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Charlene Music

Charlene Music

Documentary Film and Video


Charlene Music is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Costa Rica, who collaborates with international and humanitarian organizations to effect social change and empower communities through photography and film.  After studying photography at Harvard, she worked as a filmmaker in India, where she produced domestic violence prevention films in collaboration with children and women in rural communities. Her work in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States has won numerous international prizes including awards from the National Academy of Television, the University Film & Video Association, the Caucus Foundation, and Kodak. Her film Roz (and Joshua), about a mother's journey to reunite with her child in the face of destitution, showed in human rights festivals around the world, was the winning film at the Festival International des Tres Courts, in Paris, and won CINE's Special Jury Award. Her thesis film, Danza del Viejo Inmigrante, is a documentary about the challenges facing elderly Latino immigrants in the United States, and won the Best Documentary Award at the Big Sky and Angelus Film Festivals. Charlene received her MFA in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University and has since worked as a DP on feature documentaries, as well as with clients such as the Stanford Cochlear Implant Center and Facebook. She was an Associate Teacher of documentary film and photography for New York University's Study Abroad Program in Cuba, and she is currently a cinematographer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.


UFVA Carole Fielding Student Grant, 2009
Bill Lane Center for the American West film grant, Stanford University, 2009
Student Production Grant, The Caucus Foundation for Producers, Writers & Directors, Spring 2009
Honorable Mention, Kodak Eastman Scholarship Program,  Excellence in the Craft of Filmmaking, 2008
Sheldon "Shelly" Fay Cinematography Scholarship,  National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northern California Chapter, 2008
WorldStudio AIGA Scholarship, MTV Music Award and Orit Mardkha-Tenzer Award, 2007

Danza del Viejo Inmigrante (The Old Immigrant's Dance) 

hd video
JUNE, 2009
Watch Video

Through moments of sacrifice and also of joy, elderly Latinos find the courage to forge a new life in the United States.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Outstanding Documentary Award, Angelus Award, 2010
Best Short Documentary, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2010
Audience Award, Short Escape, Brussels, Belgium,  2010
United Nations Association Film Festival, 2010

before the sea 

16mm color film
JUNE, 2008
Watch Video

A little boy and his fisherman father confront life and death at the edge of the ocean, where their idle drag boat, the Anne Marie, blankets them in a dream.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Semi-Finalist, Angelus Awards, 2009
CINE Golden Eagle Award, 2009
Kodak Honorable Mention, Excellence in Cinematography, 2008
Buying and Selling: Stanford Student Filmmakers on Bay Area Economies, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, 2013
South by Southwest Film Festival, 2009
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2009
Tiburon International Film Festival, 2009
Documenta Madrid, Spain, 2009
Palm Springs Short Film Festival, 2009
London International Documentary film Festival, United Kingdom 2009
FilmFestival FilmAcademy, Vienna, 2009
MO&FRIESES KinderKurzFilmFestival, Hamburg 2009
Fresno Film Festival, 2009
Rockport Film Festival, 2009

circus is life 

digital video
Co-directed by Michael Attie
MARCH, 2008

circus is life is the story of the close ties of teenage friendship, on stage and off, and the hope that some things will never change.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Dam Shorts Film Festival, 2009
Woods Hole Film Festival, 2008
Dam Shorts Film Festival, 2009
Encuentro Internacional de Escuelas de Cine, 2008

Roz (and Joshua) 

16mm black and white film
Watch Video

Roz was separated from Joshua when he was only seven months. Twelve years have passed, yet with hope and an unbreakable spirit, Roz lives for the time when they will be reunited.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Special Jury Award, CINE golden Eagle Award, 2009
Finalist, Angelus Student Film Festival, 2008
Cinema du Reel, 2009
One World International Film Festival, 2009
True/False Film Festival, 2009
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2009
Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival, 2008
Reel 13 Film Festival, 2008



June 13, 2009

Free and open to the public

June 10, 2008

Free and open to the public

Cubberley Auditorium
March 18, 2008

Free and open to the public.

December 11, 2007

This event is free and open to the public.