The Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies is proud to present the 16th annual festival of original short films made by students in the class of 2023 on May 23rd at 7pm EST in Tishman Auditorium. Each finished film is the result of a year of intensive study in documentary cinema — production, history, theory, and aesthetics.

The screenings will be followed by a faculty-led Q&A with the filmmakers and a light reception. Hosted by Lana Lin, Director of the Documentary Media Studies Graduate Certificate Program at The New School. Free to attend and open to all!

“Screendance” by Ruby Dietz

Synopsis: Born during the earliest attempts to document movement, dance on film has played a compelling role in the development of experimental cinema. Using appropriated archival footage, this short film re-examines cinematic conventions seen across decades of dance filmmaking. “Screendance” explores the timeless, transcendent duet between the camera and the dancer.

Ruby Dietz is a filmmaker based in New York. Underlying her interest in experimental cinema is her background in and love for modern dance. Ruby is graduating from The New School’s Documentary Studies program, and holds a B.A. from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

“Through a Glass Eye” – Lola Granger-Jourdan

Synopsis: The line between reality and imagination becomes blurred with the resurrection of birds and the creation of a hybrid bestiary. Two female artists are working at the periphery of the male dominated world of taxidermy. Interweaving their ornate art of resurrecting roadkill with archival footage of colonial hunting expeditions and dioramas, Through a Glass Eye explores ways of looking at human animal relationships and reflects on how we deal with the natural world.

Lola Granger-Jourdan is a British French filmmaker and literary translator based in New York City. Drawn to the relationships between humans and animals and the urban rural divide, her work explores themes of coexistence, history and memory. With an NYU BA Honors degree in Critical Creative Production and Spanish, Lola is receiving her MA in Media Studies at The New School in addition to completing the Documentary Studies program in 2023.

“Rite of Passage” – Talha Jalal

Synopsis: The MetroCard vending machine has guarded all that is mundane and special about the New York Subway since 1999. As the old ticketing system gives way to a new, digital one, the bustling underground braces for the inevitable change that could undo its long-held liminality between home and work, and between the public and the private. Things are easier now, but convenience comes at a price. 

Talha Jalal is interested in people, places and ideas that exist in a state of in-between-ness: refugees and migrants, metropolitan cities, and the varied discontents of white hegemonies. Born in Pakistan, he has worked in the Middle East, Europe and the United States as a writer, humanitarian and public policy specialist. 

“Let’s Not Talk About Politics” by Ekaterina Zapletina

Synopsis: Is it truly possible to separate our private lives from the catastrophic impact of politics? Through soundbites of phone conversations and evocative VHS tapes of family gatherings, the film explores the complex relationship between a mother and daughter who live on opposite sides of a political divide, raising profound questions about the meaning of family, love, and the impact of conflict on human relationships. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, “Let’s not talk about politics” offers a reflection on the universal human desire to stay connected with our roots, even amidst the most difficult challenges.

Ekaterina Zapletina is a literary scholar and documentary filmmaker from Russia, who uses film to explore personal stories and their connections to wider social issues. Her degree in literary criticism from Lomonosov Moscow State University and Charles University in Prague has given her a distinctive perspective on storytelling, which she employs to craft her work.