Students in the Documentary Film and Video Program become conversant with the documentary tradition as well as with alternative media and new directions in documentary. In addition to the training in documentary production, graduates gain substantive research skills in film criticism and film analysis. The MFA degree is designed to prepare students for professional careers in film, video, and digital media, with the qualifications to teach at the university level.
Two recent thesis films from 2018 were featured in the New York Times’ OpDocs series. Nathan Reich’s Calving Season (a shortened version of his 2018 thesis film The Warming Shed) is a sensitive observational portrait of a Montana cattle ranch. Understated and poetic, the film chronicles a teenager's coming of age in this snowy landscape. Paloma Martinez’s timely film Sanctuary City Hotline (a shortened version of her Stanford thesis film Enforcement Hours), focuses on the grassroots resistance against ICE intimidation tactics in San Francisco. The film, featuring audio from a 24-hour hotline where residents report the presence of ICE, reflects a growing sense of fear and uncertainty in local communities. Paloma was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film Barna Szasz (’19) and Ellie Wen’s(’19) Winter quarter film Share, about a social media influencer coming out to his fans and family, screened at numerous festivals and was recently featured as part of The Guardian Documentaries series. The film is also screening theatrically in Los Angeles, in order to qualify for the upcoming awards season.