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Fall 2021 Social Documentation Student, Alumni News

Melanie Ho in a bin with stuffed animals

Congratulations to our Class of 2021!  This group persevered through natural disasters, labor actions and uncertainty, and a global pandemic to complete their M.F.A. work.

  • Ernie Calderon's film, A Chilling Effect is a short, experimental documentary detailing the San Francisco Police Department’s pernicious use of a private network of cameras, aggregated to surveille protestors of the George Floyd murder, while deliberately circumventing a recently enacted San Francisco ordinance banning SFPD’s use of surveillance technology. This short film will investigate the subsequent lawsuit filed by three community activists, surveillance, and its panoptic leanings towards “chilling” individuals from exercising their First and Fourth Amendment Rights.
  • Courtney Coulson's film, Mazy Path, takes the viewer inside the strange world of Charles Brockden Brown’s 1798 novel, Wieland, inviting the viewer to reconsider what’s lurking beneath the surface of the “American Dream” .
  • Jordan Freeman's film and installation Sea State explores the physical, metaphorical and crisis space of the oceans and the land in an elemental poem immersing the viewer at the junction of earth, air, fire and water.
  • Fiorella Lema's film, Un Álbum De Recortes is an experimental animated documentary that looks at the emotional and spiritual journey of the filmmaker and their experience with living in the Peruvian diaspora. Inspired by DIY zines and digital colleges, this documentary uses iconography, pictures, and textures to create images and landscapes that reflect the imaginary dreamscapes and heart spaces that exist within the Diasporic experience.
  • Samantha Robison's film, 108 Max Lane, is a portrait of the Robison family ranch in McAllister, Montana. The film follows Max Robison through a visual journey of changing seasons in a life and process that is both raw and genuine. 
  • Hoda Sobhani's film, Letters From Two Continents is an attempt to revive a friendship that has faded away due to circumstances that imprisoned one and forced the other to emigrate. 
  • Lucas Solorzano's film, Sembrando Rebeldīa, Cosecha de Dignidad (Sowing Rebellion, Harvest of Dignity), is about a small town that confronts the expansion of an immigrant detention facility in their backyard. Collectively they fight for visions of abundance without cages. 

Please stay tuned for information on thesis film screenings! 

Current student Janet Chen has been profiled by the Arts Division for putting the stories of immigrants into focus. 

SocDoc alum Tad Nakamura has been awarded a prestigious Sundance Documentary Fund production grant.

Congratulations as well to alum Jackson Kroopf for winning the Shorts Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC. NASIR was directed by Nasir Bailey and Jackson Kroopf and produced by Jackson Kroopf.

SocDoc alum and current LALS PhD candidate Juan Davila celebrates the theatrical release across Puerto Rico of his new documentary film about resistance and solidarity in Puerto Rico.

2020 MFA alum Melanie Ho for joined the staff of the Southern Documentary Project at the University of Mississippi. Her thesis film, sống ở đây, was recently programmed at AAIFF(+ nominated for Excellence in Short Filmmaking - Documentary) and Middlebury Newfilmmaker Fest and was at the Viet Film Fest, New Orleans Film Fest, PAAFF, SDAFF, and NFMLA. It's also online at Argo. Melanie was also profiled recently in the Arts Division newsletter.

There has been more press for alum Egill Bjarnason's new book, How Iceland Changed the World through the UCSC News Center.