Saturday, August 9, 2014

MassArt Low-Residency MFA Show

This summer I am teaching for the first time in MassArt's Low-Residency MFA program, which is structured pretty similarly to the program I attended at San Francisco Art Institute: 60 credits over three summers, culminating in a big show at the end.

Teaching Experimental Video is fun because I get to see how painters, sculptors, designers, and performers approach videomaking.  And last night I was blown away by their thesis show, which is up in Bakalar Gallery all next week.  Several of my students had very strong work, from Adam Mastoon's meticulous, heartfelt photographs, collages, and installations (including a light installation on walls related to my 60.30.1 piece) exploring identity and personal experience:

Brack Morrow's intriguing multimedia work involving a "rover" constructed of musical instrument parts that roams the landscapes of the American West gathering environmental readings:

and Robert Maloney's striking installation about memory and urban landscape (of which I especially loved the tiny video projection hidden as a gem within the larger construction):

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Restorative Justice in the NYT

By Talking, Inmates and Victims Make Things ‘More Right’
A process called restorative justice is being tried to bring healing to crime victims and their families as well as to their imprisoned perpetrators seeking rehabilitation.

Janet Connors, my film subject for Hurt People Hurt People, is featured in a great article in the New York Times today about her and her collaborators' restorative justice work at Norfolk Prison!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Editing at MassArt

Today's the last day of my one-week intensive Editing the Documentary course at MassArt's Summer Film School.  It's been a great week, though always a challenge to balance the technical and the theoretical, the different experience levels, and the four different editing platforms students are using!

After several days spent talking about building scenes, working with interviews, and sound design, today we'll get to back up to the big picture and talk about documentary film structure.  Hopefully they've read some of the great excerpts I gave them from Robert McKee's Story and Michael Rabinger's Directing the Documentary.  I love watching a full feature film and then breaking it down scene by scene, line by line, to see what the narrative skeleton is.

But I'm also looking forward to grabbing a beer with everyone after class ends.  One of the great things about the Summer Film School is the people we meet... many of them setting off on first, second, or third careers as documentary filmmakers.  Thanks for a meaningful week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Radcliffe Day

This year's Radcliffe Day on May 30 celebrated 15 years of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and 135 of Radcliffe (starting with the founding of Radcliffe College). Although I was away on a shoot and couldn't attend, it was extra meaningful for me since I attended Harvard/Radcliffe before the merger, my mom was a 'Cliffie, and I spent a good part of the year making 10 videos for the Radcliffe Institute.

The project initially began with the inspiration of Jane Rainie Opel, who ran the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association from 1978 to 1994. Her family provided funding for three of the videos, including one about The Radcliffe College Legacy.  Jane passed away in April 2013 and was sadly unable to see the finished products. It was an honor to get to know her lively spirit.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Noam Chomsky Award

I'm on a shoot in the Baltimore area now - travelled up here with my film subject Janet Connors, who is winning the Noam Chomsky Peace & Justice Award from the Justice Studies Association.  Congratulations, Janet!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

BU Student Film Screening

This year I had fifteen students in my Production I class at BU.  It's tons of work for the students - learning all about using DSLR cameras, recording sound, editing on the Avid, and of course the art of storytelling.  So it's immensely satisfying to have a public showing of their work at the end of the semester.

Last Friday my students all showed their films, and I was very impressed with what they came up with in such a short time. Then on Tuesday we had a course-wide Production I screening, with three films from each of the six sections presenting.  Tonight at 7pm the graduate students in Production 2 will be showing their films in COM 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston - come along if you are interested!

Above is a film by my student Michelle Orozco.  I really liked how she handled the flashback scenes: something that can be hard to pull off well and is sometimes overused.  But it worked beautifully here!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fun in Fourth Grade

What fun I had on Monday visiting my daughter Maya's fourth grade class at Montclair Elementary School in Quincy.  I talked to them about life as an independent documentary filmmaker - and how I came to this career partly through other people sharing their passion for it when I was young.  It was neat to see how they responded to clips of my films (especially Monkey Dance), and how hands shot up with questions throughout.

And of course everyone enjoyed playing with my camera equipment...

Thank you to the students and Ms. Joyce for letting me visit!