Emmy-nominated producer and editor Inbal Lessner stopped by the DFP this week to share her producing and editing expertise with the students. Lessner, who is serving as a visiting instructor at UNCSA this fall, has worked in non-scripted television, documentary series, documentary feature and narrative films. She produced and edited Brave Miss World, which premiered at AFI Docs and was launched as a Netflix exclusive in 2014. The film received an Emmy nomination for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. Lessner spoke to the students about her career path and offered a workshop on archival editing.
DPF Professor of Practice and producer/cinematographer Peter Gilbert recently moderated the second annual First Features panel at the BendFilm Festival in Bend, Oregon. The First Features panel brings in established independent filmmakers to share their experience to help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry. Gilbert discussed his filmmaking journey from the Sundance premiere of the documentary Hoop Dreams to the experience of making his first narrative feature, Prefontaine. Gilbert and the panelists also discussed the industry-wide issues emerging filmmakers face today. The panelists included: Jamie Brooks (Bomb City), Kate Brooks (The Last Animals), Josh Crockett (Dr. Brink & Dr. Brinks), and Jen Heck (The Promised Band)
BendFilm Festival also hosted a 20th anniversary screening and post film discussion of Prefontaine. The film, produced by Gilbert and directed by Steve James, chronicles the life of long distance runner Steve Prefontiane.
Chris Sheridan is heading to the University of Missouri to take part in a two-day conference looking at how the digital disruption is changing the business of content. The two day conference is called Revenue Models That Work: The Challenge of Creating the Most Engaging Content While Maintaining Profits – or as Chris likes to say – “Selling your stuff without settling your soul”. Drawing from his time at ESPN and CNBC – Chris will be moderating a panel on the opportunities that niche content presents – how you can really make money by super-serving a smaller, but dedicated audience.
Award-winning director and editor Hemal Trivedi will visit the DFP on October 10-11. During her two-day visit, Trivedi will share her storytelling expertise and editing techniques with the DFP students and provide advice and feedback on thesis film projects.
Trivedi’s work as a filmmaker and editor has been recognized with one Oscar and three Emmy wins and seven Emmy nominations. Her work has been showcased in major film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA and broadcast on Netflix, HBO, and PBS (Frontline and Independent Lens). Trivedi’s critically acclaimed film Among the Believers, which premiered at the Tribeca film festival, was ranked as one of the top documentaries of 2015. Among the Believers screened in over 50 film festivals in 25 countries and won 12 awards including an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
The DPF will host a screening of Among the Believers on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at The Graduate School @ Brookstown, 200 Brookstown Avenue, Suite 302B.
The DFP will host a lunchtime “Meet the Filmmaker” session with Jessica Devaney, co-director of Love the Sinner, on Thursday, October 5. Love the Sinner is a short documentary that explores the Evangelical roots of homophobia in the wake of the Pulse shooting.
Devaney will speak to DFP students about her experience directing the film and her work as a producer and communications strategist. She recently produced Speed Sisters (2015), which follows an intrepid team of Palestinian women racecar drivers. Devaney co-produced the Peabody Award winning short My Neighbourhood (2012) and produced its companion web series Home Front (2011). She associate produced Budrus (2009), which won over a dozen international awards, including the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. Devaney is a 2016 Women at Sundance Fellow, founder of the Queer Producers Collective and the former Director of Communications at Just Vision.
The lunch session with Devaney will be hosted at noon in Room 302B. A screening of Love the Sinner and a panel discussion hosted by the Department of the Study of Religions and Pro Humanitate Institute will take place on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. in Annenberg Auditorium, Carswell Hall.
DFP students S.J. Wright and Hao Zhang will head to the Big Easy soon to test their pitching talents in the New Orleans International Film Festival’s Pitch Perfect competition. The annual Pitch Perfect competition provides film students from universities across the South with the opportunity to practice the art of pitching in front of a panel of film industry professionals.
Wright will pitch Original Body of Pain, an observational documentary, co-directed by Dominic Silva, that follows three young mothers touched by the American opioid epidemic. Zhang will pitch An American Adventure, a film that follows Chinese university students in North Carolina as they encounter evangelical Christianity and struggle with questions of faith and identity. The Pitch Perfect competition takes place on Friday, October 13.
So amazing to see these former students among this year’s Emmy Nominees. Congratulations to each of you. We are so proud of the work you are doing!
Michael Beach Nichols, Co-Director, Welcome to Leith, Independent Lens
Outstanding Government and Politics Documentary:
Hemal Trivedi, Director/Producer, Among the Believers, Doc World
Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary:
David Cassidy, Producer, Miss Sharon Jones!, Starz Digital
Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newsmagazine:
Sarah Prior, Field Producer, Muhammad Ali: Remembering A Legend, 48 Hours
It was a magnificent month of May for Scott Schimmel. He received the news that his film, My Garden, No Longer was selected for the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes, he graduated with his MFA, and he accepted an offer to join the faculty at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as an Assistant Professor in Digital Documentary and Multimedia Production.
Scott will be teaching courses in documentary and media production with a special focus on integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education into course work and contributing to the University of Hawaii`s sustainability initiative. We wish Scott all the best in his new position!
It is with great pleasure that we announce that award-winning journalist, content creator and media executive Chris Sheridan is joining the DFP as an Associate Teaching Professor.
Sheridan comes to the DFP after building and leading content teams at ESPN, CNBC, NBC and ABC. In addition to supervising editorial content, he helped these networks adapt to the digital space by leading the digital video team at ESPN, launching the SportsCenter social media experience andThe CNBC Digital Workshop, and running abcnews.com
“We were very impressed with Chris this year as a Visiting Instructor and we are delighted that this hire will allow our students to continue to benefit from his digital media expertise, his leadership skills and his industry connections. We are particularly excited about the role he will play in helping us build a more robust student internship program,” said DFP Program Director, Cara Pilson.
Sheridan will teach courses in sports and digital media, provide internship supervision to DFP students and assist in curriculum development.
“The opportunity to come to a place like Wake, and help build a new sports media and storytelling program that reflects all of the changes going on in the sports media landscape these days was too good to pass up. I can’t wait to see where this goes,” said Sheridan.
Sheridan is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University, received a Masters from the University of Missouri, and a Certificate in Sports Business Operations from New York University.
We are delighted to share the news that Scott Schimmel’s film, My Garden, No Longer, is headed to Cannes! Schimmel’s film, which examines the impact of climate change on the people of Malekula Island in Vanuatu, is a finalist in the 2017 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. The showcase provides an opportunity for emerging filmmakers to have their works seen by Cannes Festival and Film Market attendees at a special invitation only screening in The Roger Ebert Conference Center during the Cannes Film Festival. The American Pavilion describes the event as “a festival within a festival at the most important event on the international film calendar.”
Schimmel’s film was supported through the Richter Scholars program, which provides travel funding for summer research, and a $3,000 research grant from The Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.