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Winter 2021

Jennifer Boles (MFA Doc ’19) published an essay about her thesis film, The Reversal, in the journal Photography and Culture in a special series about Capitalism and Photography. The film’s fall screenings include festivals such as Chicago International, New Orleans Film Festival, Antimatter, AmDocs, Chicago Underground, and DOXA, among others.


Cami Guarda’s (MFA Doc ’19) thesis film The Women and the Sea had a very exciting 2020. The short documentary won Best International Latino Short Film at NYC’s Latin Film Market and the Latino Short Documentary Award at Texas’ Festival de Cine Latinoamericano. Up next, The Women and the Sea screened at the Academy Award-Qualifying St. Louis International Film Festival and will had its Latin American premiere that same month in Chile’s Festival Internacional de Cine Antofagasta, where she was invited to participate in the Best International Short competition.


Will Klein’s (MFA Doc ’19) thesis film, Children of the Moon, premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and will be screening at Anthology Film Archives’ New Filmmakers NY, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, and the Athens International Film + Video Festival in 2021.


Benjamin Buxton (MFA Doc ’19), graduate of the Documentary Media Master’s program 2019, produced The Touch of the Master’s Hand which premiered at Sundance this year. The film was awarded the Jury Prize in US Short Fiction. Buxton produced the film directed by his longtime collaborator Gregory Barnes along with their production company the American Standard Film Co. (ASFC). The film is a dark comedy about Mormon Missionaries drawing upon Buxton and Barnes’ Mormon upbringing.


Nevo Shinaar (MFA Doc ’17) selected as part of Newcity’s Film 50 2020! Building on his success as a producer in recent years, Shinaar will be leading scripted and documentary development efforts at Mitten Media (Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail). Mitten and Shinaar first collaborated on the 92nd Academy Awards shortlisted documentary “Stay Close”, from Co-Directors Luther Clement-Lam (MFA Doc ’17) and Shuhan Fan (MFA Doc ’16) and Executive Producer Mark Mitten.


Milton Guillén (MFA Doc ’20) served as a programmer for Camden International Film Festival with hybrid and artist programs receiving great reviews in the Boston Globe and Real Screen


Hasan Demirtas (MFA Doc ’17) won Best Doc Feature Film from the Collected Voices Film Festival in Chicago for his film, You Name It. He dedicated the award to the NU Doc.


Premiering on BET, Disrupt & Dismantle: The Battle For Black Land. Doc Media’s Resita Cox (Class of 2021) was the production coordinator on the television doc. The Battle for Black Land examines the experiences of the Gullah people on Hilton Head, SC, where obscure legal loopholes and soaring property taxes have resulted in a loss of land and culture.


RED SUMMER PROJECT, edited by Doc Media’s Anvar Hassanpour (Class of 2021), is now streaming via HBCU GO TV and viewers can access the network on several platforms including Roku and coming soon to Amazon Prime and Apple TV.


Congrats to Brittany Shyne (Class of 2016) for winning Ford Foundation JustFilm grants!  Shyne was also named a Firelight Media 2020 Documentary Lab fellow!


Mina Fitzpatrick’s (Class of 2017) “Wandervogel” is one five projects selected for this year’s Ikusmira Berriak Residence Program, part of the San Sebastian Film Festival.


Congrats to Jessica Scott (Class of 2019) whose thesis short documentary Color of Skin played at the Chicago Filmmakers Spirit of Chicago showcase.


Naeema Torres‘ (MFA Doc Media ’19) MFA thesis documentary, Redacted, screened virtually at the New Orleans Film Festival in November and won Best Documentary at Dayton Independent Film Festival and Black X Film Festival. She also co-produced the short documentary Larry From Gary with award-winning filmmaker Dan Rybicky, which premiered at Indy Fest and screened at St. Louis International Film Festival. Naeema also received a $5k production award towards her episodic audio documentary project, Land of Lincoln, which will examine the way Black History has been documented and put on display in the United States through the legacy of The Crenshaw House. This project is an extension of House on the Hill, an ethnographic short in development which she co-pitched as a finalist for Tribeca’s If/Then Midwest competition.


Faculty News

PBS has commissioned 137 Films (co-directed and edited by Clayton Brown to create a short film preceding a documentary in the current season of Independent Lens. “The Debate,” a short documentary about the Creationism vs Evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” will premiere on March 29 nationally.


Program Director JP Sniadecki’s film A Shape of Things to Come celebrates its Mexican premiere at FICUNAM and its U.S. virtual cinema premiere at Anthology Film Archives in NYC. Distributed by Grasshopper films, A Shape will also stream via MUBI, as well as at the Museum of the Moving Image (NYC), The Acropolis in Los Angeles, Gene Siskel, the Belcourt in Nashville,, Lark Theater in Larkspur, CA, the Space Gallery in Portland, Maine, the Parkway in Minneapolis, and other venues. Complete release information is available on the film website’s Find Your Theatre tab. The film is the subject of recent articles by Laura Marks in Anthropologica and Jay Keuhner in Senses of Cinema. JP’s previous award-winning films Yumen and Foreign Parts will be showcased online at Berlinale Forum’s Arsenal 3 featuring selections from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. His co-directed, collaborative Cairo, IL project also received an AJ Muste grant for social justice.


Assistant Professor Danielle Beverly’s new documentary, DUSTY GROOVE, received a rave review in the Chicago Sun Times as it screened at the  Chicago Underground Film Festival.



Congrats to Professor Marco Williams on winning a Ford Foundation JustFilm grants!


Adjunct faculty member Maria Finitzio screened her film The Dilemma of Desire at DOCNYC in November. It also premiered at Raindance in the UK continuing a seven month festival run.


Former Doc Media Associate Director Mike Attie’s short documentary, ABORTION HELPINE:  THIS IS LISA was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.