Director's Note, October 2015
In June 2015, MDOCS capped off its year of firsts with the successful inauguration of the Storytellers’ Institute, a five-week creative-academic experience with two keynote presentations, seven documentarians as resident fellows, two Skidmore faculty, and 10 Skidmore student participants. “Family Stories” turned out to be the right theme as this group of storytellers connected in interviews, dinners, screenings, exhibit openings, master classes and critiques. Six additional students took a documentary filmmaking class and participated in Institute activities—to good effect, as Emily Rizzo, 18, describes her project, Finding Jeff.
As we brainstorm ideas for next year’s Institute—which will explore the boundaries between fact and fiction in documentary storytelling—you can get a sense of the energy from this year in pictures and by listening to and looking at some student projects that got underway this summer in a Tumblr collection curated by Fellow Matt Barnes ’15.
This fall we are excited to enter our sophomore year! MDOCS has jumped into fall with renewed commitment to Skidmore and the Saratoga community with some amazing campus collaborations and interdisciplinary visits. In the classroom, MDOCS filled production classes in film and audio documentary, drawing on the talents of Nicky Tavares and Adam Tinkle. The semester is rounded out with project-based workshops in archival storytelling and filmmaking and our first storytelling for the screen class led by screenwriter Nicole Coady.
Community partnerships continue, including in a photo workshop led by Saratoga-based photographer Michael McCabe and support for the Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga’s 60th birthday celebration—starting with a screening of Women of 69 Unboxed, a documentary film about lives lived by this transitional generation, with discussion led by screenwriter and alum Liz Roman Gallese ’69 and director Peter Barton, as part of a Sunrise Symposium.
LI 113, the MDOCS/Visual Literacy Forum space, is hopping with student-led workshops in audio and video recording and editing. Seeking to dust off old skills or develop new ones? Check out the program!
And finally, the professionals who turn creative thoughts into action continue to expand our horizons. Experimental documentary filmmakers Jacquelyn Goss and Jenny Perlin kicked off the year with live narration of their film The Measures, and class visits, including with host Nicky Tavares.
Learn about Justin Schell’s mini residency, (We Rock Long Distance) from a student perspective, including a stop-motion concert video by Roslyn Wertheimer. This event, organized by Liz Macy (music), brought film and music performance together on the screen and off. For details on other September events, see our website.
In October and November, the pace doesn’t slacken. Please join us for audio documentarians leading a listening night (Expandable Sound), the return of Skidmore alum Jesse Flower-Ambroch (for a sound meditation and workshop on sound effects in film) and a visit by "hobo filmmaker and tramp photographer" Bill Daniel for a screening of his film Who is Bozo Texino? and the pop-up Tri-X exhibit with student and community participation.
This year’s newsletter will continue to showcase student engagement with documentary—and in this new, online format, incorporate media to liven things up. We hope you enjoy!