We are so excited for our former student Michael Beach Nichols. Rolling Stone magazine lists his documentary, Welcome to Leith, as one of the 25 “Must-See” films at Sundance. The film, co-drected by Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. You can learn more about the film from the directors by viewing Indiewire’s Meet the Sundance Filmmakers.
Mindy Keeley (MFA ’14) is welcoming in 2015 with a new job and a new documentary project. Keeley recently began work as an editor for Discovering Alabama on a series called “Speaking Evolution.” Discovering Alabama is an Emmy award winning documentary program about the rich natural history and heritage of Alabama
Keeley’s return to her home state of Alabama also led to her latest film, The Cells of Baldwin County. The film will focus on three families in Baldwin County, Alabama coping with childhood cancer and on Lesley Pacey’s nearly decade long quest to understand why so many local children, including her daughter Sarah, who is now 14, have been diagnosed with rare cancers. Keeley hopes the film will not only show how families are dealing with this tragedy, but also bring attention to the potential environmental causes behind cancer clusters. The National Cancer Institute defense cancer clusters as “the occurrence of a greater than expected number of cancer cases among a group of people in a defined geographic area over a specific time period.” She recently raised $4,500 on Kickstarter to launch the project.
We are thrilled to share the news of this accomplishment of our former student Michael Beach Nichols. Welcome to Leith, co-directed by Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, is a feature documentary chronicling the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by white separatists.
Animating the Void: Erasing Michelle from “Full House”, a short film directed by Andrew Austin (MFA ‘14), will premiere this evening at the DC Shorts Film Festival. Austin completed the film as part of his MFA Creative Project while at the DFP. The film chronicles his quest to digitally remove the character of Michelle Tanner from the sitcom, Full House–a video project that invited some unexpected attention. The film will also be screening at the Chagrin Falls Documentary Film Festival on October 9.
Please join us in congratulating Kim Dryden on her new post at Udacity. Kim will be serving as a video production manager for the Silicon Valley online education company.
According to the posted job description, “employees at Udacity include adventurous foodies, nerf gun warriors, and free-spirited thinkers.” We have no doubt Kim will fit right in.
Drawn together by a shared passion for public art, DFP alum (MFA ’13) Kim Dryden and Wake Forest alum Austin Smith, a Filipino-American, formulated the idea for the Filipino Street Art Project before graduating in 2013. Both were attracted to the idea of taking a public art form and amplifying its impact through online media forms. The project consists of a feature-length documentary film, interactive website, online exhibits, short films, and photo galleries supported by a central website. A short year later their transmedia project and its mission of celebrating the power of street art to communicate, empower, and encourage discussion about universal issues is attracting international attention. Continue reading
The DFP is delighted to announce third-year student Annie Danzi has landed a position at Frostburg State University in Maryland as an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication. She will be teaching courses in video production, TV studio production, and electronic media, and will work within the department’s new state-of-the-art Center for Communications and Information Technology.
“In the time that I have spent at Wake Forest University pursuing my MFA in the Documentary Film Program, I have grown tremendously,” says Danzi. “With the profound guidance of the DFP faculty I have been able to determine exactly which path is best for me as an artist and future educator, and take strides toward achieving my career goals.”
In addition to completing her coursework and multimedia MFA project, Follow Me Girls, during the 2013-2014 school year, Danzi held various leadership positions, including serving as event director for a screening of “Artists of the Holocaust: A Collection of Short Films” in conjunction with the WFU Humanities Institute, completing two teaching assistantships, and representing her class on the DFP Council. She will begin her position in Fall 2014.
Filmmaker Magazine has named Jason Osder, a former student of the DFP faculty and an assistant professor at The School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, to its annual list of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. This honor comes after the release of Osder’s film Let the Fire Burn. Ten years in the making, the film made its film festival debut in April at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the prize for best editing and a jury special mention for best new documentary director. Independent Lens has picked up the film for broadcast and Zeitgeist Films has acquired the theatrical release rights. The film will open on October 2 at the Film Forum in New York and will make its debut in other major markets shortly after.
In response to our congratulations, Jason posted the following comment on Facebook:
If you would like to learn more about the persistence required in making this film, plan to attend the screening of Let the Fire Burn at the new Full Frame American Tobacco Theater in Durham on September 20th.
Peter Carolla is the recipient of a University Film and Video Association Graduate Student Conference Fellowship.
The fellowship provides a select group of students with financial support to attend the annual UFVA conference and the opportunity to participate in a Fellows Program that offers professional development opportunities and helps graduate students position themselves for the academic job market.
A former student premiering a film at the Tribeca Film Festival is a thrill, three alums screening at Tribeca at the same time is beyond thrilling. DFP faculty members Sandy Dickson, Cindy Hill and Cara Pilson are delighted with the recent A-list film festival success of their former University of Florida students. From Sundance to Tribeca these former students are making their mark as storytellers.
Running from Crazy, directed by Barbara Kopple and co-produced by David Cassidy (2002 UF alum) is following its Sundance premiere with screenings at Tribeca, FullFrame Documentary Film Festival and Sundance London.
LET THE FIRE BURN, directed by Jason Osder (2001UF alum) will premiere in the World Documentary Competition section of Tribeca. The film will also screen in the Special Presentations program at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and in the San Francisco International Film Festival in the feature documentary competition.
Michael Beach Nichols (2009 UF alum) and Deidre Schoo’s film Flex Is Kings will also make its world premiere at Tribeca. In addition, An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story, a film John Aldrich (2000 UF alum) worked on as co-producer, cinematographer and editor recently made its premiere at SXSW.
The faculty could not be more proud of the work these alums have produced and of the contribution they are making to the documentary filmmaking community.