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2011 Documentary Film Alumni Newsletter

We would like to proudly acknowledge the following filmmakers for their recent accomplishments:
Student Academy Awards: Sin País (Without Country) by Theodore Rigby ('10) AND Imaginary Circumstances by Anthony Weeks ('10) [Ranking to be announced at the awards ceremony in June]
UFVA Carole Fielding Student Grant:  SAINT (working title) by John Rory Fraser ('11)
Enersen Foundation Production Grants:  SAINT (working title) by John Rory Fraser ('11), But Everything Is Going To Be Fine (working title) by Ryan Malloy ('11) and Message for Justice (working title) by Briar March ('11)


Jan Krawitz

It’s been an incredibly busy year, as always.  The 16 students currently in residence continue to make incredible films, upholding the tradition that the rest of you have established over the years.  We are pleased that five Stanford films, including first year work and thesis films, were recognized as regional finalists in the current Student Academy Award competition. The films are:
An Architect's Vision by Mina T. Son ('11)
Imaginary Circumstances by Anthony Weeks ('10)
Love & Allegiance by Tijana Petrović and Adam J. Smith ('12)
Plasticity by Ryan Malloy ('11)
Sin País (Without Country) by Theodore Rigby ('10)
I am on sabbatical spring quarter and I am using the time to continue working on my film about altruistic organ donation.  After a hiatus of more than two years, the narrative got back on track last fall and I was able to continue following the story.  Working with Charlene Music (’09) as cinematographer, we filmed in November and December and have two remaining shoots this summer.  I will be in residence at Yaddo in May and I look forward to being able to devote two full weeks to editing the project.  Then I will return to the usual schedule of editing in “fits and starts” once I am back at Stanford.

Jamie Meltzer

Yet another busy year! This is now the end of my fourth year teaching at Stanford, and I'm as amazed as ever with the quality of work our students are producing. After a break from production courses in the winter quarter, I have been working with thesis students as they finish their films, and with the first years as they complete their spring films on 16 mm. This year we rented Super 16 mm Aaton XTR cameras from Chater in Berkeley, and the resulting images are just stunning, I think the students took full advantage of the color film. 
For my own work, I'm still developing a project I hope to shoot next year in Lagos and in Morocco with a Nollywood (Nigerian) film director. The film will be partly fictional, using actors and non-actors, based on real events, and hopefully having a significant amount of documentary influence in the style and the feel of the film. I was just in Toronto at the Hot Docs Forum pitching a feature-length documentary that I also intend to finish in the next year. Depending on funding, the film may be released in mid-2012.  Hope to see some of you at the end of year screenings...

Kris Samuelson ('73)

John (Haptas) and I returned from Tokyo last July, having shot most of our new film, Tokyo Waka: A City Poem.  We returned over Thanksgiving break for one last quick shoot before we finalized the subtitles and started cutting.  The film is 63 minutes and is almost finished, with plans for color correction and mixing this June.   It is exciting to be so close to completion, just on the brink of sending our project out into the river and see what happens with it.  Hopefully we will be getting into festivals and coming your way at some point for screenings.  If so, we'll let you know!

Class of 2010

David Alvarado

After graduation, I moved to wonderful New York City. I love it here. I currently freelance for local production houses and other independent filmmakers. The environment for work here seems strong, though I have much more networking to do before I feel grounded. My Stanford thesis film, Indelible Mark has received a distribution grant and has also recently been accepted into New Day, a documentary distribution cooperative that sells films in the educational market. I’m very excited about exploring this model of distribution.
I am currently producing/directing two feature docs. One is on the Arts Therapies and how they can express the curious reality behind eating disorders, and the other is about the science and philosophy of human immortality. The latter, being made with Jason Sussberg ('10) is an experiment in long form artistic documentary using 3D stereoscopic recording and projection.  The Methuselah Generation ( recently won a $10,000 seed grant from the Motion Picture Institute.
I am also starting a production company that creates documentaries about science and technology as well as provides high-production value industrial media for non-profits and corporations in all fields of science. Please excuse the website which is under construction:

Emile Bokaer

This year has been intense and rewarding.  I miss the immersive environment of Stanford's program, but I am lucky to have an amazing community of creative and supportive filmmakers around me.  Highlights include starting the documentary production company Dogpatch Films along with Theo Rigby ('10) , Jason Sussberg ('10) and Anthony Weeks ('10); working as an assistant editor on Jamie Meltzer's current film project; working with John Kane ('08) on an edit of my mentor/undergraduate professor Geoff Pingree's film The Return of Elder Pingree; directing and shooting the music video Bird in Hand for San Francisco rock band Blame Sally; and working with my partner Mara Poliak to co-direct and shoot a short dance film, Our Mass the Mass of Planets (premiere next month at Agita y Sirva, a traveling dance film festival based in Mexico).  I was also fortunate to have a chance to shoot for documentary films directed by Cori McKenna and Susanna Helke.
Looking forward to the thesis and spring film screenings next month!

Theodore Rigby

The year since graduation has flown by and my Stanford days feel viscerally recent, but as if they were in a different odd juxtaposition.  I've been making the festival rounds with my thesis film Sin País, started distributing the film educationally with New Day Films, and I'm working on getting a National broadcast.  I've worked as a Director/Producer and DP for independent feature docs, non-profit projects, and semi-commercial gigs, trying to find a good balance of passion projects and work to pay the bills.  About two months ago, I started a production company, Dogpatch Films, with three of my Stanford classmates (Anthony Weeks ('10), Emile Bokaer ('10), Jason Sussberg ('10)).  We are sharing studio space, equipment, and are on our first extended shoot as a production company right now.  Super fun!  Starting a business has been challenging and exciting--we are figuring everything out as we go along, and trying to extend the collaborative sub-basement experience...minus the air mattresses, high-fructose corn syrup beverages, and all-nighters.

Jason Sussberg

The two-year graduate school mania has continued into the real world… Since graduation, David Alvarado (’10) and I have begun production on a 3D feature documentary on the science and philosophy of human longevity. We started production in 2010 and hope to be in post-production soon.
In March of 2011 Dogpatch Films was born when Theo Rigby ('10), Emile Boaker ('10), Anthony Weeks ('10) and I turned our informal gear-sharing collective into a formal business—a worker-owed and operated partnership. Dogpatch Films shares studio space with John Kane ('08), Nick Berger ('08) and Ryan Malloy ('11). We are continuing our film school experiences in the real world—working with each other, pitching ideas and critiquing one another’s work.
Dogpatch Films landed its first venture producing the 20 Under 20 Documentary Series (working title), documenting the lives and progress of young entrepreneurs during a two-year fellowship of trying to create the world’s next big start-up in science and technology. The series will be a non-linear documentary series presented in an interactive website.
I also am teaching as an Art and Digital Media instructor at Diablo Valley College, here in the Bay Area. This is by far the biggest challenge of my professional life! I taught (and am learning) Interactive Animation and Motion Graphics. Next semester, I will be teaching (and still learning) Digital Video.

Anthony Weeks

After a post-graduation trip to southern Africa (during which I did some research for a future film), I returned to San Francisco to prepare for the launch of Dogpatch Films, the film production company I started with Stanford classmates and colleagues Emile Bokaer ('10), Theo Rigby ('10), and Jason Sussberg ('10). Starting any new enterprise can be a challenge, and we've had our share of snafus, but Dogpatch Films was officially born on March 9, 2011. We also just started production on our first big project: a commissioned documentary about young entrepreneurs and innovators under 20. It will be an online episodic documentary over the next two years, so we'll keep you posted about how/where to see it.
My thesis film about actors with disabilities in Hollywood, Imaginary Circumstances, has been out in the world and doing pretty well. Highlights include an official selection as one of the 18 films for the American Documentary Showcase, a cultural diplomacy program sponsored by UFVA and the US State Department; the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability award, sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; and a nomination as a national finalist for the student Academy Awards. 
In addition to the doc film work, I'm still doing illustration, facilitation, and information graphics work. The book about social media and media literacy that I'm illustrating for Howard Rheingold (social media guru and Stanford lecturer) will go to press in July 2011. 

Class of 2009

Nilima Abrams

In December I went to India to film and teach at the Children's Project, a home/school for 40 ex-street children. Upon returning home I made a short film on their organization and worked as a grant writer as well. I have been teaching Final Cut to some local undergrads and will soon teach a course at the University of Vermont on documentary film and community/international development. The biggest recent time suck (I mean fun and challenging endeavor) has been the business I'm starting that uses iPhone apps as fundraising tools. I hope to eventually integrate documentary filmmaking in this business, both as promotions for the app and to show the impact of the charitable projects, but we are currently at the prototype phase. 

Matt Harnack

I'm working at Facebook with Peter (Jordan) ('08). My job there is focused on getting Facebook Live into many of the satellite offices. Facebook Live is a live Internet program that helps users engage with the company. Recently, I got to work remotely with Evan Briggs ('08) and Tim O'Hara ('08) on a Facebook Live Tech talk.
I'm also creating company culture pieces. For example, I made a short about an artist named Ian Ross. Also, I shoot for a show in San Francisco called Climate One.

Melanie Levy

I have to start by saying that it has been such a gift to hear of everyone's adventures over the last few months... from Mike Attie ('09) and Meghan O'Hara's ('09) film about Vietnam war re-enactors, to Tanya Sleiman ('09)  and Charlene Music's ('09) adventures in Cuba (I cannot wait to catch up more properly and in person)... to Nilima Abrams ('09) in India... so, since it's easy to get wrapped up in things I thought this might be a great spot to say - just how exciting and motivating it is to hear of people's stories as they're moving on with individual projects. Keep them coming.
Quick professional update here: I'm just wrapping a few weeks of editing for Kelcey Edwards ('08) and Kristy Guevera Flannigan on The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman. This is my first lead editing role on a feature doc - and I could not be more excited about the project. I've had such an amazing time working in this capacity on this particular story. Love the movie and am learning so much.
The last few months have been spent freelance producing, editing and shooting. Things began interestingly, with an assistant editor gig for a narrative feature film produced by Gigantic Pictures... and although my heart is in docs, it's been fun to know another great community of filmmakers and dip into narrative here and there. I have a script that I'm developing in hopes of applying to the Sundance Creative Producer's lab next year which would bridge the gap between the two. Up next, I was hired to produce and direct a half hour documentary for Ping Chong & Company, a theater company whose film has been funded and supported by the Minsk Foundation and will focus on their documentary theater series Secret Survivors. Production for the project begins in May and post will start in late July.
Stanford Project news - My Name is Sydney will be included in Karen Cirillo's traveling film series Doxita... for everyone who helped on that project... watch out for screening updates soon. Hope it's an excuse for a reunion in the near future. I think that's all for now! 
Warm Regards to all.

Charlene Music

Many wonderful things have happened this year. My thesis film Danza del Viejo Inmigrante was awarded the Angelus' Outstanding Documentary Award and also received the prize for Best Documentary at Big Sky Film Festival. When it comes to work, freelancing has meant involvement with so many fun, different projects. Late spring 2010, I was hired to edit my first feature film, Age of Champions, about the National Senior Olympics. I spent the summer in Vermont as a DP for alumna Signe Taylor ('94). We worked on a feature about female prison inmates and Ivy League students collaborating to write and perform an original play. I also made a "making of" doc for Bay Area filmmaker Barry Jenkins and so got a taste of narrative filmmaking. This spring I had my first opportunity to teach, in CUBA!  I taught two production classes, Photography and Documentary Video, with NYU Tisch's Study Abroad Program, and I also dedicated a lot of time to shooting my own photography and footage there.  And finally, the most wonderful update is that Peter Jordan ('08) and I are engaged and will soon be married!

Tanya Sleiman

In Spring 2011, Charlene Music ('09) and I were posted in Havana, Cuba with NYU Tisch School of the Arts Study Abroad.  I was the On-Site Program Director and taught a Cinema Studies course on the Essay Film.  On April, 2011, I screened a short from my current project Serious Play:  The Worlds of Helen Levitt at the Cantor Museum of Art in conjunction with the Cantor's "In a New York Minute" photographic exhibit of Helen Levitt.  In Summer 2011, I'll be teaching two courses at Brown University.  One is a new Cinema Studies course I launched there, called "Documentary Frontiers" and returning for the third summer to teach an intensive Documentary Production course.  I'm currently working on a feature-length film about Helen Levitt, to be released in 2012 or early 2013

Class of 2008

Evan Briggs

Tim O'Hara ('08) and I have had a project on Nursing in the works for close to two years now. We've decided to make it an online documentary piece and are working with the Washington State Nurses Association to get it up and running hopefully by the fall. They are funding us and will be hosting the website via their larger site. That's the most exciting thing we've been up to. We also seem to have carved a little niche for ourselves doing patient safety videos for physicians -- very glamorous! We've done a couple of other projects on a contract basis, including one for City Club of Seattle's 30th Anniversary Gala,  though we continue to be technically challenged (some things never change!)   Aaron and I had another baby two months ago so things are exponentially more crazy around here these days!

Emmanuel Dayan

I'm still based in Paris where I've had a quite full year teaching English Culture and Language to undergrad students in "Grandes Ecoles". I am also a fellow at the French National Filmschool ( Fémis) where I hope to finally complete my first feature length screenplay.  Documentarywise, I've been filming interview segments for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and have shown the long version of my spring film Looking for #150 (originally titled Song of a Sperm Donor) in a few European festivals.  I am also working on a new documentary which I will shoot in Ireland this summer. The film will approach the Irish Financial Crisis through one of its unexpected consequences : the surge in abandoned horses around Ireland's largest cities. This  film has led me to travel to the outskirts of Dublin to some of the poorest areas of Ireland. I have had incredible encounters, and am now editing a trailer.  Website soon to come into existence:

Kelcey Edwards

It's been another great year producing The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman, a documentary feature by director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (Going on 13) that explores how female strength is portrayed in popular culture. We have received some wonderful support as a documentary-in-progress, from industry, press, grants and crowdfunding. We were also selected to participate in this year's IFP Week's Spotlight on Docs. We are working on a rough cut, and, from production to post, we have had the pleasure of working with an all-star roster of stanford alumni, including Carla Guitiérrez ('04), Melanie Levy ('09), Meghan O'Hara ('09), Charlene Music ('09) and Theo Rigby ('10). Last year's production highlights included interviewing Gloria Steinem and Lynda Carter! I couldn't be more excited about how well the film is coming along (thank you everyone) and we hope to finish our fine cut next fall. I also continue my freelance work, and have recently had the opportunity to produce videos for some exciting organizations, including the National Institute for Reproductive Health. My most recent gigs have been working as an Associate Producer for Mai Iskander (Garbage Dreams), and working with Melanie Levy ('09) on her documentation of a documentary theater company. Balancing freelance producing with freelance directing, this past year I was commissioned to direct my first music video (American Graveyard's Common Ones) -- a video that went viral, receiving a quarter of a million hits on Youtube, and later aired on Country Music Television. I have also been commissioned to shoot and direct a series of artist portraits. Finally, I continue to run a film and photography program twice a week at a center for developmentally disabled adults in the Bronx, and am in the process of originating a similar program at a new center in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Mark, you are fabulous. (You should leave that in my bio, by the way).

Peter Jordan

This year I made a series of films in Guatemala about a woman who goes door to door promoting family planning in areas aggressively opposed to that idea. And my thesis film, The First Kid to Learn English from Mexico was broadcast on PBS Global Voices. I recently started working at Facebook as their first in-house filmmaker, and am excited to be producing documentaries about the billions of stories found within their pages. But the most exciting thing that happened this year is that I asked Charlene Music ('09) to marry me and she said yes :)

John Kane

In January, I started shooting a personal project about a musical prodigy – a nine year old Uzbek-American jazz drummer – and his family; I will return to shoot more material this summer. On the home front, I have been working primarily as an editor, and have had the good fortune to collaborate with several bay area alumni: I have worked with Tanya Sleiman (‘09) on her film about the New York street photographer Helen Levitt, and with Emile Bokaer ('10) on a film about a lapsed Mormon who returns to Guatemala 25 years after being a missionary there. I have also edited a number of corporate projects for clients including ESPN and Corona. Many of the projects I have edited have been at least partially Spanish-language, and I have been thrilled to be able to maintain my language skills through filmmaking. If you have a project that needs editing in English and/or Spanish, drop me a line.
I am sharing a studio space in the Dog Patch neighborhood of San Francisco with Theo Rigby ('10), Jason Sussberg ('10), Anthony Weeks ('10), Emile Bokaer ('10), Nick Berger (’08), and Ryan Malloy (‘11). It’s a real privilege to be surrounded by such talented folks.
In my personal life, I recently got engaged,  have moved back to San Francisco, and  got a chocolate lab puppy named Bear.

Tim O'Hara

I have a few projects in the works, but nothing really to announce.  I'm teaching at the Seattle Film Institute.  I'm happy to talk with anyone interested in what's going on filmwise here in Washington state.

Class of 2006

Kathy Huang

I recently completed my first feature, Tales of the Waria. The ITVS co-production follows a community of transgender women as they search for love and acceptance in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country. The film was beautifully edited by Carla Gutierrez ('04) and premiered at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival this past March. We flew one of our film subjects to the screening where she was greeted with much love and adoration. For photos and festival updates, please visit:
In other exciting news, I've finally stopped crying wolf and am moving from LA to New York this summer. I'm excited to meet all of the New York-based alum!

Erin Hudson

I'm now a core artist with the community arts nonprofit, Littleglobe, and am directing a documentary in collaboration with high school students across the state of New Mexico.  The finished film will be portraits of 5-7 students as they navigate their last two years of high school and graduate in 2012, New Mexico's centennial year.  This film serves as a pilot project for the program we're developing, Turn the Lens, which provides filmmaking opportunities to individuals and communities around New Mexico and the southwest.  In addition to traveling around New Mexico with a truck full of filmmaking equipment, I'm engaged and excited to get married this summer!,   

Revere La Noue

I married Biz [Elisabeth Haviland James ('03)], we bought a beautiful sunny house, and my dog learned to catch a lacrosse ball.  My art business, The Mascot Gallery (, is going well.  This year, we had over 10,000 people visit my studio/gallery.  We sold prints to collectors in 45 states and several overseas. There is something downright cozy about knowing that such a vast array of people chose to hang my art in their homes.  Each print comes with an artist statement and historical summary, so really they are like “single frame” documentaries.  I am exploring several non-fiction projects and am eager to use my new fundraising and marketing experience.  I have enjoyed doing some creative consulting, especially helping filmmakers find visual solutions to narrative needs.  It was great to visit with so many Stanford alumni with work in Full Frame and Tribecca - if the world only knew!

Class of 2005

Davina Pardo

I recently finished my film Minka (, a short doc about a farmhouse in Japan. I was lucky to have Lila Place ('05) edit the film, Liam Dalzell ('04) shoot additional camera, and feedback/critiques from every single person from the class of '05 and a few from '06 and '04, too! We recently screened at True/False, Full Frame, and Hot Docs, and I've loved running into fellow Stanford grads on the festival circuit. This year I also joined Leah Wolchok ('05) to produce Very Semi-Serious, her film about New Yorker cartoonists, which recently received a grant from Tribeca/HBO. I spend the rest of my time with my 20-month-old Phoebe, who enjoyed meeting Mike Seely's ('05) son Deco a few months ago. Miss everyone!

Lila Place

It's been another good busy year living in Brooklyn where I continue to work as a film editor.  I'm currently finishing up a feature documentary called Ipuina Kontatu about basque identity and still work on and off for the United Nations.  I'm proud that two of the films I worked on, Minka  (Dir: Davina Pardo '05), which I edited, and Take Me Away Fast (Dir: Leigh Iacobucci '06), which I helped edit, are doing the festival circuit.   My husband and I are still going back and forth between the US and Sardinia, where Katherine Leggett ('05) joined us for a great visit last year and will do so again this spring!

Mike Seely

We just returned to Berkeley after a nine-month stay living in Lodz, Poland where I shot two short documentary portraits as part of a Fulbright scholarship. It was a fascinating experience, and I am currently editing the films.  I am continuing my work freelancing as a producer/DP, while working to distribute my film The Most Distant Places educationally through New Day Films.

Leah Wolchok

It's been quite an eventful spring in SF.  In March, Pete and I welcomed our second boy, Cyrus (Cy) into our lives.  Just a few weeks later, the Tribeca Film Institute announced that my first feature documentary, Very Semi-Serious, was awarded a TFI/HBO Documentary Fellowship. Crazy timing but amazing news. Thankfully my dear friend, the uber talented Davina Pardo ('05), has joined the team as producer and we plan to resume shooting this fall (when I will hopefully be getting more sleep!).

Class of 2004

Sally Rubin

I am currently a documentary film professor at Chapman University. My most recent feature documentary, Deep Down: a story from the heart of coal country, was funded by ITVS and aired on Independent Lens in November, and had a national screening campaign as part of IL's Community Cinema. The film is part of the 2011 UFVA American Documentary Showcase, an initiative through the US State Department to bring films about American culture to every country that has a US embassy. The film was featured in the Bali Institute for Global Social Change in April, and will be at Sheffield in June. For more about Deep Down visit: I'm also currently freelance editing in Los Angeles, and beginning my next film project about youth on the US/Mexico border with my film partner, BAVC's Jen Gilomen. I'm also shooting in North Dakota on David Sutherland's new film for Frontline, Kind-Hearted Woman, and creating a behind the scenes piece about the film for ITVS. I'm thrilled to be a part of the LA women's documentary filmmaker group, the "Shuttergrrlz", with fellow Stanford-doc'ettes Laleh Soomekh ('01) , Kathy Huang ('06), Marisa Pearl ('04) and Mina T.Son ('11). Our motto is: "LA Shuttergrrlz: real films by reel women"!

Melba Williams

It's been a long time, everyone!  I’ve been back in my hometown of Nashville, TN since ’07, where I’ve been teaching Digital Cinematography and Documentary (now full-time) at the Art Institute of TN.  I’ve produced a handful of videos for non-profits here and in ’09 I edited a short narrative Entertainer’s Eulogy.  I’m also in the Adult Continuing Education program on raising a boy – Ayodele’s going to the first grade!  If you ever come to Nashville, please get in touch.

Class of 2003

Elisabeth Haviland James

For the last year I've been fully immersed in The Loving Story, which was launched this April at Full Frame and Tribeca, and is now headed to festivals around the world.  I served as both the producer and editor of the film, which was a true test of my sanity -  but I'm very happy that it has been so well received.  We have an HBO broadcast lined up for February 2012 and will be doing an extensive outreach campaign in the interim, so that ought to keep me pretty occupied in the coming months. Once again Full Frame brought many alumnae to Durham this year - seeing them (and their amazing films) was a real treat, and I hope it becomes an annual pilgrimage. On a more personal note, Revere La Noue ('06) and I were married last June on a goat farm in North Carolina.  Along with our dog Veruka, we have made our home in Durham, which has a small-but-burgeoning art and film scene.  I am especially happy that Ashley Tindall ('06) has settled in nearby Chapel Hill, immediately upping the quality of the local filmmaker population.  Revere and I are starting a new project on international falconry, hoping to film in UAE, Kazahkstan, Morocco and other fabulous locations in the next year... If you would like to keep up with our adventures or my other projects in development you can do so on my website:

Class of 2002

Adam Burgess

After success with the Odyssey Driving Around the World series airing worldwide on the National Geographic Channel, DirecTV 101 Network, OLN, Extreme Sports Channel, Drive TV and the Israeli Travel Channel, my production company Burgess Productions is now independently producing another on-going series.  Season one "Trabant Trek" follows seven people as they drive three plastic cars half-way across the world.  Season two "Wreck Trek" was filmed last summer and follows six people as they drive from Berlin to Capetown S. Africa in junkyard cars bought for a pittance. "Trabant Trek" will be airing worldwide internationally with the UK Travel Channel with other possibilities in negotiation.  The series are on their way back from MIPTV and interest is brewing.  Burgess Productions also has a list of other productions in development.

Thomas Burns

I returned last fall from a year-long Fulbright Fellowship in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, where I produced a collection of large-scale photographs about the post-Soviet condition in the South Caucasus ( While overseas I also hosted cinematography workshops and full film production courses for university students and industry professionals, and designed the first-ever photography curriculum at the Baku Slavic University in Azerbaijan. An exhibition of my photography work opened at the Georgian History Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia, last November.  All in all it was a productive year. 
I'm now back in Los Angeles continuing my work as a cinematographer. I recently wrapped principal photography on a dramatic piece for director Peter Yu and have begun prepping a project for Irish filmmaker Jesse Jones that was commissioned by the Redcat Gallery in Los Angeles. In non-film news, I am engaged to be married this fall. 
It's always a pleasure to hear from other doc program grads, and I love speaking with recent or soon-to-be alumni about life after film school.

Michelle Cabalu Zaslav

I'm working as an Assistant Editor at Dreamworks Animation for the movie Puss In Boots coming out in November.     

Dave Kneebone

The last year has been the busiest I can remember since I left the sub-basement. LA is still treating me pretty well. I’ve been producing a new series for Comedy Central called Jon Benjamin Has a Van for the past several months. It’ll premiere on June 15th at 10:30pm. In that same time, I produced a film called Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie which we’re editing now. It features the talents of Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Zach Galifiankis, John C. Reilly and a whole bunch of other people who were cool enough to pitch in. It’s being distributed by Magnolia Pictures, and should be in theaters early next year. 
Over the next three or four months our company, Abso Lutely Productions, will be producing four new pilots for IFC, FX, Comedy Central and Adult Swim. So... things have been hectic on the work end. What really keeps me busy though is my son Eli (‘37). He’s now eight months old and is crawling, drooling and generally charming the world into submission. Also, my wife Casi and I have planted some cherry tomatoes. Those are coming along nicely.

Class of 2001

Greta Nash

I'm the Assessment and Categorical Programs Manager at Alameda County Office of Education.

Isabel Sadurni

Big thank you to New York Foundation for the Arts from whom I received an NYFA Opportunity Grant to support research and development for a narrative film about Muslim Hindu tensions within the youth culture of modern-day Mumbai. I'm planning to begin rewrites in India in September.  Consultants to the film include Dinaz Stafford, Executive Producer of Mira Nair's upcoming The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Sooni Tarapavela, screenwriter for The Namesake and Salaam Bombay!  I'm also producing a feature doc on dance as a catalyst for change featuring the legendary Kentfield-based Anna Halprin and New York-based Heidi Latsky Dance. Namaste.

Class of 2000

Anne Alvergue

I'm contributing editor along with Kristen Nutile ('00) of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (winner of Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2011). Currently, I'm cutting Once Upon Pilobolus about the Pilobolus dance company, shot by Stanford alum Justin Schein ('94), with sound recording by alum Judy Karp ('82).

Purcell Carson

I've had the pleasure of seeing two projects I edited premiere this Spring.   Semper Fi: Always Faithful, directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.  It reveals the story of water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and follows the journey of a retired drill sargeant who is is seeking justice for the victims.  The film was runner-up for the audience award and I was thrilled to win for best documentary editing.   How to Grow a Band, Mark Meatto's coming-of-age story about bluegrass musician Chris Thile premiered at the Nashville Film Festival and is beginning its life in the music documentary world. With those projects behind me, I'm turning my attention back to my own documentary about the banana industry, which is being wonderfully (and patiently) shot by Hope Hall ('00).  

Blair Foster

For the past three and half years I've been the Supervising Producer on George Harrison: Living in the Material World a documentary Martin Scorsese directed about George Harrison. It will be released this Fall. 

hope hall

i have just accepted a job offer as the official white house videographer, effective may 31st!
i am happy and healthy in brooklyn, still working mostly as a cinematographer and balancing out the verite, social justice projects with shooting live music shows and music videos. i continue to really enjoy working alongside wonderful classmates purcell carson ('00) , sadia shepard ('00), and gabe rhodes ('00), and recently started working with the fantastic ben wu ('06). last fall i had my first solo exhibition of photos and video along with a two month residency in norway. i made several follow-up pieces to a film i made at stanford, this is for betsy hall, and have slowly started showing them in galleries (once alongside, and thanks to, classmate anne alvergue ('00)) and have a few screenings at upcoming film festivals. i recently shot the launch video for obama's reelection campaign. it was a lovely reentry into the political world after a solid two years of recovery from working on obama's campaign and transition teams. i have been teaching more, recently, and have particularly enjoyed watching students' faces contort and then light up with comprehension when i illustrate on the board the hot/cold sound/picture concept that i learned while at stanford.  thanks and happy sabbatical, jan!

Kristen Nutile

I recently finished editing Unfinished Spaces, which will be premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June. And we welcomed our baby Boy, Theo in November.

Sadia Shepard

In July of 2010, I got married to cinematographer Andreas Burgess at my parents home in Massachusetts and was delighted to be accompanied down the aisle by bridesmaids Hope Hall ('00) and Purcell Carson ('00). On the work front, I continue to divide my time between producing and writing. I spent last fall in Detroit, MI producing a feature-length documentary with Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp), and published articles in Wall Street Journal Magazine, Vogue India and The Forward. I continue to enjoy teaching and speaking, most recently at the Wesleyan Writers Conference and the Karachi Literature Festival. Andreas and I just returned to New York City from three very chaotic and fascinating months in Pakistan, where we are making a series of short documentaries. 

Joanne Shen

I'm a producer with Current TV's Vanguard series, an investigative documentary series. We're coming up on our fifth season which premieres June 20th.  I recently returned from filming in China for one of the upcoming shows about the illegal trade in tiger parts which will air July 25. In the last 4 years, I've covered diverse topics--from Japan's love affair with robots to the epidemic level of sexual assaults taking place of Native American reservations. 
On a personal front, I'm a newish mom--Max is 9 months old and very cute in my totally unbiased opinion. He says, "blabba blah gah goo" to everyone. 

Lauren Popell Velasco

This summer will mark the beginning of my 12th year on faculty in Communication Studies at Foothill College, my 10th year of marriage and 5th year of motherhood. With all that consistency, life is anything but routine! The vibrant Bay Area is a wonderful place to call home.

Class of 1999

Chris Jenkins

My latest films have been focused on East Africa and organizations that do great work there. I was fortunate to have Oprah Winfrey narrate CAFWA, a short doc about women victims of the conflict in northern Uganda, and I'm currently finishing a documentary about South Sudan. For nearly three years now I've been teaching production courses in the Film & Media Studies department at UC Santa Barbara. Like Stanford, UCSB has a 16mm tradition and one highlight has been giving students the opportunity to shoot with the original Wild Kingdom cameras, which were given to me by wildlife duo Warren & Genny Garst, two of my best friends from Wyoming.
Hello to all friends from years past. 

Brett Schwartz

I'm pleased to report that my latest film, Mashed Media will be airing on Chicago PBS, WTTW-11 on the evening of May 26th in its television debut.  Over the past two years, I wrote, directed, produced, shot, and edited the one-hour doc.-- I basically did everything except the score...  Here's the synopsis:
From the front lines of the bankrupt Chicago Tribune, to the vibrant local online publishing and start-up scene, pioneering journalists struggle to reinvent a storied, yet troubled industry. In Mashed Media, we visit bloggers, independent publishers, hacker journalists, and social media mavens working in the trenches of Chicago, providing a rare and intimate look at the future of journalism now. 
After the initial airings, I will look toward distribution and additional screenings.  On a personal front, we're loving our new house in Highland Park, IL.  Our son, Jonah is going into first grade next year and our daughter, Maya will finish her last year of pre-school. My wife, Aviva is busy along with me, navigating work, parenting, and everything else.  We'll be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary in June.

Vanessa Warheit

I am back in the Bay Area again, living in San Jose and teaching film part-time in San Francisco at the Lycee Francais La Perouse. I will be representing New Day Films (the distribution collective that is selling my film The Insular Empire) at this year's National Media Market. I'm also continuing research for NVIDIA on a documentary about high performance computing for earth and climate science. And the thing I'm really looking forward to is a month-long trip to Nicaragua this summer with my 6-year-old son! 

Class of 1998

Laura Almo

I am taking a semester off from teaching Editing at El Camino College [due to California State budget cuts]. I am using the time to develop training materials for the International Center for Transitional Justice, an NGO that supports societies in transition after massive human rights violations. I am adapting documentary interviewing techniques for use in truth commissions. I am also finishing a writing/film project about Prague twenty years after the revolution of 1989.
I continue to consult for the Sundance Documentary Film Program, and write for the Editors Guild and IDA Magazines.  And I have a 4 1/2 year old son.

Tony Sehgal

I've been working at Oracle in Redwood Shores, CA for two years now managing their live corporate webcasting projects and other online media technologies. It's been challenging and exciting. We just completed a major studio upgrade to full HD. I'm finding my creative outlet through photography and short video projects now. HDR photography is something I've been working with a lot lately and I'm really enjoying the process.

Will Zavala

As of this summer, I’m an Associate Professor at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  I’m excited to attend this year’s Flaherty Seminar as a Fellow.  I’m still trying to get a long-form documentary made, though my son Nate (9) and daughter Solange (6) could care less.

Class of 1997

David Mehlman

I am currently finishing up editing Paradise Lost 3, a feature documentary that is the latest (and hopefully final) chapter in the story of the 1993 murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, and the ongoing trials of the three teenage boys who were convicted with no solid evidence. Also in the past year or so I edited another feature doc, My So Called Enemy, which was shot by Justin Schein ('94) and Cynthia Wade ('95). It follows six Palestinian and Israeli girls who meet at a peace camp in NJ in 2002, and tracks their experiences and relationships over the next seven years. I also edited two episodes of Iconoclasts for the Sundance Channel: David Blaine + Chuck Close, and Cate Blanchett +Tim Flannery; two episodes of Dean of Invention for Discovery/Planet Green, a science/technology series with inventor Dean Kamen; a David Blaine Magic Special; and an episode of The IFC Media Project about fear, the Tea Party and Fox News.

Johnny Symons

One of the highlights of the last year was being invited, along with several of the activists profiled in my film Ask Not, to attend President Obama’s signing ceremony repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  As documentarians, we’re all trying to make films that help change the world – it’s amazing and quite moving when that change actually happens, and we’re lucky enough to witness it.  More details are at this PBS blog: . I’m now starting work on a new doc about LGBT activists who take the risky step of becoming politicians in conservative parts of the developing world.  I’m continuing to teach documentary production and history in several Bay Area film programs, including Univ of San Francisco, the Art Institute of CA-SF, and last but certainly not least, Stanford.  And I’m wrapping up a two-year stint as co-chair of the Steering Committee at New Day Films, where 14 Stanford alums are now distributing their films.

Class of 1996

Mark Becker

I am currently developing a couple of new documentaries of my own, and I’m planning to let them compete for my attention in the hopes that one will be good. I’m producing another documentary with a friend about a bipolar author on a manic book tour. A documentary that I edited (Circo) is in the middle of its theatrical run. Elevate, another documentary that I cut, premiered at SXSW, won Dallas, and will be at LAFF in June.

Charlotte Lagarde

This is a year of many changes. After 25 years in California, I moved to NY and I am going back to directing with a film on composer-pianist, AIDS activist Fred Hersch ( My co-director/producer is Carrie Lozano (Weather Underground, Reporter Zero) and our cinematographer is Stanford Alum Andy Schocken ('04). The last film I produced, Deann Borshay Liem's In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee was on POV in September.

Class of 1995

Beth Cohen

Hi everyone!  I continue to work at PopTech where I produce our multimedia stories about people, projects and ideas that are making positive change in the world.  We have offices in Brooklyn, NY and in Camden, Maine.  One of the most satisfying parts of my job is the opportunity to document the projects with which we're involved.  I've just returned from Haiti where we're producing a story about an innovative emergency response system involving technology and volunteers during the earthquake.  I still live in tiny coastal Camden where Kevin and I are raising our two boys (well, except that one of them decided that tiny coastal Camden wasn't where he wanted to go to high school so he's actually back in California at Thacher ... which is great ... sigh). I still miss Stanford and the Bay Area a lot, but I can honestly say that the work I'm doing is incredibly satisfying and I wouldn't be doing this without Jan, Kris and Mark's amazingness.

Ramona Diaz

íI just finished a film that will be on POV on September 20th, please watch it, it's called The Learning (one of the main DPs was alum Gretchen Hildebran ('05)).  And I Executive Produced a film, Give Up Tomorrow, which just won the Audience Award at Tribeca.  And if you're going to be in Silverdocs, I'll be there with both films.  Come say hello.
Right now, I am in post-production on Don't Stop Believin':  Everyman's Journey (  We've wrapped and are cutting; we should be done by the end of the year.  I've also started development on Pacific Rims, based on the book by Rafe Bartholomew. The film's about looking at a nation's character through their obsession with basketball.

Laura Harrison

The big news in my life is that after ten years (off and on) of labor, I have finally completed my documentary about Ant Farm, the radical 1970s architecture collective. The road has been long and fraught with challenges and peril...the usual stuff I guess, money being the biggest one, needless to say. (Although in the end, my grantwriting skills proved most useful as we got every single one of the six grants we applied for!) Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival last fall, and we have been accompanying the film to various festivals here and abroad ever since. ( for other upcoming screenings. We will likely screen in Berkeley soon too.) Had an interesting time at Docs for Sale at IDFA (my first time there), among many others. We won a Cine Golden Eagle award, and have some European broadcasters who are interested in the short term. Now, we are embarking on self-distributing the film in the old school way...should be interesting to see how things may or may not have changed since 2005, when Charlotte Lagarde ('96) and I were self-distributing our doc Voting in America. For various reasons, doing it ourselves just makes the most sense in this scenario, even though it will be a pile of work. Still, it would be nice to actually see a few dollars come back after so many unpaid hours of my own time (I edited the film myself) on this epic journey! 
Otherwise, I still live in Houston with my (now 15-year-old) daughter Luisa. I'm about to get married to a Canadian sailor, with whom I have a crazy but cool idea for a documentary project involving sailing across the Northwest Passage. I love a good adventure with my filmmaking! And, I'm helping to run an amazing Study Centre for the Arts and Humanities in Italy (well, running it remotely that is!). . These very competitive residencies are awarded (after a fairly straightforward application process) to artists and scholars from around the world who have demonstrated significant achievement in their field, commensurate with age and experience. Filmmakers are definitely invited to apply. So for those of you who have been working for several years (students cannot apply) and might benefit from a month in Italy in paradise (literally) where you are free to work and have all your cares attended to... and if, most importantly, you enjoy and thrive on a very intellectally compelling international mulit-lingual environment, then please check us out. 
And, if any of my old buddies are ever in my neck of the woods, do give me a heads-up!

Nancy Kates

I'm hard at work on the feature-length doc Regarding Susan Sontag, and am pleased to be working with fellow Documentary Program alum Rachel Antell ('01). We are heading into the editing phase after some interesting shoots and a long slog of fundraising, including recent grants from the California Council for the Humanities and the NEA. I live and work in is good.

Tamsin Orion

The most exciting things happening in my life have to do with family building -- I got married to Christ Surunis in Oct. 2010, and gave birth to Teo Orion in July 2010. In my mid 40s, I probably deserve an award for oldest new mother, at LEAST in our program. Motherhood is amazing and inspiring.
I've been co-producing and directing & shooting Godfather of Folk, a documentary on Izzy Young -- producer of Bob Dylan's first New York concert in 1960, and founder of the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village.  We're moving into intensive fundraising and post-production this summer.
A documentary film that I shot in 2009, Finding Nico, is making the rounds to film festivals currently.
And otherwise, I keep busy promoting nonprofits, marketing corporations, and educating people who want to learn, using short film.

Cynthia Wade

My documentary short Born Sweet, which proflies a karaoke-singing Cambodian boy ill from arsenic poisoning (, won 15 festival awards in the past year, including at Sundance, Aspen, Palm Springs, Newport and Boston Festivals.  My short documentary Freeheld ( is being developed into a fictionalized feature film with Double Feature Films and Endgame Entertainment.  The script is being written by Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) and stars Ellen Page.  My feature-length documentary Living the Legacy, about the Milton Hershey School (for low-income, at risk children in Hershey PA) has been airing on the Sundance and IFC Channels for the past six months.  I am currently directing a new film for HBO and directing doc-style commercials.  I recently served on the Grand Jury at the Full Frame Documentary Festival which was a great opportunity to see some wonderful new work.
My husband and I decided not to settle in Los Angeles yet, but instead moved our children to Western Massachusetts.  I’m working out of a converted barn (I also keep a small NYC “annex” office for the city jobs).  We live on a rural road with cows and llamas, and spent our free time skiing, snowshoeing, biking and hiking.  One of our daughters attends a one-room schoolhouse and has learned how to felt, knit and collect sap.  The “Laura Ingalls” in me is living on!

Class of 1994

Amitabh Ashesh

I have an independent video production unit in Bangalore and my films are mostly about science and technology, entrepreneurship and social relevance of featured projects. It is enriching to interact with leading scientists and see how their work shapes aspects of national life.  Incidentally, weather in Bangalore is nice, as in California, and although trees are disappearing there are still many left.

Ferne Pearlstein and Robert Edwards ('96) 

We proudly welcomed our latest co-production, Eloise "Lola" Margot, on Feb. 4th. 

Signe Taylor

After five years in the making, I finally finished Circus Dreams, a feature documentary about the only traveling youth circus in the United States. It premiered at SPROCKETS Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth as their closing night film, where it received a Youth Jury Award. It also played to sold out crowds at Sarasota Film Festival, to a packed house at Boston International Film Festival and will soon show at Seattle International Film Festival. After years of working on it alone in my Vermont basement, it's wonderful to share the doc with audiences. If you have kids in the teen and tween age, I hope you'll bring them to a screening! I keep a relatively updated list on our web site: Circus Dreams was filmed by the talented Erin Hudson ('06), and I want to share that many viewers have raved about her shooting. Last summer, I also shot a new documentary Telling My Story, about a Dartmouth College class that brings students into a local jail to work with female prisoners on writing and performing a play grounded in the lives of the incarcerated women. This was beautifully shot by Charlene Music ('09). I'm now fundraising for post-production funding, and keeping my fingers crossed that Telling My Story won't take quite as long as Circus Dreams!

Class of 1992

Eva Ilona Brzeski

I work as a free-lance producer, director and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.   I edited the acclaimed documentary feature Under Our Skin which was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2010, and am currently developing a new project Kindness the Movie (  My work can be found online at  I also teach Buddhist meditation in the Bay Area (

Class of 1991

Mona Lynch

I am a professor of Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine, where I moved in 2008 after 10 years as a professor at San Jose State. I no longer work in film, and instead publish academic writing in the area of American punishment culture, politics, and practices. My book, "Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment" (, was published with Stanford University Press at the end of 2009. The book looks at the historical development of harsh punishment in Arizona as a window into contemporary American punitiveness.

Berry Minott

I'm currently working on a documentary about neurodegenerative diseases. The film covers a decades old search for the cause of a rare neurological disease that may hold the key to breakthrough cures for similar neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The film tells the story of the extraordinary quest by some of the best medical minds in our era to find the cause of “lytico-bodig” a neurological disease that was at epidemic levels in the 1950s among the Chamorro people from the island of Guam.

Class of 1989

Camilla Calamandrei

Hi All!  Over the last year I spent several months producing and directing live action for two great Henson/PBS kid's shows  Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train.  Family concerns took up the rest of my time so The Tiger Next Door was left on the shelf with no distribution assistance from me. I have started doing some very preliminary work on a short personal documentary about my father who passed away very suddenly last July, but I don't know what will ultimately happen with that. David, Marcello and I are moving back into New York City this summer. My email will stay the same.

Pam Walton and Ruth Carranza ('86)

This year we’ve continued work on Ruth’s two newest films about cutting edge technologies: MEMS and An Introduction to Nanotechnology. We’ve enjoyed the benefits of full funding from the National Science Foundation and released MEMS last year. We’ll release Nanotech this fall. Over the next couple years Ruth plans a 3rd edition of her thesis film, Silicon Run, which is now 25 years old and still selling very well despite its dated content. We’ve been blessed with Meghan O’Hara ('09), fresh out of the documentary MFA program, who’s working for us on everything from computers to production assistance to film budgets. Our short documentary, Raging Grannies: The Action League, has been broadcast on Free Speech TV and was a finalist in San Jose’s CreaTiVe Awards in 2011. We’ve discovered email marketing and are delighted that the Grannies and MEMS are selling every month to college courses in Women’s Studies and Electrical Engineering. (What a combination!) We’re also in mid-production with an educational DVD about older women making art, which will be completed in three 15-minute modules and will find a home in ceramics, painting, and writing courses. For the last year we’ve made one of our dreams come true: we’ve set up our video business in the other half of our duplex and can’t believe what a luxury it is to have all this space. We’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary together this October. Hello and best wishes to everyone.

Class of 1986

Jane Wagner & Tina DiFeliciantonio ('87)

During the past year, we’ve had the pleasure on working on a variety of projects.  One was based in Abu Dhabi and was about green energy.  During production we met inspirational folks from around the world who pour their lives into the field of sustainable energy.  During production we traveled to India, Bangladesh, Japan, Australia and China.  Our current project, entitled Seeking Refuge, is about the survivors of foreign torture who seek refuge and healing in the US.  We are also Consulting Producers on the Wide Angle PBS series, Women, War and Peace; an indie doc entitled Reject, which is about rejection and shame; and, Joe Papp In Five Acts, which will be broadcast on American Masters.  Our endless work-in-progress is our 8 year-old son Luca.  (If only he’d stop reorganizing the apps on our iPhones!)  Lastly, our most challenging work revolves around a rescue dog Cowboy, who came to us with all sorts of problems—both mind and body—but we love him dearly!  We wish everyone good health, peace and the best of luck with their projects.  

Class of 1985

Andrea Butter

By now I've been running my small company for well over two years and have settled into a sort-of routine of going to tradeshows and visiting suppliers in Asia in the spring.  This year I went to India, Vietnam, and the Philippines for the first time.  Since I am not there as a tourist, and not as a big shot corporate business traveler, meeting "real" locals, not hotel staff and tour guides, is one of the big joys of these trips.  The struggle of running my own small company is the constant pull between big picture strategy and tiny but necessary details that take up way more time than I want to give them.  In my corporate years, there was staff for that ....  You can see some of the fruits of my labor at and

Class of 1984

Becky Smith

Last year I mentioned taking my first feature 16 to Life ( to film festivals around the world. We won "Best Feature" at nine festivals.   We had a theatrical release last fall and Warner Brothers is our distributor for VOD, Direct Download, etc.  We thought our festival journey was over - but we'll be in Murmansk, Russia - Armenia - and Spain with the film this spring and summer.  I've written two new features - and hope to have one in production by the end of the year.  I was shadowing director on The Closer this last fall, and will be shadowing another show this summer, with the goal of getting a scripted television directing gig.  I continue to run the First Year Graduate Directing Program at UCLA - and my heart continues to be with the Stanford Women's Basketball Team over all other teams.  

Kim Bromley

In recent years I've gone back to film production work on a free-lance basis and have worked on some some interesting projects in the bay area. Most notably I co-produced the film portion of Berkeley Repertory Theater's The Composer Is Dead, which was rollicking fun with marionettes.  I'm currently working on an exhibit for the upcoming Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

Class of 1983

Joanne Hershfield

My most recent film, These Are Our Children, was awarded first place in the documentary features category at the Athens International Film and Video Festival, April 2011.

Maggie Stogner

I am growing my production company Blue Bear Films (  specializing in design and production of immersive, interactive, and integrated film, video, soundscapes, and 2D/3D animation, for museum exhibitions.   It's really fun working with experiential multi-media to draw visitors "inside" the story. Recent projects include "Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology" which just opened at the Montreal Science Center, "Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds" for the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler Galleries, and  "Ancient Treasure Ships, from Arabia to China" that is a 3,000 square foot self-contained exhibit designed to travel to Asia's mega malls.

Class of 1982

Lauren Cardillo

I have hit the road recently with the Today show producing three segments with Jane Pauley and AARP about changing your life when you hit 50. So far we've visited with a chocolate maker, acupuncturist and, this weekend, a  ellowstone tour guide. I've also just finished a doc about trial lawyers, and am fundraising for two more -- one about our war dead, and the other, the children of 9/11. When not working, I'm renovating a house we inherited on Cape Cod, and hanging out with the two most wonderful daughters on the planet.

Anne Makepeace

My new film, We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân, is now making the festival rounds, and will air on Independent Lens on November 15th.  It's screening next at Telluride MountainFilm (Memorial Day Weekend), then Beel voor Beeld in Amsterdam and many others,  In April, the film won the Full Frame Inspiration Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and screened May 3rd at the Stranger than Fiction series at the IFC Theater in NYC.  The documentary features Wampanoag linguist and recent MacArthur 'genius' award winner Jessie Little Doe Baird, and tells the unprecedented story of the Wampanoag Indians of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard bringing back their language, the first time a language with no speakers for a century has been brought back as a living language in a Native American community. We Still Live Here was funded by Sundance, ITVS, NSF, Guggenheim, the Radcliffe Institute, LEF, Mass Humanities et al and will air on PBS in November.  To see a trailer, clips, screening information and more, please click on Makepeace Productions.

Class of 1976

Jon Else

I executive produced and did some of the shooting on Actual Films feature documentary The Island President. Just completed camera work on a new film about water directed by Jessica Yu, & am still running the graduate documentary program at Berkeley.

Class of 1974

Bonnie MacBird
I'm currently songwriting in Los Angeles with partner Tom Rizzo.  "THEY ARE WHY WE SING", is the title song for an album being prepared for Save the Children.  I continue to teach Screenwriting at UCLA Extension, serving on the board of Stanford in Entertainment, am on the editorial staff of FOOTLIGHTS,  holding concerts and playreadings at my home, and writing regularly for stage, screen, and print. In my spare time, I'm enjoying a return to working in figurative watercolors. 

Class of 1973

Judy Irving 
I’m continuing work on Pelican Dreams (see web site for details), helped along by the loan of a Phantom Gold Camera from Vision Research, with which we shot a slow-motion “dream” sequence of pelicans diving in silhouette against a pink dusk sky in the Channel Islands. I’m now following three individual pelicans: Gigi, who was “taken into custody” on the Golden Gate Bridge; Pardito, a feisty youngster learning to behave so he can make the rounds of elementary schools with his WildCare trainer; and Morro, a backyard pelican whose friends are a duck and a goose, and who likes to sit on the chaise lounge. Do pelicans dream? How well can humans “know” a wild animal? Wildlife rehabilitator, fisherman, biologist, surfer: each has a different perception of the mysterious, comical, graceful soaring dinosaurs skimming our waves. Pelican Dreams is another multi-year documentary project, like The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. If you have any great pelican stories, photos, or funding for this nonprofit movie, please be in touch:

Brian Minielly

I currently live in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada where I've been for the last 25 years. My film and video skills were used a bit as part of a community change process, but mostly in support of my work as an instructional designer.

Class of 1970

Art Eisenson

I have been a lead named plaintiff and a member of the Plaintiffs' Liaison Committee in a series of Writers Class Action Employment Discrimination suits. I am limited by the terms of a settlement agreement in what I can say about it. However, if our classmates read major newspapers in the U.S, they will have seen articles and published legal notice about the settlements. A FAQ about those suits and settlements can be found at The fact that only the federal government has ever taken on or gotten a settlement from the entertainment industry may be of interest to attorneys, historians, or people who like bar bets. What is more significant, finally, is that we hope to address what is effectively a truncation of American popular narrative, in the form of TV fiction. The experiences of generations much over forty are simply not there in proportion to our numbers. We hope now to help people make sense of our lives by giving older writers the opportunities to tell the stories use to tell our truths and ask our questions. It's been an education about law and the way the law business is done in the U.S. To borrow a term from my profession as a screen and TV writer, we owe ourselves a rewrite.

Class of 1969

Dick Enersen

I was on campus recently for lunch with Kris Samuelson ('73) and the winners of our 2010 "Paper Film Festival."  Each year since 1999, The Enersen Foundation has conducted a competition based on the thesis proposals of the MFA candidates. Our jury, composed of filmmakers and TEF Board members, awards points to each proposal based on interest, style and "do ability," with cash awards made to the top three point getters. This year's awards, presented in February, totaled $7,500. It's interesting to see the finished projects at the June screening, and to compare them to their proposals. If any alumni are interested in supporting graduate students in this way, by contributing funds (tax deductible) and/or joining our jury, please let me know at

Class of 1965

Marijane Osborn

I have an article accepted for an anthology on John Steinbeck's politics, titled "Participatory Parables and Social Action: Steinbeck's Dilemma in his Mexican Stories." It is full of movie stuff, and here's a time-line summary of that aspect of it:
In 1938 Steinbeck worked on a documentary titled The Fight for Life about the plight of poor women in a maternity hospital in Chicago. Steinbeck was a researcher only, but he took the topic with him as he moved on. Right after receiving the Pulitzer Prize for "The Grapes of Wrath" in 1940, he went to Mexico and wrote and directed the semi-documentary about children dying of contaminated water in The Forgotten Village (released 1941), and both films fed into his later novella "The Pearl". When he began that famous story in 1944, Steinbeck intended it as a screenplay, finishing the script on 8/10/45; not long afterwards it was filmed in Mexico, in Spanish, as La Perla, released in 1947. Steinbeck always make sure you "see" the stories he tells, but "The Pearl" (as a prose work) is even more visual than usual -- and Steinbeck writes "movie music" into his text.  I don't know of any other work of fiction that contains obvious movie music. Later he extensively researched the revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata and wrote the screenplay for the truly wonderful film Viva Zapata! that was released in 1952.