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Spring 2020

STAY CLOSE came so close to getting an Oscar nomination as the film co-directed by Luther Clement (Class of 2017) and Shuhan Fan (Class of 2016) made the official Academy Awards Shortlist for Best Documentary Short.  The film was one of ten documentary shorts to make the Oscar shortlist, but unfortunately did not get nominated.  A huge congrats to the STAY CLOSE team and the film’s wonderful success. You can see STAY CLOSE on New York Times Op-Docs.

Check out this profile of STAY CLOSE and their production team of MFA in Doc Media graduates:

AMERICAN FACTORY, a feature documentary edited by adjunct instructor Lindsay Utz and associate edited by Timothy Fryett (Class of 2017), took home the Oscar for Best Documentary! On Oscar night, Utz took the stage with filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar as they accepted the award. You can see AMERICAN FACTORY on Netflix.


Professor Clayton Brown’s WE BELIEVE IN DINOSAUR, co-directed by Brown and Monica Long Ross, made its broadcast television premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens on February 17th.  The film is streaming for a limited time –


At the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Milton Guillen’s (Class of 2020) PRESENCE OF THE PAST screened as part of the Panorama Latinx Short Film Showcase.


Guillen’s feature The Maribor Uprisings also screened at Northwestern, a screening sponsored by The United World Colleges (UWC) Club has been given a grant by SOA to fund the purchase of the screening license and Milton has agreed to take care of the technical side, having been given proper training. We would be aiming for February 6th at 6PM, but if that time isn’t available please let me know.

Guillén (Class of 2020) was named a 2020 Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) MediaMaker Fellow and as he has been named a Tribeca Film Institute All Access Grantee for his film ON THE MOVE. The film follows three visual artists in exile from Syria, Sudan and Nicaragua as they strive to remain emotionally connected to their turbulent home countries.


Naeema Torres’s (Class of 2019) newest project THE HOUSE ON THE HILL has been selected as a finalist for Tribeca Film Institute and Cleveland International Film Festival‘s Short Doc Pitch Competition. Torres will be co-directing the film with Amber Love and collaborating with Doc Media alumni Cami Guarda (Class of 2019) who will be the film’s cinematographer.


Natasha Nair’s thesis film IN THE WAKE received the Best Short Award at Big Muddy Film Festival.


And IN THE WAKE is an official selection of the Salem Film Festival.


Camila Guarda’s (Class of 2019) THE WOMAN AND THE SEA is a Semi-Finalist for the European Cinematography Awards! Best of luck to Cami and her extraordinary film.



Jessica Scott’s (Class of 2019) THE COLOR OF SKIN screened at the L.A. Black Film Fest and San Diego Black Film Festival in February.


Hasan Demirtas’s (Class of 2017) powerful new documentary YOU NAME IT screened at this year’s Treasure Coast International Film Festivalin St. Lucie, Florida. The film also screened at the 22nd Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Demirtas was also featured in an interview with the Documentary Life.  


Jennifer Boles (Class of 2019) was interviewed by Miniflix talking about her most recent documentary work.



Chris Churchill (Class of 2021) released a book, TWENTY YEARS WITHOUT A WEEKEND, that tells the story of his 20 years as a Chicago tour guide.  The book is available on Amazon.


Doc Media welcomed to campus filmmaker and sound designer Ernst Karel.  Karel’s Electro-Putgagoras screened At The Block Museumand he met one on one with students to discuss their works in progress.


Doc Media also welcomed award-winning filmmaker Shengze Zhu’s film PRESENT.PERFECT to Block Cinema.  Zhu met with students and gave one on one feedback to their work.