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2014 Documentary Film Alumni Newsletter


Jan Krawitz

In late February, we had a gala retirement part for Kris Samuelson -- held in the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery. Previous students from as far back 30 years mingled in the space which hosted a current exhibition by the MFA students in Studio Art. Her former professors, current colleagues, and graduate student alumni seized the opportunity to publicly and privately acknowledge the impact she has made on all of our lives. She will be missed in our "atelier" (a favorite expression of hers when describing our program).

Since the June premiere of my new feature documentary, Perfect Strangers, I've presented the film at a number of festivals including Big Sky, Heartland, Sebastopol, and SF DocFest, among others. A grant from the Fledgling Fund will allow me to implement an outreach and engagement campaign within the coming months. In March, I travelled for eight days on the Southern Circuit (sponsored by South Arts), showing the film to audiences in Louisiana and Georgia. Other interesting gigs have included conducting a half-day workshop for visiting Korean filmmakers and serving as a juror and panelist at several film festivals.
Alumni from our program continue to leave a significant imprint in the documentary world with work premiering at Full Frame, Hot Docs, Tribeca, and Mill Valley film festivals. And current students have had notable successes with their projects as noted on the Student Works section of our website.

Jamie Meltzer

I'm happy to report that I've been promoted to an Associate Professor with tenure, effective this coming September 1st! Thanks to the support of past and present students, Mark (Urbanek) and Christian (Gainsley), as well as Jan and Kris, who have provided immeasurable guidance and inspiration throughout these past seven years. Looking forward to many more years teaching in this amazing program. On the film front, I'm still in production on Freedom Fighters, a feature documentary film about a group of Dallas County exonerees who start an amateur detective agency to look into cases of possible wrongful conviction. Many former students have worked with me on the film, including Peter Jordan ('08), David Alvarado ('10), and Emile Bokaer ('10). Earlier this year we received support from the Sundance Institute and the MacArthur Foundation.

Kristine Samuelson ('73)

The last year has been one of the busiest ever, even though I had only a limited teaching schedule as part of the faculty retirement program.  John (Haptas) and I toured with Tokyo Waka to various international and domestic festivals, visiting places we'd never seen before.  We just returned from a festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which served as an opportunity to do some exploration of other parts of the country.  As well, we made a very short film last September as part of the Co-Laboratory Project of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, creating a film in one week in collaboration with a choreographer and two dancers.  Three projects were made last year:  all were filmed over two days at the Djerassi Artists' Residency Ranch in Woodside, then edited for three days, color graded, and screened at the end of the week at the SF Dance FF closing night.  We'd never done a project so quickly and found it to be perfect for the scale of the project.  The film, Barn Dance, was also selected for this year's San Francisco International Film Festival, and we've really seen some amazing films in the festival this past week, with more to come.

We just returned from New York, where we were at Tribeca for the world premiere of Regarding Susan Sontag, produced and directed by Nancy Kates ('95), co-produced by Rachel Antell ('01), and edited by John (Haptas).  The film won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the festival.  Also premiering were True Son, shot and directed by Kevin Gordon ('11), edited by Laura Green ('12) and supported by the efforts of at least a dozen Stanford alums.  What a thrill to be at the world premiere and see such an enthusiastic response from the audience!  We also saw 1971, an incredible documentary edited by Gabe Rhodes ('00).  
Next up, we're headed to Tokyo in a few weeks to finally have our Japanese premiere.  
Thank you to everyone who helped make my retirement party so special.  I'm not usually a person who likes to be the center of attention, but it was amazing to see alums from all through the years (including my very first class 31 years ago), current students, colleagues, and friends all gathered together.  I was deeply touched to see everyone and will always remember this fabulous sendoff.  I'll be back next Fall for one last quarter but you'll still see me at student screenings!


Mark Urbanek

After years of persistently nominating me, the faculty and staff collectively heaved a sigh of relief that their efforts paid off when it was announced I had received the Amy J. Blue Award. I am, to say the least, very honored and humbled by the entire experience.  A news article appeard in the Stanford News and the awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 21st.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing Mark Becker ('96)Bonni Cohen ('94) and Rachel Rosen ('94) at an event following the screening of Art and Craft in the the San Francisco Independent Film Festival (SFIFF).  I got to meet Judy Irving ('73) when her film The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill screened on Stanford's campus as part of the Stanford Environmental Humanities Project presents "Animals in the Moving Image: A Documentary Film Series".  The retirement party for Kris Samuelson was an excellent homecoming opportunity to chat with Faculty Emeriti Henry Breitrose and Ron Alexander, as well as Yuriko Gamo Romer ('97)Liz Spencer ('94), and Linda Zimmerman ('94) just to name a few.  Images from the event can be found on our Alumni Facebook page.  
The Spring MFA Screening (June 12th) and Thesis Screening (June 14th) are listed on our Screenings page with the latest information.  Please attend if at all possible as this is your first chance to see these films before they go on to screen at film festivals and garner awards across the globe.
A new website for Art & Art History is set to debut in early August.  We are looking forward to the new look and feel of it.  It will be a work-in-progress until we get it fully populated but there will be some changes regarding how we track awards, festivals and screenings.

Class of 2013

Sarah Berkovich

Since graduation, I got a job as an associate producer for UC Berkeley's video unit (part of the Educational Technology Services department). I helped produce and edit videos for the university on a wide range of topics- some promotional, some bios, some online-course capture. I also helped re-brand and market the department as Berkeley Video and launched a new portfolio site for them.
Some of my favorite videos I got to work on this year were: The Haas Public Service Award Video: in honor of Dr. David Smith, the founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, 3D Modeling Demo, a video showcasing groundbreaking technology being developed in the Computer Science department, and Berkeley For Life, a promo spot highlighting the alumni award recipients.

J. Christian Jensen

Life has been an exciting blur since graduating a year ago. I started the summer by participating in the Stanford Ignite Entrepreneurship program through the GSB (along with Alexandra Liveris ('14) and Teddy Symes ('14)). I also dipped my toe in the waters of higher education by attending the annual UFVA Conference as a graduate fellow. The final highlight of my summer was participating in a student symposium at the Telluride Film Festival. During the Fall I was primarily occupied with various freelance projects (the majority of which were with Stanford MFA alum).
January kicked off the world premiere of my thesis film White Earth at the Slamdance Film Festival where it took home a Jury Award for Cinematography.  The film continues to make the rounds in the festival circuit and was most recently recognized with Jury Awards at Full Frame and the Fargo Film Festival.  White Earth is currently a national finalist in the Student Academy Awards alongside the thesis films of Helen Hood Scheer ('13) and Leslie Tai ('13). I also created a shortened version of the film called Solitary Plains which just had its World Premiere at Hot Docs alongside the exceptional films of multiple Stanford alumni including Helen Hood ScheerMike Attie ('09)Meghan O'Hara ('09)David Alvarado ('10), and Jason Sussberg ('10) (among others).
Since the New Year, the majority of my work has been focused on editing Out Run, a feature-length documentary about the world’s first LGBT political party, directed by Johnny Symons ('97) and S. Leo Chiang. It's been a great opportunity to work with two seasoned directors whom I respect.
Lastly, and by far most importantly, my wife Lanée and I celebrated the birth of our first son Whitman James Jensen in November. He is an absolute joy and worth every bit of lost sleep that comes with the job of parenthood.  I hope you all get to meet him at some point in the future.

Helen Hood Scheer

It has been a busy, engaging, and rewarding year. I am now finishing up my first semester of teaching at Diablo Valley College and Chapman University. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting my feet wet in this new arena and have a new appreciation for summer vacation.  I've also had a fantastic time working as Archival Producer on In Country, a documentary feature about Vietnam War re-enactors directed/produced by Mike Attie ('09) & Meghan O'Hara ('09) and getting my thesis project (The Apothecary) out in the world -- highlights include premiering at DOC NYC, screening at Hot Docs, winning both Special Jury and Special Audience Recognition at AspenShorts Fest, and being a National Finalist for the Student Academy Awards.  Surprisingly, my protagonist has been receiving fan mail and donations, and Steven Soderbergh has optioned his life story rights from the wonderful journalist who inspired my documentary. Both my thesis film and Jump!, a documentary about competitive jump rope that I made prior to attending Stanford, have been selected by the U.S. Department of State for inclusion in the America Film Showcase and I'm looking forward to traveling where ever they send me. In the months ahead, I hope to start researching new documentary ideas, collaborate with other filmmakers, and plant a new garden. I am grateful that our doc program opened so many doors and I feel lucky to be doing work I love.

Leslie Tai

The year 2013 turned out to be the year that my "squandered twenties" finally started to pay off. In 2013, I turned 30, got an MFA, took my Stanford films to festivals that I had only dreamed long and hard about, and got engaged. After graduation, I landed a corporate videography gig for a venture capital firm in "the Valley," which has evolved into making promotional videos and other branded content. I'm lucky that I get to grow alongside my client as I basically help them discover their inner video self. I've had the pleasure of working with talented alumni of the program in the process, and look forward to getting married at the end of August. I live in Cupertino and work out of Mountain View, just in case you were wondering.

Class of 2012

Paul Donatelli

The past year has been great - still learning a great deal in my second year as a freelancer but I also feel so incredibly fortunate to be doing what I love for a living. And even better I often get to work with my friends! I share an office space with a bunch of great filmmakers in a little town called San Francisco - most notably, Sara Newens ('11) and Laura Green ('12) are the people I high five on a regular basis. I've also been teaching documentary film production to 6th graders in the Tenderloin which has been challenging AND rewarding. I'm in early development on a couple personal projects as well so things are busy. Oh yeah, and a kid. We have a kid now - 9 months old and the lil' Pennebaker is already running circles around us!

Laura Green

The past year has been a wonderful, jam-packed adventure. I spent much of the year cutting True Son, directed by Kevin Gordon (’11), which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca was an incredible experience, and an amazing opportunity to talk to interesting filmmakers (including a number of Stanford alums!) I am also very happily immersed in teaching a range of classes – production to undergraduates at Stanford, editing at the Art Institute, and workshops for aspiring professionals at BAVC. I’m not sure what’s next, but I’m looking forward to the coming year.

Paul Meyers

Greetings everyone from the East Coast, where we survived a brutal winter only to be met with positively biblical rainstorms in the past week.
Since the last update, I have continued on a few freelance projects here and there while also rounding out an eventful festival year with my thesis film, Bug People.  It proved to have some 'legs' (no pun intended) and I enjoyed a mini-tour in the fall of 2013 including BendFilm in Bend, Oregon, Austin Film Festival, and DOCNYC. 
For the last six months I have been on the East Coast editing with a filmmaker at Johns Hopkins University on a feature documentary tentatively titled The Good Breast.  The film merges the experiences of a group of breast cancer patients with an exploration of Saint Agatha, an early Christian martyr who is today considered the patron saint of breast cancer patients.  It is an interesting and challenging project that we hope to have completed by the end of August.  I also re-learned Avid for the project, which has been an education in and of itself.
I've continued to do a bit of writing for SFIFF and contributed a few pieces to this year's film catalog.  SFIFF57 is running now through May 8 and is featuring some great films as always.  I also got back to the classroom recently and did a few guest lectures at Johns Hopkins on propaganda films–many thanks to Kris, Jan, and Jamie for showing us how to deliver in front of a class!
Finally, I had a mini-reunion of sorts with Stanford and Bay Area film folks about a month ago at Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, where I served on the shorts jury.   I caught up with several classmates and finally got to see Jan Krawitz' completed Perfect Strangers.  I was pleased to see that it went on to win the Audience award–well-deserved!

Class of 2011  

Rory Fraser

I moved back to Nashville (our hometown) with my wife after four years in the Bay. We miss California and all our Stanford friends, but have enjoyed being back in the South. I've worked on a number of projects in the past year, mostly still out of California with Nick Berger ('09) and Ryan Malloy ('11) (aka Cat Trick), including a project for the Tech Museum in San Jose, creating video content for their exhibit on social robots. I also continue to work with my friend Jeremiah Barber (Studio Art '10) documenting his work in performance art, including a performance at Southern Exposure Gallery in SF this spring, and a multi-day performance around SF this summer. Being in Nashville has brought more music related work. I created a good bit of fairly abstract content for the video wall of The National's current world tour. In addition, I shot some music videos for the banjoist Abigail Washburn and her band Wu Force Project. This fall we are moving to Ithaca, NY for Carolyn to start her MFA at Cornell, which is exciting. I'd love to connect with anyone in the western New York area, if there are any of you out there.

Kevin Gordon

We just got back from the premiere of True Son at the Tribeca Film Festival. This was my feature directorial debut and it was an amazing experience. The project was a true team effort led by Editor Laura Green ('12) and Additional Editor Emile Bokaer ('10). Lots of alum worked on the film including John Kane ('08)Anna Moot-Levin ('12)Tijana Petrović ('12)Rory Fraser ('11)Paul Donatelli ('12)Nick Berger ('08), and Ryan Malloy ('11). Stanford rolled deep at Tribeca. We screened along with a host of other alumni: Nancy Kates ('95)Gabe Rhodes ('00)Mark Becker ('96), and Alexandra Liveris ('14)
In other news, I am doing more work as a DP and am directing my first music video for Ethiopian Jazz musician Meklit Hadero. Should be out soon!

Briar March

For the last two years I have been living in New Zealand. I came back here at the end of the school year in 2012, after spending a year teaching documentary production at FAU in Florida. I got a directing job at a production company which makes a disability show for Television New Zealand called Attitude. Directing for telly was a bit of a learning curve; I never got final say of my edits and was expected to use voice over, but thems the breaks when you are getting paid! One of my highlights was making a story in the Solomon Islands about wheelchair basketball. You can check out some of my work on the links below:
At the same time I started to develop an independent project about housing issues in New Zealand, told from the perspective of Maori families who have been kicked out of their state homes. The film has production funding from MTS (Maori Television) for a national broadcast, and PBS for an American cut. Jenni Nelson ('11) has recently joined the production team as a producer. The film is currently in post with just a bit more shooting to do. But probably the biggest production to date is arrival of Tobias Pierret, born just four weeks ago and the most impressive creation I have made so far!

Sara Newens

It's been another great year of collaboration with Mina T. Son ('11) on our first feature, Top Spin, and we're finally nearing the finish line! We're so excited to wrap up and finally get our film in front of audiences. Going on three years in San Francisco, it's been wonderful to have the support of so many alumni. Tim O'Hara ('08) and Peter Jordan ('08) were a great resource as Mina and I produced a Facebook Stories video in Japan. I'm also sharing an office in the mission with Paul Donatelli ('12) and Laura Green ('12), attempting to put my editing skills to good use by working on a fiction film - if it fairs well, I will keep contemplating a move to LA. In the meantime, Paul and I will be co-chairing The Stanford Happy Hour Committee (this is an unofficial, self-appointed position - so if you live in the Bay Area and would like to be included please let me know!).

Mina T. Son

Sara Newens ('11) and I just picture-locked Top Spin, so we're in the home stretch. Hooray! We're also venturing into commercial work and did a video for Facebook Stories for the third anniversary of the 2011 tsunami in Japan.  I've also started a new project about the Japanese town featured in the Facebook video, and will be following the current rebuilding efforts. I was lucky enough to get Diversity Development Funding from ITVS (congrats to Kathy Huang ('06), too!) and will spend three months later this summer in Japan on a fellowship from the US Japan Friendship Commission (following in Kris Samuelson's footsteps). If you find yourself in LA, let's hang!

Class of 2010

David Alvarado

The Immortalists (co-directed by me and Jason Sussberg ('10)) had its World Premiere at SXSW this year and its International Premiere at Hot Docs.  I'm still the Producer/Cinematographer for Jamie (Meltzer)'s film Freedom Fighters. We've received grants from MacArthur, Sundance, ITVS, Catapult and San Francisco Film Society. This project has been a huge source of inspiration for me, and working with Jamie has been a real pleasure.  I'm still living in Brooklyn, NY and do my best not to have a real job.

Class of 2009

Nilima Abrams

I returned from a Fulbright year in India where I was filming and teaching. I'm finishing editing a collaboration with my students there -- The Tent Village is through the perspective of teenagers who grew up in garbage-collecting, roadside tent hovels, rife with violence and abuse. The film chronicles their reflections and transformation as they visit relatives who still live in the tent areas. The focus is not simply on material/educational achievements, but on their awaking to the innate human potential and worthiness, both their own and that of community members, including those who have mistreated them in the past.
I'm also starting post (editing trailers now) on the main documentary I was shooting in India, which is about the 40-member "family" that took in the children from The Tent Village. This giant family, which I've been filming intermittently since 2005, blends cultures and pedagogy from around the world, but is rooted most deeply in ancient Indian spirituality. I'm also teaching a social issue documentary course at the University of Vermont. I help run Reward Volunteers, a mobile app program that celebrates volunteers, which I co-created and sold to Cabot Creamery (yum, Vermont Cheese! I'll explain the connection if anyone's interested). I'm working under Splice Cream, which I created to house film and social entrepreneurship projects, and hopefully integrate the two.

Mike Attie

Meghan O'Hara ('09) and I won the Points North Pitch in September of 2012 for In Country, then pitched at the HotDocs Forum and finally were awarded a Sundance grant and fellowship in the Fall 2013 cycle. The film premiered at Full Frame and went on to play at Sarasota, IFFBoston and then had its international premiere at HotDocs this week. HotDocs was especially fun as we had a good representation from Stanford: David Alvarado ('10) and Jason Sussberg ('10) with The Immortalists, Helen Hood Scheer ('13) with The Apothecary and Christian Jensen ('13) with Solitary Plains.

Matt Harnack

I'm working at Facebook full-time in their Communications Department creating visual representations of the company's message. I helped the company develop a studio recording space (quite similar to the basement actually). In January I directed a Facebook story for the 10 year anniversary called Weaving Connections. For the shoot we travelled to Philadelphia and Africa. Amazingly, the video has been viewed more than 2 millions times. Around the same time I also produced a video that looks back at 10 years of Facebook. I recently got engaged to the beautiful and talented Monica Henriquez and we are living in Willow Glen, a suburb in West San Jose. We spend our weekend taking photos (and video), going to the Campbell farmer's market, and working in the garden.

Charlene Music

Another very exciting and fruitful year.  Some of the highlights...  Early January 2013 I finally finished editing Blessed Fruit of the Womb (shot by the talented Peter Jordan ('08) and Mike Seely ('05)). It follows the journey of two indigenous women who work in defiance of the church and state to alleviate poverty and childhood malnutrition by providing families with access to contraceptive methods. We were excited to win the Audience Award at SF International Short Film Festival, and to screen at UNAFF and Big Sky. We've now released the film for free online, and it is being used for advocacy in Guatemala and the US. Later in the year I partnered with the Wikimedia Foundation to document the story of a group of students in a very impoverished South African township, who took it upon themselves to write telecoms requesting free access to Wikipedia on their cellphones so that they can do their homework. The cost of data prevents millions of people from accessing Wikipedia and this is the beginning of a grassroots movement that we're excited to see spread around the world. We released a teaser of the film as a petition, and are soon launching a global campaign with the longer documentary. Most recently, I directed a documentary, working in collaboration with Thomas Burns ('02), entitled Crossing the Space Frontier, about a new electromagnetic plasma engine that will allow us to travel 10 times faster than the current chemical rockets and uses 1/10th the amount of fuel. It was so exciting to work with astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz, who invented this technology and holds the record for most missions in space, to interview Eileen Collins, the first woman commander of the space shuttle, and to capture the meaning and deep-reaching impact this technology will have on humanity's future in space... Hopefully the film will be in some festivals this year or the next! Lastly, yet most importantly, the best news of the year was that Peter Jordan ('08) and I got married in September! A match made in Stanford heaven.

Tanya Sleiman

I continue teaching at Diablo Valley College, both production and film studies, as well as online for a seminar on American Ethnic Cultures through Film. With my first feature, 95 Lives exploring the life and legacy of Helen Levitt, I was delighted to interview NPR anchor Melissa Block in her DC home as she reflected on the one public interview the artist shared. In fall 2013, I added filmmaker Samuel Pollard to the film's advisory team; with his encouragement, I'm seeking my first NEH grant this summer.  In new projects, I am creating a single-channel experimental documentary on Cuba, collaborating with sound designer Kent Sparling. My production company website will have updates. I'm serving as Board President for Golden Thread Productions theatre and I live in Palo Alto with my husband Phaedon Sinis who is continuing his Ph.D. studies at Stanford. Whenever we are both in town, we love to attend MFA screenings and enjoy the wonderful student work.

Class of 2008

Nick Berger

I’m working full time editing a feature length documentary about Lithuanian folk singers called Land of Songs.

Evan Briggs

I just returned from a Stanford-tastic weekend at Full Frame! I was there for the premiere of a film on which I was field producer (Tough Love) and brought Tim O'Hara ('08) with me. We also got to see the premiere of Mike Attie ('09) and Meghan O'Hara's ('09) film, In Country while there- as well as catch up with other Stanford alums, Melanie Levy ('09)Davina Pardo ('05), and Lila Place ('05) among others. It was an excellent weekend and a great festival!
I'm still doing contract video production work, mostly for Facebook and Seattle Children's Hospital, but occasionally for other clients as well. I'm also still working on my first documentary feature, Present Perfect about a preschool housed within a retirement home and the intergenerational relationships that develop there. It had been on the back burner for awhile as I've been tied up with freelance work and raising two young kids, but I was newly inspired to dive back in after returning from Full Frame! I'm currently in the process of trying to raise post-production funds to hire an editor. Stay tuned...

Emmanuel Dayan

The year has been interesting and busy : I'm completing the editing of my documentary feature Boom Horses with the help of the French Film Board (CNC) - while working as an editor for various gigs in Paris.  I have also been scouting  a new project in Turkana ( North Kenya) about the discovery of a huge aquifer and the way it will transform the area. (Thank you Peter Jordan ('08) and Matt Harnack ('09) for your tips about the area).  Finally , I'm  proud to say that the doc feature Of Men and War, on which I worked as an AD and cameraman right after Stanford, will show at the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival in 10 days! Hope to run into some of you soon.

Peter Jordan

The big news this year is that Charlene Music ('09) and I got married! Thanks to Jan and Kris for admitting us both to Stanford and making our love connection possible.
I continue to work at Facebook, where I'm now managing a small team of amazing filmmakers. I've been working primarily on the project, which aims to bring free basic internet services to everyone in the world. The highlight of this work has been traveling to Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, and Myanmar to capture some fascinating stories, which we will release later this year (produced by fellow alum Sara Mott ('12)).
The controversial film Charlene and I made about tourism in Costa Rica is being re-released this year (under the title The Goose with the Golden Eggs) and will be used in Costa Rican schools to empower local voices in the battle against multinational hotel chains. And a film about birth control in Guatemala, called Blessed Fruit of the Womb, which we made with Mike Seely ('05), recently made festival rounds and to our great surprise won an audience award at SF Shorts.

John Kane

The past year has been my busiest yet as a freelance editor. I’ve cut six short-form pieces for Al Jazeera America, as well as some fun and interesting promotional videos for the Wikimedia Foundation (shot and co-edited by Charlene Music (‘09)), Adobe, and Facebook (with Peter Jordan ('08) and Sara Mott ('12)). I was also an additional editor on Kevin Gordon’s ('11) True Son, which just premiered at Tribeca. As has undoubtedly been noted elsewhere, that film was an all Stanford affair, and I very much enjoyed working with Kevin, Laura Green (‘12), and Emile Bokaer (‘10). Lastly, I produced, shot, and edited a video for the Record Clearance Project, an important program at San Jose State University in which undergraduates assist formerly incarcerated people in having their criminal records expunged; the talented Abhi Singh (’13) helped me shoot and record sound.
Our romance long since having soured, I’ve broken up with Final Cut Pro, and started sweet, 64-bit relationships with both Avid and Premiere. 
My storytelling and technical skills Ginsu-sharp, I’m in the market for documentary features, shorts, and transmedia projects to collaborate on. I’m also very interested in cutting narrative and ‘hybrid’ films.

Class of 2006

Leigh Iacobucci

This March, my husband and I welcomed our second child into the world, a sweet little boy named Warren. I'm still based in Geneva, Switzerland and will soon be wrapping up a loooong stint as a video producer for the World Economic Forum. This summer, I will be jumping back into the world of freelancing (editing and shooting) as well as searching for local film ideas. Just need to get over my fears of conducting interviews in French and then it should be smooth sailing (ha! ha!). If you're ever in the land of cheese and chocolate, please get in touch.

Revere La Noue

In April, I launched a large art and fashion collaboration with Alexander Julian (renowned designer and cool dude.)  We did the event on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.   It involved an exhibit of 15 pieces of our original artwork on canvas, five large tapestries hung between the columns of their historic concert hall, several of our prototypes of scarves and ties, and of course, a short documentary about the not-so-obvious link between argyle, abstract expressionism and the history of tar in North Carolina.  We will release the “Targyle” print series and fashion line this fall.  I explained all of this at the Full Frame bar night to an all-star cast Hope Hall ('00)Purcell Carson ('00)Anne Alvergue ('00)Lila Place ('05)Kristin Nutile ('00)Elisabeth James ('03)Davina Pardo ('05), and my man, J. Christian Jensen ('13) with an appearance by super (Stanford) undergrad Luke Lorentzen. It was a privilege to be around so much talent and storytelling wisdom.  Especially timely as I get back to feature documentary with my new project, a collaboration with wife and Stanford alum Biz (Elisabeth Haviland) James ('03). We are planning our first shoot in Abu Dhabi capturing the ritual cloaked art of falconing which has become somewhat modernized and blinged out with Rolls-Royce phantoms, carpeted deserts, imported trees and million dollar birds.  The visual spectacle of hunting with raptors is ripe for the shooting but we are also hoping to engage some of the closed societies around the world through this rare tradition of sport and survival.  As always, if I can be helpful to any of you in any way just holler at me.

Class of 2005

Christie Herring

What a year!  In June of 2013, The Campaign premiered at the Frameline Film Festival in the Castro Theater, just days before the US Supreme Court overturned Prop 8 and DOMA. That beautiful timing created a unique launch for this film ... and a happy ending! Thank you to the many, many Stanford folk who helped in ways large and small or have attended screenings since. The Campaign has been traveling to festivals, community screenings, and universities. It has also been on public television and will return for a second wave in June. Please look out for more broadcasts, and come find me at a screening!
With The Campaign in distribution, I’ve enjoyed the chance to expand my focus. I have a film in development with Stanford Professor Estelle Freedman about the 99-year life of political radical and folk singer Faith Petric, to which Mike Seely ('05) has again turned his lens. I am also busy freelance editing and producing on a variety of new projects in the Bay Area and beyond, including with Stanford grads like Sam Ball ('95) at Citizen Film and Matt Harnack ('09) at Facebook.
I spent much of last year as a resident at the San Francisco Film Society’s Film House, just down the hall from Leah Wolchok (’05).  After some late nights editing, I might have experienced a few flashbacks to the sub-basement.

Gretchen Hildebran

I’ve been working as producer and editor on a feature called Decade of Fire about the fires that devastated the Bronx in the 1970s. We are currently collecting a mountain of archival and have the goal of finishing our rough cut by fall 2014.  Other projects that have kept me busy include editing Vaishali Sinha’s (Made in India) feature about a 90-year-old sex columnist in India, and producing shorts for a environmentally-focused start-up called Ecodeo.  All the work fits in around co-parenting my baby, Ecco, out here in the boonies of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. 

Lila Place

I'm still living in Brooklyn with my husband and kids.  I gave birth to another little girl last spring - Annabel Liv - who joins her energetic older sister Chloe.   The last film I edited Furever has been doing the festival circuit and I'm currently editing a film about violence and impunity in Guatemala for a Swiss production company.  Davina Pardo ('05) has been letting me share her office space and it's been such a pleasure to see her on a regular basis but very hard to not chit chat all day long.  Speaking of socializing, I had a blast at Full Frame with a great group of Stanford friends including Davina, Kristen Nutile ('00)Hope Hall ('00)Purcell Carson ('00)Anne Alvergue ('00)Melanie Levy ('09)Revere La Noue ('06), and Elisabeth Haviland James ('03) among others, and enjoyed meeting new Stanford grads.

Mike Seely

Staying in one place in Berkeley and not having any more babies has helped me with my plan to focus on my work as documentary cinematographer.  I've been strictly freelancing as a DP for a couple of years now, working on a range of projects, mostly in the Bay Area.  Blessed Fruit of The Womb, a film I co-shot and co-directed with Peter Jordan ('08) and Charlene Music ('09) about reproductive rights in Guatemala, made the festival rounds in 2013, winning the audience award at the SF Shorts International Festival.  I had the distinct pleasure to work with my mentor Jan Krawitz on her film Perfect Strangers about altruistic kidney donation, which came out last year.  I got to do a little camera work on Christie Herring's ('05) inspiring film The Campaign about California's No on 8 movement and the fight for Marriage Equality, which had its debut and national public TV broadcast in 2013.  Other recent highlights include; working on various project for the Al Jazeera America prime time magazine news show America Tonight; working as a DP for Kartemquin Films on their series Hard Earnedabout minimum wage in the US (executive produced by Al Jazeera America); and filming with innovative playwright and actress Anna Deveare Smith to document the fascinating process of her most recent project concerning the school-to-prison pipeline.  I've had the good fortune to work on shoots with various other Stanford graduates over the past year, including;  John Kane ('08)Aaron Lubarsky ('97)Tijana Petrović ('12)Paul Donatelli ('12)Abhi Singh ('13), and Leslie Tai ('13).  As I gradually emerge from the Baby Cave (son Deco now four and daughter Maya almost two), I'm  feeling more consistently well-rested and regaining pre-fatherhood brain functionality, and I have time to be excited about working on my own films again as well.  In addition to documentary camera work, I have been branching out into music video, conceptual art production and commercial work.   John Kane ('08) and I continue to be based together in a shared office in West Berkeley, along with a budding community of talented documentary filmmakers in the building.  Please drop a line anytime you're in the neighborhood!

Class of 2004

Sally Rubin

I am an Assistant Professor at Chapman University, teaching documentary film in the undergraduate, and now upcoming graduate/MFA Documentary Film programs. My most recent film, Life on the Line, will broadcast nationally on PBS in September as part of Latino Heritage Month. The film follows the story of a young girl living on the US/Mexico border, and her family's struggle to reunite in Arizona. I am currently in pre-production on her next documentary, The Hollywood Hillbilly, about representations of Appalachia in the media. My partner Meehan Rasch and I live, legally married (!), in northeast Los Angeles, and are preparing for the birth of our daughter, my other current project!

Andy Schocken

I’m still living in Brooklyn, where I have the pleasure of staying in touch with a great group of Stanford alums (a number of them within walking distance).  My primary project at the moment is a feature documentary co-directed with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy entitled Sounds of Sachal, about a group of musicians in Pakistan.  I’m staying busy with camera work as well, working on upcoming films such as Beyond the Brick: A LEGO BrickumentaryFight Church, and Mark Rinehart’s ('03) #ChicagoGirl, and for corporate clients including Apple, The Criterion Collection, and Etsy.

Class of 2003

Elisabeth (Biz) Haviland James

Who launches an ambitious project that requires travel to the far corners of the earth (UAE, Mongolia, Sicily, Japan, plus California and DC, to name a few places), while trying to keep up with a toddler?  We do.  After years of dreaming, Revere La Noue ('06) and I will start filming our falconry project this year. In an unusual fundraising move, we are even taking a tour group with us to Mongolia in October, so if you know anyone with the travel bug who might enjoy exploring the Gobi desert, historic Mongolian sites and ending at a falconry festival in the Altai mountains, please send them our way!
For the last year or so, I've been producing and editing (a role I might start calling "Preditor") Althea, a doc about pioneering tennis icon Althea Gibson, which will premiere Fall 2014. I've been doing some freelance quality-of-life editing, too, namely on a narrative psychological thriller, which is fun new territory. A year into the life of In So Many Words, we continue to have screenings around the country, and are about to launch our online and dvd distribution. The Loving Story is the gift that keeps on giving - we won the Emmy for Best Historic Documentary in October, with two additional nominations (Best Documentary, Best Editing), and a Peabody Award in 2013. But even more rewarding, the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) selected the film as part of the Created Equal initiative, and as a result there have been over 500 community screenings in the last year, and the film has been made widely available at libraries and schools around the country.
As usual, it was great to see the Stanford Mafia at Full Frame - a tradition I very much hope continues for years to come!   I wish Durham were always so charged with passion and energy, and the opportunity to vehemently disagree about docs around a dimly lit tapas table surrounded by great colleagues.

Class of 2002

Thomas Burns

I continue to work as a director of photography on non-fiction, narrative, and commercial projects. I recently teamed up with fellow doc program alumna Charlene Music (’09) to shoot a piece about an exciting development in space exploration technology. This year I was also the director of the 2014 Fulbright Film Festival, which is designed to share and celebrate the motion picture work of Fulbright Program grantees and alumni from around the world. For the past year I have also taught the documentary filmmaking curriculum at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

Class of 2001

Stacy Bloom

After conducting a successful Kickstarter campaign this past Fall, Meg McKinney ('01) and I are pleased to announce that we are entering the final stages of post production with our first feature length documentary, Breathe in the Light. Five years in the making, this film follows four women, survivors of sexual assault, as they embark upon a week-long journey of healing and hope. Set along the Kesugi Ridge trail in the Alaska Range, the film examines the parallels between emotional and physical survival and how those characteristics impact one another. Most recently Meg has been shooting pick-up material in Alaska, while I have been working with editor, Amy Ferraris in California to wrangle the story to a close.  We are expecting to have a totally completed film this June.

Isabel Sadurni

I'm delighted to announce the feature documentary for which I served as Lead Editor, American Nurse: Healing America will receive its New York Premiere May 8th and has been picked up for national distribution by DigiNext.  I'm now editing a filmic Romeo and Juliet for Wordplay: Shakespeare a new digital series aimed specifically at the iTunes, iPod iPhone generation.

Class of 2000

Hope Hall

I am in my third year as the official videographer for the President, working with a fantastic team in the White House's first digital strategy department. If you come to DC, let me know!  

Lauren (Popell) Velasco

I've been teaching communication full time at Foothill College for the past 14 years. I'm currently in the midst of a sabbatical project -- an educational documentary about modern understanding of the learning process. Bay Area life continues to be wonderful for my family. We've recently added a puppy to the mix. Hello and best wishes to all the Stanford Doc Film grads.

Gabriel Rhodes

My most recent edited film, 1971, just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and I was lucky to be able to share the experience with fellow alums Purcell Carson ('00)Sadia Shepard ('00)Kristen Nutile ('00)Anne Alvergue ('00)Mark Becker ('96), Kevin Gordon ('11)Nancy Kates ('95) as well as Kris Samuelson and John Haptas. It was like a mini-reunion!
Speaking of reunions, I did manage to gather most of my classmates for a reunion brunch earlier this spring and a good time was had by all. We're lucky to have most of us in the gravitational pull of NYC so we're trying to make our gathering an annual event.  Currently I'm editing a feature documentary about the murder of Kitty Genovese (the infamous 38 witnesses story) and her brother's 10 year quest to uncover the truth of what happened to his sister. Slated for a 2015 completion.

Class of 1999

Brett Schwartz

This winter I officially launched my production company StoryScreen.  The company will focus on producing mini-docs for individuals and businesses and will also support independent feature vehicles.  The first StoryScreen video profiled Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar in Chicago.  Several other projects are currently in the works.  While it's a very small shop, I look forward to partnering with alumni shooters and producers as they come through town- so think of StoryScreen for your upcoming projects in the Midwest and spread the word to any potential clients!  The website can be found  In other news, I'm continuing my indepedent feature about chef/inventor Homaro Cantu.  I've been following Cantu for nearly three years.  Here's a short synopsis:

"World-renowned chef and inventor Homaro Cantu dazzles diners with his molecular gastronomy approach to cooking in his Chicago restaurants, Moto and iNG. After publishing his first book on using West Africa’s miracle berry to eliminate processed sugar, Cantu takes on his biggest challenge to date: making “healthy junk food” and breaking the sugar industry’s hold on the modern American diet."

Vanessa Warheit

I’m still in Palo Alto, and life is still far too busy. I recently spent two months applying for a Fulbright - along with 864 other people, it turns out. Now I’m finishing up another video series for Stanford Student Affairs, about sexual harassment and sexual assault. I had a great crew (Christian Jensen ('13) recorded the audio), and it’s been great working with some amazing students and staff on such a serious topic; but it’s been something of a nightmare dealing with all the legal hurdles at Stanford! Most importantly, I’m excited to be launching my first Kickstarter campaign, for Worse Than Poop! - a short animated film for kids about climate change and CO2 pollution from gas-burning cars, starring my 8-year-old son Elliot. By the time this newsletter goes out, we’ll be half-way through our campaign - please follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and help us spread the word!

Class of 1998

Tony Sehgal

I've started doing wet plate or collodion photography, the primary photographic process used during the mid 19th century. It was replaced by film in the mid 1890s, courtesy of Eastman Kodak, but there's been a resurgence in this form of photography because of the unique images created and the desire to return to more organic image making process. I'm shooting tintypes (on aluminum) and ambrotypes (on glass) using an 8x10 view camera. I'm primarily shooting portraits and the occasional landscape. I'm mixing my own chemicals and playing with fire to get these images made. I wanted to explore a more tactile and contemplative form of visual art, where process, technique and experimentation was more important than perfection and pixels. I'm still doing that too, but analog image making has allowed me to approach digital video and photography in a refreshing way. I hope to add a few more historic photographic processes to my workflow this year, such as albumen printing from glass negatives. I'm working towards completing a body of work for exhibition in 2016 that will primarily consist of wet plate photographs. My interest in the history of wet plate photography has led me to start writing a screenplay about the photographers during the Civil War.

Will Zavala

I have been working with a photographer to produce my first gallery exhibit, Palimpsests:  Ghost Signs of Pittsburgh.  Kelly and I took the pure documentary approach to the subject of fading outdoor advertisements, and the result is somewhere between photographic record and art.

Class of 1997

Yuriko Gamo Romer

Mrs. Judo, in its third year, is still keeping me busy. Since last year we have had three special screenings SF, LA and Sacramento through the CAL Humanities Public Engagement project, as well as festival screenings in Sacramento, Boston, Mumbai INDIA, Milan ITALY, and Oaxaca MEXICO. I traveled to Milan in December and got to eat lots of good food while participating in their very international sports film festival and conference. Also, Mrs. Judo will broadcast on PBS and KCET/LinkTV this May and I've been forced to become more facile with social media - so please look for me on Twitter (@docfilmgal), Facebook (Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful), Instagram (mrsjudomovie) and Pinterest (Mrs. Judo). I am also developing a new film about the US-Japan connection through baseball, framed around General Douglass MacArthur's 1949 San Francisco Seals' goodwill tour to Japan. With an R&D grant from the US-Japan Foundation I will shoot the 50th anniversary of Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player's arrival to Major League Baseball this May and continue to research and develop. At home in San Francisco, Niko is now a sophomore in high school, Bill is teaching at Presidio Middle School and Mohawk snores away under my desk as my faithful assistant editor.

Gail Huddleson

It’s been a busy year of editing for me.  Starting last spring, I cut Dave Iverson’s film about Parkinson’s patients who put on a dance performance at the Mark Morris Dance Center, called Capturing Grace. For part of the edit we were hosted at Remedy Editorial in SOMA, thanks to their Adopt a Doc program, which was a terrific experience.  Capturing Grace is coming soon to a PBS station near you. 
I then worked with a great group of Berkeley grads at Al Jazeera, cutting one of their Fault Lines documentaries, The Fight for Native Families.  And I’m now in the midst of a two hour doc based on Michael Pollan’s "In Defense of Food" – working with co-editor Rhonda Collins, and the rest of the crew at Kikim Media.  I hope to eek out a little time for personal projects sometime soon.

Malinda Maynor Lowery

I live in Durham, NC with my six-year-old daughter Lydia. I am an associate professor of history at UNC - Chapel Hill, and Director of the Southern Oral History Program. I am Co-Producer of the feature documentary Private Violence, which premiered at Sundance 2014 and will be broadcast on HBO this fall. I'm also Co-Producer of the TV series A Chef's Life which is airing nationally on PBS. A Chef's Life just won a Peabody Award. Both projects are produced and directed by Cynthia Hill. I have served on the board of directors of ITVS since 2011.

Sienna McLean - LoGreco

I've been living in Los Angeles since 2000 and working in both film and television here. After having my children (2004 and 2007) I took a huge step away from work to be a mom. I have two beautiful, amazing, intelligent daughters and I now know that being a parent is by far the hardest job ever and I have increasing respect for those parents who manage to find a way to balance work and family life.  That said, about six years ago I began helping out with researching and prepping interviews for an independent archive project documenting the lives of influential film producers and studio executives. We spent an entire day interviewing them about their lives, work, inspirations and hopes for the future. Over the years the project has evolved and I have been a producer/interviewer on it for a few years. About a year and half ago, we partnered with the Academy of Motion Pictures and they have folded our project into their Oral/Visual History Program. Now I am interviewing individuals from all branches of the film industry. The interviews will live in the Academy's permanent archive and will soon be available on the internet through their digital archive. They will remain largely unedited and will also be exhibited in the new Academy Museum which is slated to open in 2017. I've had the pleasure of interviewing incredible folks including DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Al Maysles, Mark Jonathan Harris, Jiri Menzel, Sharmila Tagore, Lourdes Portillo, Ben Burtt, Tony Walton, Barbara Hammer, Jonas Mekas, Bob Drew and many more. We have traveled to NYC and San Francisco to do many of these interviews which has enabled me to connect with fellow class of '97 sub-basement buddies Aaron Lubarsky ('97) and Johnny Symons ('97). I also recently worked on my first branded entertainment project for Verizon. The web series profiles Verizon's massive initiative called the Powerful Answers Award where they give away $10 million in prizes to innovators and start ups. We profiled eight of the winners while showcasing the contest. I had the pleasure of working with San Francisco doc director, Amanda Micheli on that project which we just wrapped in March.

Class of 1996

Mark Becker

I just finished co-directing and editing Art and Craft (about a forger who has been donating his work to museums for 30 years, and the museum registrar trying to stop him). The film just premiered at Tribeca, and I came out to San Francisco for the screenings in the SFIFF.

Robert Edwards

I'm currently in post on my second fiction feature, When I Live My Life Over Again, starring Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, and Oliver Platt. My partner Ferne Pearlstein ('94) produced the film in conjunction with the Brooklyn-based company Parts & Labor and directed the second unit. Ferne and I are also producing her new feature documentary The Last Laugh, which we expect to finish in early 2015.

Class of 1994

Emily Hart

Kartemquin Films is my documentary home in Chicago.  Most recently, I co-produced Life Itself, my fifth film with Steve James, which premiered at Sundance and will screen at Cannes before its theatrical release this summer.  I truly enjoy seeing and collaborating with Stanford alumni whenever our paths intersect.

Ferne Pearlstein

I'm currently directing, shooting, and editing my new feature documentary The Last Laugh, about taboos in humor, proceeding from the premise that the Holocaust is the ultimate off-limits topic. Our biggest coup recently was landing an interview with Mel Brooks. My partner Robert Edwards ('96) is producing with me. Bob and I also just wrapped principal photography on his new narrative film When I Live My Life Over Again, which I'm producing and directing the 2nd unit.

Class of 1991

Steve Wessells

Polar bears are a sentinel species for understanding climate change impacts.  USGS biologists are conducting an on going polar bear health study.  They find and tranquilize about 100 bears off northern Alaska each Spring.  The tranquilizer gets shot by rifle from moving chopper into the bear. Ten minutes later it passes out.  They land and do the health workup over about one hour.  Thirty minutes later the bear wakes up and moves on.  They attach a tracking device that transmits a variety of info on location and activity like are they swimming or resting, etc.  I filmed it all alone (ugh!) with an Ex3, GoPro and PMW350.  It was cold and stressful and fun.  I will film related work this Fall.  A finished piece will come some time following that.

Class of 1988

Donald Sellers

I'm sending this report for my beautiful-wife-and-filmmaking-partner, Lucy Ostrander ('85), and me. The last year has found us seguing (one of Ron (Alexander)’s favorite words, as I recall) from marketing our feature-length documentary, The Revolutionary  (coproduced with Irv Drasnin) to marketing our new doc, Honor & Sacrifice. Both movies, while very different, focus on extraordinary men involved in modern Asian history. Lucy has heroically channeled Glengarry Glen Ross, working the phones selling these two films and our others ( to universities and public libraries. Honor & Sacrifice has won Best Documentary Short at a number of film festivals and is continuing its festival run (it will have been shown in a Cine Yurt by the time this goes to press—one of the top items on my bucket list). It will also start a PBS release in May as an episode in a three-part series hosted by the Center for Asian American Media, and it just won the Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians, an academic honor. Sadly, our centenarian subject recently died, a hazard of documenting important WWII subjects, but offset by the gratification of telling significant stories that might otherwise be lost. Our next project hasn’t gotten the green light, but it does involve a secret scouting mission Lucy recently made to Dothan, Alabama, and also includes China and jazz. If anyone is killing time in the Seattle area, please look us up, we’re in the Google. 

Class of 1985

Andrea Butter

I continue to run Maui by Design, my small company, designing tropical gift and accessories, and traveling a lot.  

Recent trips included Hanoi, Vietnam, which I enjoyed a lot. Mind you, I am not vacationing, I am there working with the companies and artists who make the products I design and staying in local, not tourist, hotels.  In Hanoi, a small woman-owned Fair Trade company makes embroidered silk bags for me. (You can see them here and here

A trip this February, to Delhi and Kolkatta, India, was less enjoyable - my purse got stolen on the first day there, with passport, credit cards, cash, everything… There was a reasonably good ending: The purse, without cash and phone but with passport and credit cards, was found a few hours later and returned to me. To make up for this super-bad and stressful first day, I made a lot of progress working with several leather manufacturers on a new product line that I am developing.  I am very excited about this line, but know by now that as a small company I don’t have the resources for market research and launching a line in big style, so there is no guarantee.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Since I still live close to Stanford, I also have the pleasure to get together with Professors Ron Alexander and Irv Drasnin, though never as often as I'd like.  For those who aren't close and don't see them often - they are as wonderful people and as interesting to talk to as ever.  The only change:  Ron has stopped wearing only navy blue sweaters.. he's branched out to mixing it up sometimes with a black sweater.

Dan Geller

Dayna Goldfine and I are running around supporting the release of The Galapagos Affair:  Satan Came to Eden, as it makes its way through theatrical bookings and festivals.  We’re thrilled to have Zeitgeist Films by our side for the third time – they’re wonderful distributors and loyal to the films they acquire.  The marketplace all around the world is changing so quickly, with deals and platforms evolving apace – we’re finding that having good advisors, sales agents and fellow filmmakers to hash things out with is crucial, more than ever.  Possibilities expand, even as funding does the opposite.  It’s a challenging and exciting time.  Check out if you’re interested in seeing the movie!

Lauren Lazin

I have been show running some docu-reality series for Bravo: the hit series Newlyweds: The First Year and Extreme Guide to Parenting which will premiere in July. I also directed the feature documentary L Word Mississippi for Showtime, which will premiere this summer. 

Class of 1984

Kim Bromley

I'm consulting with a San Rafael based visual fx company regarding story pitching as they hope to move into their own IP development. I'm also directing live theater. I just finished "Next to Normal" with Theatre at Large and the Novato Theater Company and will direct "Old Money" at Ross Valley Players, which goes up July 18. 

Becky Smith

I had the opportunity to work on two documentary projects with fellow Stanford Alum in France this past year.  Roxanne Frias ('88) is doing a lot of fantastic work there, and I shot footage in Paris and Los Angeles for her documentary How I Became French.  I am also collaborating with Zeinab Zaki ('85) on a documentary about the Egyptian jazz singer Lilian Terry.  I'm a full professor and teach narrative directing and screenwriting in the UCLA film school where I run the first year MFA program.  I hope to announce that my next feature is in post by the time this newsletter rolls around again!

Kirby Walker

I finished my feature length documentary Toxic Hot Seat in November 2013.  We aired on HBO and are still on demand and/or HBOGO.  I co-produced and directed the film with James Redford and we have been on the road screening at festivals throughout the country which as been really fun.  We created an advocacy campaign to get toxic chemicals out of our consumer products. Check out "Give Toxics the Boot", and join the movement. I'm researching a few new ideas and hope to be in production on another film by this Fall.

Class of 1983

Maggie Burnette Stogner (aka Margaret Barnett)

I’m taking advantage of a one-year sabbatical from teaching at American University in Washington D.C. to focus on an independent documentary, Grave Injustice, about capital punishment. A very timely subject as momentum is building to overturn the death penalty across the United States. The film interweaves three stories with unusual perspectives that lead viewers to rethink how we define justice.  It follows the journeys of a couple who lose their young adult daughter to a brutal crime, yet ultimately decide to fight to spare the life of her killer; a woman who was seriously wounded in last year's Boston Marathon bombing and now struggles to reconcile her “extreme con versus extreme pro” reactions to the death penalty; and the former chief executioner for Virginia who for years believed those who killed should pay in kind, but now is not so sure. My partner on this project is Rick Stack, author of four books that investigate and challenge the status quo of capital punishment. We have been filming our subjects for several months, as well as interviews with Sister Helen who wrote “Deadman Walking”, former President of NAACP Ben Jealous, and others. Stanford Law School Professor Larry Marshall who co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions has also been involved.  So far, we’ve raised $30,000 in grants and hope more funds come through soon. If anyone has suggestions, please contact me. Still making movies and immersive media for museums ( A new Smithsonian traveling exhibition, "Roads of Arabia”, will be coming to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in October. And staying in touch with many Stanford film grads - always an inspiration!

Class of 1982

Anne Makepeace

I am working on two documentaries, a bit schizo but definitely engaging.  One of them, Tribal Justice, is taking me back to California pretty frequently, and it's great to see so many parts of it again.  The doc is about two awesome Native American who are the Chief Justices in the two largest tribes in California, Yurok and Quechan, who are bringing traditional forms of restorative justice back to their communities. The other is about a fourth wave feminist artist from Kenya named Wangechi Mutu.  More information about both of these projects at

Class of 1981

Christine Wynne

Currently working as an eLearning instructional designer at Columbia Sportswear in Portland, OR.  Sad to say never made a career in documentary film but transferred my skills over to instructional design.  One odd bit of excitement, I did shoot a Super 8 video of a gay "marriage" at the Metropolitan Community Church in 1978 which was thought lost but was archived in the OddBall Film Archive in SF. The footage will be used in a gay history opening prologue to the film, The Normal Heart, in the next year.

Class of 1973

Judy Irving

We’re at the end of a six-year production effort, with film shoots ranging from Baja Mexico to the Oregon-Washington border. We’ve completed editing to the point of “picture lock”. I’m happy to report that Shadow Distribution, the same company that put The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill into 500 theaters nationwide, loves Pelican Dreams and will distribute it theatrically! We will complete the film this summer and premiere it this fall, following the theatrical run with home-viewing options, national television broadcast, and international distribution. Finally, a $20,000 grant for environmental education, which has already been awarded to Pelican Media by the CA Coastal Conservancy, is waiting for us, pending completion of the film.  Please check out our Kickstarter page:

Class of 1972

Paul Cowan

Just finished a long film (The Wanted 18) about a Palestinian town called Beit Sahour during the Palestinian uprising called the First Intifada (1987-1992).  Beit Sahour was clandestinely given a herd of 18 milk cows by an Israeli peacknik.   The town hid the cows from the Israeli Defence Forces for more than four years (Palestinians were not allowed to own milk cows at the time).   The cows start as Israeli sympathizers but gradually come to understand who the Palestinians are and eventually join their struggle.  The cows, unfortunately, pay for that conversion with their lives with the exception of one calf who escapes at the end.  The film is a combination of animation (the cows talk), documentary (most of the Palestinians and Israelis involved in the story are still alive), dramatic re-creations and documentary footage.   
On to a film about a French town's struggle in the two months after D-Day next.

Class of 1969

Marty Krasney

For the last four years, serving as executive director, I have been involved with the design and launch of Dalai Lama Fellows.  It is an increasingly high-impact global educational and social action initiative that identifies and supports young compassionate, ethical and courageous social innovators who are working worldwide to solve problems at the intersection of justice, peace and ecology.  We have selected 65 Fellows of 22 nationalities from a dozen university partners worldwide, including Stanford. Although I have not been in documentary film since leaving school, many of our Fellows use them integrally in their projects.