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Winter 2017/2018 News

Coming To Block Cinema This Winter – DOCUMENTARIES!

After a tremendous response to the Fall 2017 Block Museum NU Docs series comes a new slate of documentaries screening throughout the Winter 2018 quarter. 

The Other Kids (Chris Brown, 2016, USA, DCP, 95) – Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7 PM
THE OTHER KIDS follows six teens as they struggle through their final days of high school in the gold rush town of Sonora, CA. THE OTHER KIDS is a totally unscripted hybrid of fiction and non-fiction in which real teenagers play versions of themselves in a constructed, fictional universe. Brutal, funny and moving, THE OTHER KIDS is an honest film about the power of friendship, the pain of loss and the exhilaration of being seventeen.

Q&A with filmmaker in person, following the screening

Nuts! (Penny Lane, 2016, USA, DCP, 79min) – Friday, February 2, 2018 at 7 PM
NUTS! is a feature length documentary [directed by Penny Lane] about Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station.

Using animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a hilariously unreliable narrator, NUTS! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth and influence in Depression-era America.

Q&A with filmmaker after the screening


New Documentaries: Shorts Program – Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 7 PM

Join us for a shorts program featuring Patrick Bresnan and Ivette Lucas’ The Send-Off (2016, 12 min.), The Rabbit Hunt (2017, 12 min.) and Roadside Attraction (2017, 10 min.), Rachel Pikelny’s Grace (2017, 16 min.), and Milad Mozari’s Standing Nymph and Man (2017, 17 min.)

Q&A with filmmakers after the screening


Raoul Peck – Hoffman Masterclass
In October 2017, our students met with Oscar nominated filmmaker Raoul Peck​ for a private masterclass where he discussed his work in documentary and his work in historical docudramas. Following the masterclass, the Block Museum played host to a capacity screening of Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro followed by a mesmerizing Q&A with Peck, Professor Miriam Petty, and Professor Kyle Henry. Raoul Peck was the School of Communication’s 2018 Hoffman Visiting Artist for Documentary Media, funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman. Additional support from Dwight A. McBride, James Baldwin Scholar and former Northwestern TGS Dean/Associate Provost.

Quest With Editor Lindsay Utz At The Block
In October, Doc Media was honored to co-host a screening of the documentary QUEST at the Block Museum. The film’s editor and Doc Editing instructor Lindsay Utz took questions from the audience following the screening.  QUEST has ended up on multiple Best of 2017 lists and the film received 5 nominations from Cinema Eye Honors including a Best Editing nomination for Lindsay Utz.

EL MAR LA MAR With Professor JP Sniadecki at the Block

In November, Doc Media had the pleasure to partner with the Block Museum for a screening of Professor JP Sniadecki’s newest documentary EL MAR LA MAR.  The film has screen at festivals around the world including  IndieLisboa, AFI Docs Festival, Camden International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and recently at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) in November.  The film also received a shout out in a New York Times article examining films inspired by Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Class of 2016 Festival News

João Queiroga’s thesis film OUR SKIN played at the prestigious IDFA Documentary Festival in Amsterdam in November 2017. 

This continued a successful festival run for OUR SKIN, including wins at the Lili award for Best Short Film at MIX Copenhagen LGBTQ Film Festival, the film was an official selection of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the NewFest: The NYC LGBT Film Festival and last year the film had it’s European premiere at Doclisboa’16 | Festas.


Carlos Cova’s FRAGMENTS recently played at the IWM Short Film Festival in London and Denver’s DocuWest Film Festival in September 2017.  FRAGMENTS premiered 2016 Chicago International Film Festival.  Cova recently wrapped up a year long term as a post-production associate at Kartemquin Films before moving to Barcelona, Spain to continue his career.   


After a successful festival run for her documentary 1/80 OF ZHANG TIANYI that included screenings at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and American Documentary Film Festival, Shuhan Fan is currently working on STAY CLOSE, a recipient of the ESPN/TRIBECA FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD.  Fan has continued her academic career as part of the AFI Conservatory as she purses her MFA in Screenwriting.

Jesseca Ynez Simmons’ thesis documentary, EMERALD ICE has continued a successful festival run, with its French premiere at the Paris College of Art  at the MoveCineArte Festival in November 2017. 


Class of 2017 Festival News

Luther Clement’s thesis film WARM NOISE AROUND ME made its festival premiere at Barcelona, Spain’s L’Alternativa Barcelona.

Clement’s film SHOWMAN played at FilmBath in the UK and was nominated for the 6th annual IMDb New Filmmaker Award

Clement is currently working on STAY CLOSE, a recipient of the ESPN/TRIBECA FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD

Ashley Brandon’s thesis film MICKEY’S PETS has continued a successful festival run screening at the 20th Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, receiving a special jury mention, screened 30th Annual Virginia Film Festival, the New Hampshire Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival. 

Ashley recently started as an Assistant Professor of Film, Television and Media Arts at Quinnipiac University in August, teaching Film Appreciation, Beginning Cinematography and Advanced Post-Production courses. 

Currently in production, ON THE BIT directed by Ashley Brandon, produced by Luther Clement and Nevo Shinaar was at November 2017’s St. Louis International Film Festival where they participated in the Tribeca Film Institute’s Documentary Pitch competition.

The film received honorable mention, and $1,000 prize a little money and a distribution deal through Tribeca (it was also originally funded by Tribeca/ESPN’s Future Filmmaker Award).  The film will participate in a one-year distribution initiative managed by Tribeca Film Institute.


Sebastian Pinzon’s thesis documentary PALENQUE won the Jury Award for DGA Student Film Award Best Latino Student Filmmakers East Region. PALENQUE had its World Premiere at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.  The film had its US premiere at the Camden International Film Festival in Maine in September 2017 and won Best Latin American short at Festival Internacional de Cine Valdivia in Chile in October 2017.  Pinzon’s film screened at Antofa Docs in Chile, Festival dei Popoli in Florence, Italy, and the Montreal International Documentary Festival

Mina Fitzpatrick’s thesis film WANDERVOGEL screened at the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival.  WANDERVOGEL had it’s international premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.  The film was presented at San Sebastian as part of the International Film Student Conference.  Fitzpatrick has recently taken a position as an Assistant Editor at Chicago’s Kindling Group.  Fitzpatrick’s previous film RUN OF PRESS was nominated for the 2016 ASC Vilmos Zsigmond Heritage Award and screened as part of the 2017 ChicagoMade Shorts at Millennium Park Summer Film Series.


Hasan Demirtas’ (Class of 2017) thesis film, CARRY MY VOICE, took home BEST DOCUMENTARY from the West Nordic International Film Festival. CARRY MY VOICE was an Official Selection of the Duhok International Film Festival in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  The film is an official selection of the Euroshorts – krótkie filmy i twórcze reklamy in Poland. The festival ran November 27th through December 3rd followed by a 15 city touring festival throughout Poland.  And CARRY MY VOICE will be screening at the April 2018 Atlanta Film Festival


Class of 2018 News

Pam Austin attended the Fall 2017 Telluride Student Film Symposium.  The Symposium was an opportunity to work with other film students and filmmakers on workshops and screen world-class films.

MFA Doc students, Kai Blakley, Elodie Edjang, and Chad Wallin traveled overseas this summer to shoot their thesis films with the financial support from Northwestern’s International Relations department. Their projects were profiled by Northwestern’s International Relations department. We’re looking forward to seeing their finished projects!

Additional Doc Faculty News

Debra Tolchinsky’s Oct 28, sold out Chicago Humanities Fallfest/17: Belief talk at the Block Museum concerning her in-process documentary, True Memories and Other Falsehoods was reviewed by Debra Davy in Splash magazine. “The audience saw a 15-minute excerpt from the upcoming full-length documentary. It was beautifully crafted and fascinating. After the viewing, Milos Stehlik (who moderated the discussion) exclaimed, ‘It’s so intimate!’ Debra also presented at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities on Nov 8.

Professor Kyle Henry’s film ROGERS PARK premiered at the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival where the film received strong reviews from critics including The Chicago Reader.