DFP Students Launch Production House

When Wake Forest departments and organizations repeatedly requested the storytelling skills of DFP filmmakers, a group of entrepreneurial-minded students decided to make the most of this opportunity.  Chris Zaluski, Sam Smartt and Kim Dryden developed a business plan, secured a location in scenic Reynolda Village and launched Wrought Iron Productions a video production house managed and staffed by DFP students.

WIP is dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality storytelling and video production services to the Wake Forest community while offering graduate students entrepreneurial and professional work experience to supplement their academic training and help offset their tuition expenses.


RiverRun Screens DFP Student Films

The RiverRun, International Film Festival, a premiere regional film festival based in Winston-Salem, will feature five DFP student films in its North Carolina Shorts category. This program features the best short films received from N.C. filmmakers.

Autism in Love, Director: Michelle Friedline
Autism in Love profiles R.V. Kuser, a clever man of 50 with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who has overcome his deficient social skills and odd behaviors to embrace life. He and his wife Marlene share secrets about their bond and R.V. reveals the true meaning of unconditional love.

Wagonmasters, Directors: Sam Smartt and Chris Zaluski
The car that was once the quintessential image of the American Dream is all but dead to most people. For a handful of diehards, however, the station wagon is still the vehicle of choice. This short tells the story of the vehicle as a symbol of a changing America over the last century.

North Carolina Shorts 1

  • April 14, 10:00 a.m. Hanesbrands
  • April 19, 1:30 p.m. Hanesbrands

The Impetus to Desegregate, Director: Chris Zaluski
In the 1950s and 1960s, many universities faced court-ordered desegregation, but Wake Forest, as a private institution, was not under federal mandate. The process of desegregation was prompted primarily by student petitioning and protest. This film explores how Wake Forest became the first major private university in the South to integrate.

The Legitimate Child, Directors Michele Ferris and Kelly McKenna
This short documentary tells the unique story of the Safe Bus Company, the only African American-owned and operated bus company of its time, which was located right here in Winston-Salem. Safe Bus was the legitimate child of an illegitimate system.

The One Who Builds, Directors: Peter Carolla, Nick Gooler and Hillary Pierce
The One Who Builds is the story of the life and work of Dr. Omer Omer, once a Sudanese refugee, now an American citizen, who is giving back as the director of a refugee resettlement organization in Greensboro, North Carolina.

North Carolina Shorts 2

  • April 14, 12:30 p.m., Hanesbrands
  • April, 19 4:15 p.m., Hanesbrands

Zaluski Wins New Orleans Pitch Contest

MFA student Chris Zaluski recently won the New Orleans Film Festival’s Pitch Perfect Competition for his film project, Wagonmasters.  The contest involved film students from Florida State University, Loyola University, University of New Orleans and Tulane University as they presented a five-minute film pitch to a panel of film professionals. In addition to Zaluski, MFA student Jess Pic also pitched her film project, Wicked Silence.

Zaluski received $500 to be used toward the film’s production as well as MovieMagic budgeting software. His film project, Wagonmasters, is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2012 and is being produced with co-director and MFA student Sam Smartt.

First Year Students Arrive, Bootcamp Begins


Brent Richardson instructs first-year students.

The start of the academic year is nearly underway and first-year Documentary Film Program students are beginning their bootcamp and orientation week.

The bootcamp is a three-day immersion into documentary film, aimed at filmmakers of all levels. The camp covers aspects of shooting, editing and ethics, and the students even produce a short observational film that screens at the end of the bootcamp.

“The great thing about the DFP is that students from all disciplines – not just video production – are a part of the program,” co-instructor and second-year student Chris Zaluski said. “The bootcamp is a way to get the students familiar with the medium. But it’s only the start.”

Zaluski is teaching the bootcamp with fellow second-year student Brent Richardson. This year’s DFP class contains 12 students with backgrounds ranging from television to newspaper to environmental science.

On the first day of the bootcamp, students learn how to use the DFP’s video cameras as well as learn about the basics of documentary cinematography. The students break in the afternoon to begin shooting their short film.

DFP Students Film in India, Pakistan, Zambia and Venice


Photo taken in Southern India by Kim Dryden

MFA students and Richter Summer Scholars Kim Dryden and Sana Haq will travel to India and Pakistan this summer to pursue individual film projects. Dryden and Haq were recently awarded Richter Summer Scholarships, which offer financial support to independent study projects requiring significant travel.


Dryden is currently in India filming the experiences of a group of undergraduate students led by communications professor Dr. Ananda Mitra on a month-long exploration of India. She will produce a short film that will not only highlight one of Wake’s enriching study abroad programs, but also the personal growth of the students and the importance of cultural immersion as a tool for learning about and ultimately understanding other peoples. The Museum of Anthropology will host a screening of the completed film in October of 2012.


Haq will travel to her home country of Pakistan later this summer to begin production on a film that looks at the issue of terrorism and its impact on Pakistan’s society and citizenry. Haq notes, that 35,000 civilians have died since 2001 as victims of terrorism and 3,000 soldiers have died in active combat with terrorists. While much of Western media focus on Pakistan’s inadequacy in fighting terrorists, she hopes this film will bring attention to the other side of the story. The story of Pakistan’s suffering and its people’s resolve to keep fighting.


Other DFP students traveling abroad to film projects include MFA students Sam Smartt (’13) and Chris Zaluski (’13). Smartt recently contributed a guest column to Wake Forest Magazine reflecting on his experience filming a choir trip to Zambia.


Zaluski traveled to Venice, Italy and Vienna, Austria this past July to shoot a promotional video about the Wake Forest Law School’s study abroad programs in those locations.

Civil Indigent Wins Cine Award

Civil IndigentThe documentary Civil Indigent is the winner of a CINE Golden Eagle Award. According to Cine.org, “The CINE Golden Eagle Award has been recognized as a mark of excellence throughout the film and television industry for over 50 years.” Civil Indigent nabbed the award in the student documentary category.

The film was produced by Wake Forest MFA graduates Nick Corrao and Peter Salomone as well as Documentary Institute graduate David Hafter.

Civil Indigent is Finalist for Student Oscar

Civil IndigentThe documentary Civil Indigent was selected as a national finalist for a Student Academy Award. The film is one of three regional winners that will advance to the national round of judging, which will take place in mid-May.


The film was produced by MFA students Nick Corrao and Peter Salomone as well as David Hafter.

Bound by Haiti Garners National Attention


Dieubon, Bougher and Safiullin in front of the Capitol Building.

Third-year students Jon Bougher and Roman Safiullin’s film Bound By Haiti has receieved its share of recent attention.  The students were invited to screen their film on Capitol Hill. The screening, which was sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, was open to all on the Hill and attended by US Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NY). They’ve also recently screened their film at the University of Florida, Cinema Paradiso in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Center after an invitation from a city councilman.

Bound by Haiti is the story of Aaron Jackson and John Dieubon two young international activists forced to deal with the tragedy of the Haiti earthquake first-hand. Raised on a wealthy resort, Aaron has dedicated his life to eradicating intestinal parasites in Haiti. Born and orphaned in Port-au-Prince, John’s mission is to inspire a new generation of Haitian children.

But when the earthquake of January 12, 2010 strikes, Aaron and John must confront the biggest challenge of their lives. The filmmakers, staying outside Port-au-Prince, captured the tragedy during this devastating event. Featuring rare video and photos from immediately following the earthquake, Bound by Haiti follows these unlikely friends on a journey for change before and after the most devastating international event of our time.

MFA Candidate Teaches Documentary Skills to Nicaraguan Teenagers

nicaJon2MFA candidate Jon Bougher recently finished teaching Nicaraguan children the fundamentals of documentary film as part of his outreach efforts in the country.

Utilizing Flip video cameras, Bougher conducted a 10-day workshop for six teenagers of La Chureca, a community formed near the Managua City trash dump. The workshop taught aspects of documentary theory, production and post production, and the students each created three short videos highlighting the various programs at NicaHOPE, a local outreach of Fabretto Children’s Foundation.