Wednesday, March 2 - Ragtag Cinema
Films by Reid Davenport
Reid Davenport's I Didn't See You There, which won the directing award in Sundance Film Festival’s 2022 US Documentary competition, is a revealing and thoughtful account of the difference between being looked at and being seen. As a disabled filmmaker, Davenport provides viewers with a window into his perspective on daily life, on taking public transportation, and on the newly erected circus tent in his neighborhood, which mostly reminds him of the disturbing and ignoble history of freak shows. Join us for an in-person conversation with the director about the evolution of his work, centered on a screening and discussion of his short films, including a mockumentary, a film that explores lawsuits under the ADA, and an acclaimed film about his waning love affair with baseball and with the New York Yankees in particular.
The conversation is moderated by film critic and curator Eric Hynes and includes screenings of Garden Variety, A Cerebral Game, and Ramped Up.
Thursday, March 3 - Fred Smith Forum, Reynolds Journalism Institute
Creative Freedom, Collaboration, and Care
How do teams protect the creative process and set the conditions for their most vibrant, honest, and innovative work to emerge? This session includes artists from two critically acclaimed True/False films - MIJA and I Didn’t See You There - who will discuss how they build trust and mutual respect into their collaborations, negotiate experimentation and control, and reject conformity. Panelists include Keith Wilson (producer, I Didn’t See You There), Todd Chandler (editor, I Didn’t See You There), Isabel Castro (director, Mija) and Ora DeKornfeld (editor, Mija).
This conversation is in partnership with NBC Universal and its Original Voices Fellowship, presented by NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios and is moderated by Jeanelle Augustin, Manager of Film Fellowships and Artist Development at NBC Universal.
10:45 am-12:15 pm
Three Songs for Benazir: Screening and Discussion
Join us for a conversation about Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s remarkable film which was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, and which won the Jury Award for Best Short at Full Frame. The documentary was filmed during the years prior to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, and it centers on Shaista, a young man displaced from his home along with his wife Benazir and many members of their family. Shaista dreams of being the first from his tribe to join the Afghan National Army. The moving portrait offers an intimate view of life in Afghanistan, a standpoint little seen and discussed in the United States. BOATS is honored to host an in-person conversation with the film’s directors.
The conversation is moderated by Slate senior editor Sam Adams and includes a screening of Three Songs for Benazir.
Lunch on own
How We Met in Virtual Reality: An IRL workshop
Joe Hunting’s New Film We Met in Virtual Reality, which recently premiered in Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition, follows the lives of real life couples who met in VR during the pandemic. Hunting’s innovative film draws us into the new medium, using it to tell its fascinating and contemporary story. Join BOATS to discover how exactly Hunting and his subjects made the film, how they tangled and crossed the lines that separate VR from documentary film, encouraging audience members and filmmakers to think in new ways about the form.
The conversation is moderated by Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson
Holding Documentary Film Accountable: The True, the False, and Everything Else
How truthful do documentaries need to be? Need they be fact-based and to whom should they be accountable? In collaboration with the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) this panel explores, discusses, and elaborates on the CMSI’s controversial 2021 report (“The State of Journalism on the Documentary Filmmaking Scene”), which deals with truth, documentaries, and the importance of fact-checking. This BOATS panel features the report’s authors and voices from both sides of this issue. Participants in this conversation include Patricia Aufderheide and Marissa Woods, authors of the CMSI report, filmmaker, programmer and journalist Kristal Sotomayor, film programmer and researcher at MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, Abby Sun and filmmaker Kevin Shaw (Let the Little Light Shine, America to Me).
The conversation is moderated by media curator and writer Donna Kozloskie.
Friday, March 4 - Fred Smith Forum, Reynolds Journalism Institute
Playing Roles: Drama Therapy and Theatricality in Documentary
Robert Greene, Monica Phinney (the drama therapist who collaborated with him on Procession) and Eliane Raheb (the director of the True/False film Miguel’s War) will engage in what’s sure to be a lively discussion about theatricality, role playing and how staging scenes can help us find deeper truths in documentary film. Phinney will then lead the audience in a demonstration of how drama therapy actually works.
This conversation is moderated by writer and film curator Pamela Cohn.
Patricia Aufderheide is University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. She founded the School's Center for Media & Social Impact, where she continues as Senior Research Fellow. Her books include Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago), with Peter Jaszi; and Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford), Aufderheide has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the George Stoney award for service to documentary from the University Film and Video Association in 2015, the International Communication Association's 2010 for Communication Research as an Agent of Change Award, Woman of Vision award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association and the Scholarship and Preservation Award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association.
Isabel Castro is a four-time Emmy-nominated, award-winning Mexican American filmmaker who combines a practice in journalism and art to tell stories about immigration, civil rights and identity. Castro directed, produced and filmed the Emmy-nominated, award-winning documentary short USA v Scott (Tribeca 2020, The New Yorker), Emmy-nominated Darlin (Tribeca 2019, NYT OpDocs), and on the Emmy-nominated Netflix docu-series Pandemic. Her directorial debut Crossing Over (Univision/Participant Media) won a 2015 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. She’s worked on dozens of stories as a producer, cinematographer and multimedia journalist for The New York Times, as an Edward R. Murrow-award winning producer at The Marshall Project, on two seasons of the Emmy-award winning series VICE on HBO, and as an Emmy-nominated producer covering civil rights and policy at VICE News Tonight on HBO. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40. She has fellowships with Concordia Studio, Firelight Media, NBC News Studios Original Voices, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Mija is her first feature film and premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT Category.
Reid Davenport makes films about disability from an overtly political perspective. His first feature film I Didn’t See You There premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Directing Award in the US Documentary Competition. His work has been supported by The Ford Foundation, NBC Universe, ITVS, and The Catapult Film Fund, among others. Davenport was a 2021 Creative Capital recipient, a 2020 DOC NYC “40 Under 40" Filmmaker, and a 2017 TED Fellow.
Todd Chandler is a filmmaker, artist, and educator whose work explores American rituals, landscapes, and systems of power. His films and installations have been exhibited widely at venues including True/False, IDFA, Doclisboa, the Hammer Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Mass MoCA. His most recent documentary, Bulletproof, was called “dreamlike and startling,” by the New York Times and “a quiet gut punch of a film,” by the Guardian. His work has been supported by Field of Vision, Sundance Institute, International Documentary Association, Doc Society, and ITVS, among others. He was one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2019, a fellow at the Sundance Non-Fiction Director’s Residency, a Points North Fellow, and is a recent recipient of a Creative Capital Award. He is also an accomplished editor. He was the lead editor and a video advocacy trainer at the human rights organization WITNESS, edited the Academy Award nominated documentary short film In the Absence, directed by Seung-jun Yi, and most recently edited Reid Davenport’s feature documentary I Didn’t See You There, which won Davenport the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. He currently teaches in the Film Department at Brooklyn College.
Ora DeKornfeld is an Emmy-award winning journalist, filmmaker and editor based in Los Angeles and Mexico City. She uses cinematic documentary storytelling to shed light on the human condition behind our world’s most divisive political issues. DeKornfeld directed, produced, filmed and edited the award-winning, Emmy-nominated short film, USA vs. Scott (Tribeca 2020, The New Yorker). Other independent work has received multiple awards from Picture of the Year International, including first place for Feature Multimedia, the White House News Photographers Association's Student Video Photographer of the Year, The Webby Awards, SXSW Film Festival and she was listed on PDN’s 20 Emerging Artists to Watch in Film and Video. Her work has been showcased in the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, CNN, Netflix, National Geographic, The Atlantic, Vox's Explained on Netflix, among others. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times and her work there has been nominated for three News and Documentary Emmys. In 2019, she won in the "Outstanding Editing: News" category. She was a cinematographer and editor on Mija, which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Jeanelle Augustin is a Haitian-American film programmer and grants professional who currently serves as Manager, Film Fellowships and Artist Development at NBC Universal, helping to lead the Original Voices Fellowship, presented by NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios. Born and based in New York City, her work is centered on the visual and sonic culture of the future — what does creative freedom for artists of color look and sound like? How can institutions support and set the conditions for radical, inclusive, and liberatory art-making and viewing experiences, and most importantly, how are we willing to be transformed? Before NBC Universal, Jeanelle worked at Doc Society as Film Officer, managing US-based grant portfolios, funds, and fellowships and serving as the first point of contact for artists in the earliest stages of development forward. She got her first taste of the delicious potential and overlapping worlds of fine art, philanthropy, and indie film in Haiti and cut her teeth working at Sundance Institute in the Documentary Fund and New Frontier Lab Programs. She has programmed for Camden International Film Festival, True/False Film Fest, and Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, curated and led filmmaker seminars for Black Star Film Festival and UnionDocs, served on festival juries and funding panels for Creative Capital, Define American, Doc Society, Film Independent, International Documentary Association, Open City Documentary Film Festival, and Sundance Institute. She surfs, teaches yoga, and is a proud member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Pamela Cohn is a freelance film & video curator, writer, and nonfiction story consultant for The British Council (Connecting Stories), Scottish Documentary Institute, Open City Assembly, London, and other organizations. She also works as a filmmaker interviewer, panel and roundtable moderator and host at various international festivals and conferences. Pamela is the author of Lucid Dreaming: Conversations with 29 Filmmakers (OR Books, New York & London 2020) and produces, writes and hosts The Lucid Dreaming Podcast: Conversations on Cinema, Art & Moving Image since March of 2020. She has been a contributing writer for MIT's Open DocLab publication IMMERSE; Filmmaker Magazine; BOMB Magazine; The Calvert Journal; Senses of Cinema, among other print and web publications, and contributes content to exhibition catalogues as well as writing and editing materials for independent artists. She is actively pursuing professional voice-over work, as well as acting roles for theatre, TV, and cinema.
Robert Greene’s latest film PROCESSION premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival, is distributed by Netflix, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary and shortlisted for an Academy Award. His previous film BISBEE ’17 (2018) premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS’s P.O.V. and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards. His films include the Sundance award winning KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE (2016) and the Gotham Awards nominated ACTRESS (2014). Robert was an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015 and served on the U.S. Documentary Jury for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He has edited many features, including HER SMELL (2018), GOLDEN EXITS (2017), QUEEN OF EARTH (2015) and LISTEN UP PHILIP (2014) by Alex Ross Perry. Robert has written for outlets such as Sight & Sound. He co-created the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri and serves as its Filmmaker-in-Chief.
Joe Hunting began his journey capturing heartfelt portraits from VR in 2018, releasing his first award winning short film A Wider Screen in early 2019, at the age of 19. Whilst completing his film production degree in 2020, he shot and directed another award winning short doc and a comedy series entitled Virtually Speaking filmed entirely inside VRChat, which both screened at festivals internationally. After graduating, Hunting has been shooting works in social VR full time, alongside the year-long production of his debut feature documentary We Met in Virtual Reality.
Elizabeth Mirzaei is a director and cinematographer of nonfiction films. Elizabeth lived in Afghanistan for over eight years and co-directed the feature Laila at the Bridge, which screened at Locarno and had a theatrical run in the UK at Bertha DocHouse. She is the co-director of Three Songs for Benazir, which was nominated for an Academy Award and also received awards at numerous festivals including Full Frame, Yamagata, and Clermont-Ferrand. Elizabeth is a Film Independent Fellow and a Moving Picture Institute Cinematography Fellow. Her cinematography has been featured in films that screened at Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, among others. Elizabeth lives in California with Gulistan and their two daughters.
Eric Hynes is a New York-based film critic and reporter, as well as Curator of Film at Museum of the Moving Image. He has written for the New York Times, Film Comment, Rolling Stone, IndieWire, Slate, the Village Voice, and Time Out New York. Since 2004 he has been a staff writer for the online film journal Reverse Shot, where he's also the host and co-producer of the Reverse Shot Talkies video series.
Gulistan Mirzaei is an Afghan director. He was born in the mountains in northeastern Afghanistan, and spent part of his life as a refugee in Iran. For many years, Gulistan was assistant to the late Faheem Dashty, Editor in Chief of Kabul Weekly, the first independent newspaper to be published in Kabul after the departure of the Taliban. Gulistan’s first feature film, Laila at the Bridge, picked up numerous awards including at CPH:DOX. His short film, Three Songs for Benazir, is nominated for an Academy Award and has won nearly a dozen jury awards. He lives in California with his wife/directing partner, Elizabeth, and their two children. A recent immigrant to the United States, he is working to help his family still in Afghanistan.
Donna Kozloskie is a media curator and writer currently rooted in the Midwest. With a focus on nonfiction storytelling, she has been a programmer, screener and reader for many platforms including work with POV, Sundance, True/False, DOC NYC, Catapult Film Fund, Medium and others. Her book on the album Moon Pix by musician Cat Power will be released from Bloomsbury in June 2022, a book which focuses on the creation of music legends and the shift to networked media in the late '90s. Donna acted as Creative Producer on the animated feature documentary Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then (2010) which resides in the permanent collection of MoMA. For the past few years she has also been a journalism instructor at the University of Missouri where she engages with the next-gen of artists and content creators.
Monica Phinney is a Registered Drama Therapist in Kansas City, Missouri, where she owns Heartwork- a creative wellness studio. Most of her career has been dedicated to utilizing drama and other artforms for the prevention and response to domestic and sexual violence. Since 2019, she has been collaborating on the award-winning Robert Greene documentary, Procession. With the recent success of Procession, Monica is now focused on exploring and sharing the powerful intersections of drama therapy and filmmaking.
Brad Prager is a Professor of Film Studies and of German Studies at MU, and he is currently the Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair of Humanities. His areas of research include Film History, Holocaust Studies, Contemporary German Cinema, and the art and literature of German Romanticism. He is the author of After the Fact: The Holocaust in Twenty-First Century Documentary Film (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015), The Cinema of Werner Herzog: Aesthetic Ecstasy and Truth (London: Wallflower, 2007), Aesthetic Vision and German Romanticism: Writing Images (Rochester: Camden House, 2007), as well as monographs devoted to Christian Petzold’s films Phoenix (Rochester: Camden House, 2019) and Yella (edition text + kritik, 2020). He is the co-editor of a volume on Visual Studies and the Holocaust entitled Visualizing the Holocaust: Documents, Aesthetics, Memory (Camden House, 2008), of a volume on contemporary German cinema entitled The Collapse of the Conventional: German Cinema and its Politics at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Wayne State UP, 2010), the editor of A Companion to Werner Herzog (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), and, together with Roger F. Cook, Lutz Koepnick, and Kristin Kopp, of Berlin School Glossary: An ABC of the New Wave in German Cinema (Intellect, 2013). He is the university's appointed representative on the state's Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission, has been a guest at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, teaches for the Holocaust Educational Foundation in Evanston, and in the Summer of 2017 he was a Guest Professor in the Institute for Literature and Media at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität in Bamberg.
He is on the editorial boards of New German Critique, the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, and Humanities. Together with Erin McGlothlin, he is the co-editor of the book series Dialogue and Disjunction: Studies in Jewish German Writing and Thought.
Kristal Sotomayor (they/she) is a bilingual Latinx journalist, filmmaker, and festival programmer based in Philadelphia. They serve as the Awards Competition Manager for the International Documentary Association (IDA), Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF), Co-Founder/Journalist for ¡Presente! Media, and are a member of the Editorial Board for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Kristal is also a Seasonal Programmer for San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM) and an organizer of The Video Consortium: Philadelphia group. Kristal writes the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” for cinéSPEAK. Currently, they are working on EXPANDING SANCTUARY, a short documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. They are also developing a docu-animation film ALX THROUGH THE LABYRINTH that takes a dive into the nonbinary Latinx Alice In Wonderland-like reality of contracting COVID-19.
Keith Wilson is a producer, director and artist based in Athens, Georgia whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, Hot Docs, the U.S. National Gallery of Art, documenta14, and the Museum of Modern Art. He is the Producer for I Didn't See You There, which won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Keith is a current Creative Producing Fellow with the Sundance Institute and a former BAVC National Mediamaker Fellow and a Points North Institute Fellow for his work-in-progress live documentary performance, Untitled Frank Moore Project. His artist books and performance work was an Artforum Critics Pick and has been exhibited at the Blanton Museum of Art, the Gagosian Gallery, and in cul-de-sacs and strip malls in Texas and Georgia.
Eliane Raheb is a Lebanese director. Her first feature documentary, Sleepless Nights (2012) premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival and was screened in more than 70 film festivals. It ranked fifth in the Sight and Sound magazine’s classification for the best documentaries of 2013.
Her second feature documentary Those Who Remain (2016), participated in more than 60 film festivals and won seven awards. Miguel's War is her third feature documentary. It won the Teddy award for the best feature film at the Berlinale festival in 2021.