DocFilm Forum Video Series on Art and Politics with Author Ben Davis: Chapter I

By Michael A. Behrens, July 22, 2014

The Documentary Film institute launched its first DocFilm Forum in 2014 with a moderated discussion, book signing, and reception featuring art critic and author Ben Davis and new his book 9.5 Theses on Art and Class.  Annually, DocFilm Forum explores and highlights ideas, tools and methods that disrupt current practices in documentary film production, exhibition, craft and research and pushes the boundaries of how documentaries function in our various communities, cultures and economies.  As follow up, to this lively panel discussion, DFI is happy to announce the first of four video segments from the Ben Davis studio recording. Every two weeks DFI will launch the remaining segments on our blog.  For those of you that did not make the event at SFSU take this opportunity to join Michael A. Behrens (DocFilm Director), Ben Davis (Author & Art Critic), Eric Talbert (Executive Director, Emergency USA), Sanaz Mazinani (Visual Artist), and Jesse Moss (SFSU Faculty & Filmmaker) as they discuss the role of politics in art. Click here for a link to the video.

To buy Ben Davis’ book, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, click here.

BenBen Davis is an art critic living in New York City. His writings have appeared in Adbusters, the Brooklyn Rail, Slate, the Village Voice, and many other publications. He is currently executive editor




JesseJesse Moss is a San Francisco based filmmaker. Previous films include Full Battle Ratte (Berlinale, SXSW Special Jury Prize, Film Forum NYC), Speedo (PBS/POV), and Con Man (HBO). He produced William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Sundance, Arthouse Films, PBS/POV). He has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film





Eric Talbert serves as the Executive Director of EMERGENCY USA – Life Support for Civilian Victims of War and Poverty. EMERGENCY USA is the US branch of the international medical humanitarian aid organization EMERGENCY, which provides high-standard free-of-charge medical and surgical care in war-torn areas and promotes a culture of peace, solidarity and respect for human rights. Eric earned his degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he recently received UNLV’s College of Liberal Arts Alumnus of the Year Award. He is a board member of the Development Executives Roundtable (DER), a Bay Area organization that provides excellent fundraising education in an informal, inclusive and supportive atmosphere that encourages learning and networking. Eric is honored to have received the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – San Francisco/Bay Area (YNPNsfba) 2012 Young Executive Director of the Year Award.


Sanaz Mazinani is an internationally exhibiting artist based in San Francisco. Her projects have been exhibited in venues such as Museum Bärengasse, Zurich, Art & Architecture Library at Stanford University, University of Toronto Art Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Sarai, New Delhi, Center for Contemporary Photography, Toronto, and Emirates Financial Towers, Dubai. Mazinani’s catalogue “Unfolding Images” was released in 2012. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and San Francisco Arts Commission and was shortlisted for the 2013 Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize, granted the Kala Art Institute Fellowship, and was awarded the SFAC Art on Market Street public art installation for 2013. Her artwork has been written about in Border Crossings, Nuva Luz, NOW Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and Dide. Mazinani studied art at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (2003), and received her MFA at Stanford University (2011).


Moderator, Michael A. Behrens is an award winning artist, business consultant, and film producer with 20 years of experience. He is the Director of the Documentary Film Institute at San Francisco State University. In addition, he is on the Board of Directors for the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, Emergency USA, Bona Fide Films and NarrativeTrack Inc. Michael holds a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.

archived blog from launch of DocFilm Forum:

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