juries at The New Horizons Film Festival (Poland), Sunny Side of the Doc (France) and Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK). 

Please join us for this screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.