By The New School
Jan 4, 2007, 18:00

The Program provides aspiring Filmmakers with the opportunity to learn from industry veterans and noted Filmmakers on location in New York city.

Peter Davis Named 2006–07 Artist in Residence

New York, NY -- This fall, The New School launched its Documentary Media Studies program, designed for college graduates and working professionals interested in pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking or improving their skills and knowledge of this powerful medium. Over the course of one year, this certificate program challenges students with graduate-level work and offers them the resources of a major university located in the heart of New York City. The program welcomes applications from accomplished students (regardless of major) who are prepared for a serious and intense full-time learning experience. Upon completion, students may pursue a professional career in documentary filmmaking, earn a master’s degree—including the master’s degree in Media Studies at The New School where they may apply their documentary studies credits, or use their documentary skills to advance their work with social, political, or community organizations.

Applications for Fall 2007 are now being accepted, and AN INFORMATION SESSION WILL BE HELD ON December 12 at The New School in New York City. Please visit for more information.

With New York City as their backdrop, students learn about documentary history, theory, and video and film production. They also gain important hands-on experience—all students produce, direct and edit an original 30-minute documentary. With just 20 students enrolled each year, the program allows for extensive one-on-one interaction and personalized feedback from a core faculty of working professionals as well as renowned visiting artists. This fall, D.A. Pennebaker and Peter Davis were among the filmmakers to participate in the program. Davis is currently serving as artist-in-residence and this spring will teach a seminar, participate in public programs, and work individually with students on their projects.

Carol Wilder, chair of Media Studies at The New School, said, “New York City is home to some of the top documentary filmmakers in the country. But when we looked around in the city, we realized that a documentary studies program like this one didn’t exist. This program will give students the serious training they need to compete in the industry and help them find a voice for social issues of personal or professional concern in this powerful medium.”

“The 19 students who make up the inaugural class are a talented and diverse group,” said Annie Howell, assistant chair for Documentary Studies. “Many have lived or worked extensively abroad—representing nations including India, Serbia, Germany, Taiwan, Holland, Argentina, and Indonesia. All have interesting backgrounds that inform their work. While some students have documentary and film production experience, their careers also range from educator, video artist, and attorney to human rights activist, social worker, and criminologist.”

As part of the application process, each student is required to propose a 30-minute documentary focused on New York City, which they then film over the course of the program. The films of the inaugural class cover a wide range of subjects. Dana Bartle, for example, comes to The New School having studied history at the University of Colorado, Boulder; worked as a sommelier in New York City, and volunteered at Sing Sing prison. The last is the inspiration for her film Beyond the Living Shadows, which will focus on 58-year-old prison inmate Gregory Fredericks and his re-entry into society after 19 years in the system. Another student, Tina Grapenthin, studied anthropology in Germany and film at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has visited Indonesia as part of her previous fieldwork. Her film, Whitehouse Hostel, will examine the residents of the Whitehouse Hostel in New York’s Bowery district as they fight to remain in their homes, despite the impending commercialization of their building and neighborhood. The film will be shot from the perspective of hostel resident Richard Peterson, a former photographer in his 60s for whom eviction means a life on the streets.

The New School offered its first film course in 1926. Today The New School Media Studies and Film program offers a master’s degree in media studies as well as certificate programs in film production, screenwriting, media management and documentary media studies. Throughout its 36-year history, the Media Studies and Film program has been committed to the essential relationship between media theory and practice. In a world defined by rapidly changing information and communication technologies, the program is focused on innovation yet respectful of the integrity and potential contributions of all media formats, providing state-of-the-art instruction in audio, video, film, and multimedia. Today, more than 420 students are enrolled in the Media Studies MA program, making it the largest program of its kind.

Located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, The New School is a center of academic excellence where intellectual and artistic freedoms thrive. The 15,000 matriculated and continuing education students who attend the university’s eight schools enjoy a disciplined education supported by small class sizes, superior resources, and renowned working faculty members who practice what they teach. Artists, scholars, and students from all walks of life attend its diverse programs and can earn everything from program certificates to bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. When The New School was founded in 1919, its mission was to create a place where global peace and justice were more than theoretical ideals. New School students participate in programs that to this day strive for academic excellence, technical mastery, and engaged world citizenship.


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