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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – PLURALITIES: NONFICTION FILM JOURNAL AND CONFERENCE

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The Documentary Film Institute announces a call for submissions to be included in their inaugural non-fiction film journal (first publication – Spring 2018) and conference to be held the Fall of 2017. Accepted submissions for the journal will be considered for the conference focused on opening a dialogue on non-fiction film scholarship and workshops towards the development of the Documentary Film Institute’s new journal, Pluralities.  

This call is open to traditional papers, as well as PPT presentations, multi-media presentations, digital book chapters, new media and any other innovative ways of delivering scholarship on your research.  Film projects, archives, exhibits, and installations are also invited.

All work related to nonfiction film history, theory and practice are welcome as well as projects from any discipline that has an intersection with the medium.  In particular, the Institute values work that investigates global justice, cultural equity, democracy, the environment, the urban experience and underrepresented voices and stories.  A focus on innovations in nonfiction film production and theory are also of interest including animated histories, performance art, experimental approaches, data visualization, mapping and the examination of theoretical concepts framing these approaches.  All submissions will be considered.

Submissions due by September 8th, 2017

Conference Notification date: October 8th, 2017

Journal Notification date: January 31, 2018

Submit proposals to sfsudocfilm@gmail.com with subject heading: “Pluralities Submission”

Paper proposals should include bio, short abstract and paper or link to digital presentation.  Papers/Presentations should be between 5-25 pages in length formatted in Chicago Style.

Projects submissions should include bio, project description and links to the work or work samples that demonstrate the work you wish to have considered.

NONFICTION FILM CONFERENCE DETAILS

Fall 2017 – November 8th & 9th

Location: San Francisco State University

 

Pluralities: A Project of San Francisco State University’s Documentary Film Institute

It is urgent, in these times, to secure spaces where democratic conversations can occur.  Documentary film is one of the most powerful tools we have to research and reflect on our collective human experience and create connections to better ourselves.  There is currently no single hub for global conversations around documentary film and how it illuminates and intervenes in the social issues defining our age.

San Francisco State University’s Documentary Film Institute plans to meet this need by creating Pluralities, a multi-media, digital journal.  Pluralities will use nonfiction film to engage the humanities in nuanced dialogue.  It will bring together a cosmopolitan group of thought leaders, creative thinkers and learning communities to participate in the same global exchange as documentary filmmakers.  Pluralities will also offer far-reaching avenues for national and international nonfiction filmmakers and scholars to exhibit, examine and exchange their work in one platform.  In addition, it will provide an umbrella for the various creative and scholarly pursuits that are housed at the Documentary Film Institute.

The journal will function as an online and interactive space that identifies, experiments and innovates new forms of multi-media scholarship in the field using a no-fee open source platform.  In addition, it will bring together thought leaders and creative professionals in bi-annual symposia and conference settings to further interrogate these new approaches to scholarship and intersectionality in the burgeoning areas of nonfiction film and the humanities.  Pluralities’ vision is to be part academic journal, part aggregator of underserved global voices and part provocateur to the field of nonfiction film and the visualization of the humanities.  The journal will feature the work of graduate students as well as columns that debate issues of representation and history in film in language accessible to a non-specialist public.  The aim is to collect multiple versions of reality in one space in order to question the possibility of any master narrative, filling in the holes of history and the present with experiential knowledge and self-critique.

The Bay Area is the birthplace of nonfiction film and, as a center of cultural, political and technological innovation, the region remains a hotbed for documentary filmmaking.  As a university dedicated to global justice, equity and accessibility, and rooted in cross-cultural studies, SF State is the most compelling place to ground an innovative multi-media, digital journal for nonfiction film.  The university’s values and the extraordinary diversity of our students, faculty and staff empower us to give agency to underrepresented communities all over the globe.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE

The Documentary Film Institute functions as a production hub and incubator in which individual filmmakers, researchers, community members and entrepreneurs pursue a variety of projects, whether they are emerging talents or established veterans.  It supports applied research initiatives and critical discourse, from large-scale grants relating to documentation to conferences on the documentary tradition.  Since its inception in 2005, the Institute has screened more than 120 films and hosted more than 40 visiting filmmakers for more than 12,000 attendees.

Journal Editor: Soumyaa K. Behrens

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Summer Screenings!

ABINA and THE IMPORTANT MEN

Mark your calendars for Doc Film’s summer screenings!  We are honored and excited to be included in the SF Black Film Festival!  Our animated feature, Abina and The Important Men, is an official selection of this year’s program.  The film screens at the beautiful Koret Auditorium in the deYoung Museum on June 16th at 6pm with Q/A and reception to follow.  Tickets for this event are free to encourage as many community members to attend as possible.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/6pm-8pm-friday-koret-auditorium-de-young-museum-50-hagiwara-tea-garden-dr-tickets-34923927407

Abina tells the story of a young enslaved woman in Africa who takes her master to court under British Rule in the late 1800’s.  It is adapted from a graphic novel of the same name, authored by historian Trevor Getz and illustrated by Liz Clarke.  The book is based on Abina’s actual court transcripts and was awarded the James Harvey Robinson prize.  The film is voiced by students, faculty and staff of SFSU representing Theatre, Cinema, Music, Ethnic Studies, Design & Industry, History, Administration and the Associated Students Inc.

Check out the trailer, too!

 

CON MOTO: The Alexander String Quartet

Later this summer, get your groove on with our Television premiere of Con Moto: The Alexander String Quartet.  The film has screened at international festivals and airs on KQED’s Truly CA series on August 18th at 8pm.   Mark your calendars!

Con Moto follows the world-class musicians on the road in Poland as they play Beethoven and share their talents and legacy with Polish audiences.

Written by, Soumyaa K. Behrens

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Barbara Hammer & Cheryl Dunye in Conversation

The legacy of the SFSU School of Cinema is nothing short of remarkable.  In our most recent forum, we had the opportunity to indulge in that history with film pioneer, Barbara Hammer, alumna and renegade of the Cinema program.  The juicy dialogue led by another SFSU Cinema phenom, Cheryl Dunye, wrapped up Hammer’s visit to campus and master class with aspiring graduate and undergraduate students in the program.

docfilm forum title card

Students take part in the conversation, populating the studio audience and posing questions to Hammer and Dunye that are interesting and provocative.  Hammer and Dunye give generously of themselves and share their past experiences with incredible candor.  They don advice on shooting those intimate love scenes, share moments of questioning their own work and desires and ultimately land on the most important tool each one has to create and continue creating.  For Barbara, it was the Hammer and for Cheryl it was the Dun and the Ye.  All they need is all they have.  The uniqueness of their beings and the courage to reckon with themselves is what they rely upon – and that is all any artist needs to achieve her vision.

It was a delicious afternoon for all who were there.  But, if you weren’t, take a look at how it went down.

Barbara Hammer’s visit to SFSU was co-sponsored by The School of Cinema, The School of Art, Queer Cinema Institute, Documentary Film Institute and the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.  Hammer presented her new film, Welcome To This House to the SFSU community and general public.  She held a master class with graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Cinema and visited classes to view student work.  She was honored with the inaugural Barbara Hammer scholarship presented by the Queer Cinema Institute and won by John Edward Serafica (former DocFilm Intern Extraordinaire)

Written By Soumyaa K. Behrens

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Open Access Publishing Hot Topic at #SCMS17

DocFilm just returned from this year’s SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) conference in the big old city of Chicago.  Not as gritty as I remember it from days past, Chicago is hip, happening, and operating at warp speed.  There were wireless “charging rings” for your devices in the coffee shops, not to mention mobile ordering and pick-up at Starbucks.  The smart elevators in the AON center whisked you up to the 80th so fast you got a bit of a head rush from it.  And, one of the most interesting discussions at this year’s event was also concerned with the inter-future of academic publishing, aka the open access model.

open access scms17 chicago

There were two workshops dedicated to the topic and a flurry of the biggest gatekeepers of profit, non-profit and alternative forms of book and journal publication as well as the new guard of revolutionary writers, bloggers and scholars who are aiming to democratize the system and a couple people who seem to fall in both of those categories… The big question at hand: is open access a revolutionary model or just another way for the major players to control the system?  Can it possibly be a sustainable form for sharing research without the traditional backing of book sales and publishers’ prestigious marquees?

There is a whirlwind of new websites out there with the explicit intention to share, share widely and share freely.  Things like Critical Commons, Film Studies for Free, Academia.edu, (in) media res, Lever Press and SCMS backed [in]Transition.  Many of these initiatives spun into being as a response to the Budapest Open Access Initiative which was first published (online) in 2002.  There are countless additional sites that uphold its vision for free access via the arts, sciences, humanities, and social disciplines.  This has also given way to multi-platform approaches to creating scholarship using live annotations, film and audio clips and other creative renderings to deepen the relationship between the reader and the researcher, speak to a more global audience and include non-academic writers who may have just as much to contribute to the conversation.

Sustainability remains the key challenge to this rebellious effort meant to level the playing field of academia and research as something reserved only for the intelligent elite.   Many of these websites have also closed up shop after burning out from handling every aspect of publication themselves due to little or no funding or simply been unable to raise the minimum amount needed to keep their initiative alive.  And, alive, on the internet, is a very real problem.  Outdated pages, expired links, journeys to Error 404 abound.  There’s nothing more stinky than a rotten internet corpse.  Without regular maintenance, a system or platform to retain embedded data and, of course, M-O-N-E-Y, these efforts all have an eventual end.  As Mary Francis of University of Michigan Press pointed out (she was a panelist and vocal audience member), less and less people have the need to publish as tenured positions at University are decreasing at a rapid pace and Universities are saving that cash by bringing on the dreaded “adjunct” faculty instead.  If there is no professional need to publish, what then?  She also stressed that the processes of the presses have not really changed.  Yes, they now sometimes offer an open access version of a book or journal but not much else has evolved.  She wondered if we are looking in the right place to resolve this issue of inclusion, access and democracy among academics.

With 2020 swiftly approaching, so does a new referendum by the European Union entitled Horizon2020.  All scientific research papers that are produced under publicly funded initiatives must be made available for free.   We will see who’s ready (and who’s not) to capitalize on this when the new decade dawns.   At DocFilm we are eager to take part in this dialogue and help facilitate it.  We are busily constructing programs, initiatives and strategic partnerships to launch our own open access, multi-media nonfiction journal (working title) Pluralities.  Using the engagement with the so-called real as a center, the journal will mesh theory and practice of nonfiction film, explicitly connect with other disciplines in hopes to visualize, digitize and democratize research, media, and innovative reflections on reality.

open access scms17 chicago

Many many thanks to the SCMS17 for hosting these workshops and the fascinating individuals who structured the conversation as well as those who participated in it.

Workshop G5: Film and Media Studies in the Digital Era

Chaired by Caroline Edwards with Jefferson Pooley, Katie Gallof and Anna Froula

Workshop N16: Open Access Book Publishing

Chaired by Eric Hoyt with Mary Francis, Nedda Ahmed, Vicki Mayer (whose open access book I just downloaded), Lea Jacobs and Ben Brewster

Both with extremely vocal and sometimes adversarial crowds to whom I am also grateful.

Written by Soumyaa K. Behrens, Photos by Robert Barbarino

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Be A Green Gator: #SustainableSFSU

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Hey Gators, ever wonder where your trash goes after you throw it away? Be a Green Gator is an informative video that shows the lifecycle of your trash, recycle, and compost at SFSU. Waste management is crucial knowledge because throwing away trash has huge impacts on our global environment. For a healthy environment, it is important to know what trash bins to use to dispose your waste. Click the link for more information on correct Trash Bin Usage and share the video with other SF State students for a #SustainableSFSU

This project was developed through the Emerging Leaders Program at San Francisco State University.  DocFilm DIrector, Soumyaa Behrens graduated from the program and helped expand composting, green procurement and education surrounding the three bin system along with team members: Constance Cavallas, Caitlin Steele, Dylan Mooney, Jonathan Foerster, David Chelliah, Megan Dobbyn and Peter Le.

The animation was a collaborative effort by the DocFilm team and student assistants Daewon Kim and Kylie Pisciotto.

#SFSU #Docfilm #Trashbinusage #Wastemanagement #Greengator #Recycle #Compost #Trash

#EmergingLeaders #SustainableSFSU

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DocFilm Forum: Barbara Hammer Master Class Conversation

DocFilm friends and community members,

Visual artist, filmmaker and SFSU alumna Barbara Hammer will be joining State students, faculty, staff and guests for a screening of her 2015 documentary, Welcome to this House on February 10th. Details of this public event can be found below.

On February 11th DocFilm will be recording the Master Class conversation with Barbara Hammer and Professor Cheryl Dunye as part of their ongoing series DocFilm Forum. 

DocFilm Forums are ongoing dialogues that investigate the urgent issues of our time by bringing together experts in the field of Documentary, alongside Social Justice Leaders, NGO Directors, Writers and Policy Makers.  Forums are held in front of a live audience and taped for broadcast and sharing at later dates.

Barbara Hammer

Our Fall 2016 Forum featured a conversation on the film Peace Officer and can be viewed here.

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DocFilm Forum: Peace Officer

America is a country where the individual can make a difference. It is a place where one human being challenges the system and changes it by his efforts. What happens when that change takes on a life of its own and becomes an unruly monster that no individual can manage? This question lies at the heart of the recent documentary, Peace Officer.

7-Dub investigates Mathew Stewart home - Brad Barber pic

William “Dub” Lawrence investigates Mathew Stewart home – still from “Peace Officer”

William “Dub” Lawrence is responsible for the creation of the first SWAT team in Utah. His work was intended to make policing safer for everyone involved. But, when a member of his family finds himself engaged with Utah SWAT, everything goes wrong. Dub takes it upon himself to investigate the incident and it opens the door to a number of other cases with similar results. Peace Officer follows him on this quest.

We sat down with filmmakers Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson to analyze this and other related issues the film illustrates. We also invited the film editor, Renny McCauley, John Mutz, a retired LA Station Commander, Barbara Attard of Accountability Associates, the founder of a citizen oversight organization, and Britta Sjogren, Director of the School of Cinema at SFSU to examine and debate the impact of militarization in our national police forces.

Scott Christopherson and Renny McCauley are both distinguished graduates of the MFA in Cinema program at SFSU.

DocFilm Forums are ongoing dialogues that investigate the urgent issues of our time by bringing together experts in the field of Documentary, alongside Social Justice Leaders, NGO Directors, Writers and Policy Makers.  Forums are held in front of a live audience and taped for broadcast and sharing at later dates.

 

Don’t Get Hurt By That Glass Ceiling

Some events cannot be explained away as cosmic coincidence.

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Hours before yesterday’s votes were counted, I sat discussing with my producers Soumyaa and Robert how best to present the feminist voice in our movie, Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond. Soumyaa suggested we employ the “oppressed gaze,” a well-worn trope used in film/literature theory to represent the idea that there is intrinsic power awarded to the person who gets to do the looking. In traditional novels and movies, the “male gaze” dominates. As spectators, we share that gaze with the camera, director and leading men. The primary recipient of the gaze, the objectified female, has no reciprocal “gazing” power.

We talked about the fact that women were not allowed to look through major telescopes until the 1960s. That American women were not allowed to view the Earth from space until the 1980s. That no matter how capable, how prepared, how passionate or how hard they work, there have been dreams that women could not achieve, just because they were women.

We never thought to discuss that a woman could not become our president in 2016. That came later, last night.

When the space age began, both Hillary Clinton and I (along with many other girls of our era) expressed our desire to become astronauts, but were told we could not. This was more than an escapist fantasy, I think, but rather a desire to enter and explore uncharted territories: deep space, the oval office.

How is space exploration different from the U.S. presidency when, historically, both have been denied to women? How is any quest to achieve a long cherished goal any different when nonsensical barriers like glass ceilings are placed in the way?

To reach a goal, some one must first be able to look at it. Gazing at the proverbial glass ceiling is next to impossible. The glass is transparent, not restricting the view of the dreams that lie beyond it, but preventing progress toward the goal nonetheless. It’s a profoundly false view.

My own brand of feminism, emanating from the same generation as Hillary Clinton’s, fights the oppressed gaze because it makes us angry. The inability to look at whatever we want, whenever we choose, should not be gender-dependent.

The post-election detail that upset me most this morning was reading that Clinton had planned to celebrate with her supporters beneath a glass ceiling that would symbolically shatter. Instead I think workers carefully removed the elaborate prop and stored it away. The glass ceiling remains intact.

Glass ceilings are always there and always will be, whether represented by the lens of the telescope, the window of a spaceship, or the view looking out into the White House Rose Garden.

If the barrier can’t be shattered, then it’s the dream that’s in danger of being shattered to pieces. But there’s another way to look at it: the glass, whether in the ceiling or in the sky, can also be used to focus the view more clearly.

Our awareness of such a barrier – even if we are not able to break it – is painful but necessary. We have to take a long, hard look to see what the barrier reveals, then refocus our gaze toward finding ways to explore what lies beyond.

By Jan Millsapps, Director of Madame Mars: Women and The Quest for Worlds Beyond.

Film Screening! Con Moto: The Alexander String Quartet plays Oct 1

We are excited to share one of our newest releases with the Chamber Music community and the General Public!  Con Moto: The Alexander String Quartet follows the world-class musicians on the road in Poland as they play Beethoven and share their talents and legacy with Polish audiences.

conmoto

This Saturday, Osher Life Long Learning Institute hosts an all day Chamber Music Immersion event featuring master classes, performances, film, and dinner!  Schedule is below:

Special Segment (limited access):

3:00 pm – Lecture “Master Class Pieces”: John Prescott

3:45pm – Master Class Observation

Main Event

5:00 pm – Find Seating

5:30 pm – Concert: Alexander String Quartet

6:15 pm –  Film Screening: “ Con Moto: The Alexander String Quartet”

6:45 – Q&A and Reception with the Filmmakers and Alexander String Quartet

7:00 – Dinner

To reserve your complementary spot for the screening of the film, follow the link below. On the right hand side of the site, under tickets, simply select “Film Only” to confirm your seat.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chamber-music-immersion-an-audience-participation-event-tickets-27688050705

We would greatly appreciate the support of this production and hope to see you there.

Call for Interns! – Fall 2016 Semester

Documentary Film Institute Internships

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DocFilm interns working at the McRoskey Mattress Co.

 

Terms of Internships: Fall 2016, meeting weekly. 120 hours to be completed during semester for 3-units of credit under supervision of DocFilm Director, Soumyaa Behrens. 

How to Apply: Email brief letter of interest, summarizing your relevant skills and experience, to DocFilm Director, Soumyaa Behrens at soumyaa@sfsu.edu

Qualified applicants will be invited for an initial group interview.

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Production Intern (1 opening)

Description of Internship: Work on various SFSU and Bay Area documentaries: lighting setup, studio and field shooting, sound recording, archiving, and transcribing. Assistance with production of annual screening of new VDC films. May be asked to assist with setup for Poetry Center events, some of which may be off campus. Work directly with DocFilm Director, Soumyaa Behrens on various producing projects. Applicants that enjoy fast paced working environments and are willing to take initiative, think on their own are encouraged to apply.

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 Social Media and Administrative Intern (1 openings)

Description of Internship: Identify and cultivate key social media relationships. Find opportunities for grants and partnerships. Work on various administrative tasks. Research and develop tactics and strategies DocFilm can adopt to build brand awareness and strong partnerships in the Bay Area. Assistance with production of annual screening of new VDC films. Work directly with DocFilm Director, Soumyaa Behrens on grant writing and research. Students with a passion for Documentary Film are strongly encouraged to apply. Students must have strong verbal and written communication skills and strong Word, Excel and PowerPoint abilities

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Post-Production Intern (2 openings) 

This semester we are looking for 1 position to be focused on story editing, and another to focus on motion graphics and animation.

Description of Internship: Post-production work on various SFSU and Bay Area documentaries to include organizing footage, developing rough cuts with feedback from DF admin and various constituents, and motion graphics as needed. Applicants should be proficient with the Premiere Pro CC suite on a Mac OS platform, have experience editing short or feature length documentaries and have strong word processing skills. Highly organized applicants who can manage large amounts of assets and are willing to take initiative and think on their own are encouraged to apply. Applicants should feel comfortable with taking notes/feedback from the Director and Producers, which can then be translated into new cuts for viewing. Applicant may be asked to work occasionally on shoots operating camera and/or sound recorder, and to assist with production of annual screening of new VDC films.

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Producer / Research Assistant (1 opening)

Description of Internship: Work directly with DocFilm Director, Soumyaa Behrens on various producing projects. Assistance with production of annual screening of new VDC films. Work can include assistance with producing of various SFSU and Bay Area documentaries: editing, shooting, sound recording, archiving, transcribing as well as distribution, marketing and budgeting. Research focused on current non-fiction journals and conferences, identifying trends, topics, guests, etc. Research focused on development of future projects including but not limited to: Non-fiction Film Conference, TEDX event and the DocFilm Forum. Students with a passion for Documentary Film are strongly encouraged to apply. Students must have strong verbal and written communication skills and strong Word, Excel and PowerPoint abilities.

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 SFSU Poetry Center – Potential for year long appointment

Production / Post-Production (1 opening: paid position $15/hour)

 Videographer / Editor for Poetry Center Live Reading Series & Digital Archive

Under the supervision of DocFilm Director Soumyaa Behrens, the videographer is responsible for attending and recording all scheduled Poetry Readings in the renowned Poetry Center Reading Series. Dates are as follows:

  • September 8 7:00pm – SFSU Poetry Center
  • September 15 7:00pm – SFSU Poetry Center
  • September 24 7:00pm – McRoskey Mattress Co. (off campus)
  • September 29 7:00pm – SFSU Fine Arts Gallery
  • October 6 7:00pm – SFSU Poetry Center
  • October 9 5:30pm – ATA (O.C.)
  • October 20 7:00pm – SFSU Poetry Center
  • October 27 7:00pm – SFSU Poetry Center
  • Nov – Dec Dates TBD

Using digital technology, the videographer will record each reading, add bumpers and credits as well as perform basic editing (color correction and sound mix) and tag files to conform with protocols developed by DocFilm & Academic Technology for ingesting recordings into SFSU’s Digital Information Virtual Archive (DIVA).

Duties:

  • Attend Poetry Center Events for purpose of creating video documentation of performances.
  • Export raw video masters (archival file) for each performance.
  • Export separate audio (MP3) file from video masters.
  • Create MP4 distribution copy with bumpers, credits, light editing.
  • Tag and label files in accordance with guidelines developed by DocFilm & Academic Technology.
  • Create select short (2 min) videos of “highlights” at each event for Poetry Center communications and promotions.
  • Transfer master and completed edited files to DIVA within one week of original recording date.
  • Weekly or bi-weekly meetings with DocFilm staff to report and problem solve potential issues encountered in course of completing duties.