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Fall 2022 FDM PhD Program Student and Alumni News

A student gives an interview to a reporter in front of a video camera.

Film and Digital Media PhD student Shirin Towfiq (far right) gives an interview at the Eyes On Iran installation at Four Freedoms Park in New York City.


Fall 2022 PhD Student and Alumni News

The Film and Digital Media PhD program celebrates four completions this fall!

  • Isabelle Carbonell passed her dissertation defense with an impressive, practice-rich, expansive dissertation, Attuning to the Pluriverse: Documentary Filmmaking Methods, Environmental Disasters, and the More-Than-Human. Isabelle's committee included Irene Gustafson (chair), Anna Friz, and Anna Tsing.

  • Arturo Delgado Pereira successfully defended his dissertation entitled We Would Strike: Documentary Beyond Representation in a Post-Industrial Spanish Town, which deeply impressed his committee.  Turo's committee members included Anna Friz as chair, Irene Lusztig, Jenny Horne, and Nancy Chen, with special acknowledgement to the lasting impact of Jonathan Kahana's mentorship.

  • Yulia Gilichinskaya successfully defended their excellent dissertation, Geographies of Settler Innocence: Atlas of Decolonization.  Their dissertation chair was Neda Atanasoski, with committee members Sharon Daniel, Anna Friz, and Jennifer Kelly.

  • Abram Stern received great praise from his committee after the defense. His outstanding dissertation is entitled Techniques of Oversight and [Counter]Intelligibility 2000-2018 (A Few Small Opacities).  The committee members included Anna Friz (chair), Sharon Daniel, Rick Prelinger, and Warren Sack.

In more student and alumni news:

  • Shirin Towfiq was selected by Hank Willis Thomas’ For Freedoms artist collective to exhibit work in front of the UN. Shirin travelled to New York for a press preview for the Eyes On Iran installation at Four Freedoms Park, an ongoing event that faces the United Nations building in New York, happening alongside the UN’s decision process regarding Iran's status on the women's council. Shirin showed her work next to Shirin Neshat, JR, Hank Willis Thomas, Sheida Soleimani, Aphrodite Désirée Navab, Z, Icy and Sot, Mahvash, and Sepideh Mehraban. Shirin also had a recent solo show in Chico at 1078 Gallery and was the Hopper Visiting Lecturer at Chico State University.  Her artist talk is still available.
  • Film and Digital Media PhD graduates Christina Corfield and Elia Vargas both joined The Department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York as visiting assistant professors. These are two-year positions in a department that has been at the forefront of experimental media production for decades.
  • Current PhD student Yasmine Benabdallah's film How to reverse a spell, the promise of an archive (a film developed in FILM 200C) won the award for Best Experimental Short Film at Sharjah Film Platform, the Sharjah Art Foundation's film festival.  The film is a speculative triptych traversing the disappearance of the Moroccan public archives, the colonial displacement of videos, and finally, a prayer for an apocalyptic solar flare that can return things to how they never were. 
  • Bradford Nordeen, current PhD student, has published two articles.  "Rip It Up and Start Again: Charles Atlas’ video ‘Son of Sam and Delilah’ reflects the gory crises of its time,” is on Pioneer Works’ Broadcast with a 2-week embed of the work.  Cavernous: Young Joon Kwak and Mutant Salon, featuring writing by Bradford, Rudy Bleu Garcia and Anuradha Vikram was published through Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions at Heavy Manners Library in Los Angeles. This exhibition took place in 2018 and was the occasion for the last Dirty Looks: On Location to host a platform for queer activist seniors to share their stories amongst the artwork. The publication features quotes and a short article by Bradford.  Bradford will be doing the next Dirty Looks screening at Indexical on Saturday, January 14th: Rosa Von Praunheim's City of Lost Souls, 1983 - the trans punk musical you've never seen! 
  • Amy Reid has been awarded the 2022 Irene Ledesma Prize from the Coalition for Western Women's History.  The grant from CWWH will support her feature-length documentary film-in-progress, Grandmother’s Garden:  Women, Quilting, and U.S. History (part of her doctoral dissertation).  It will fund travel to Montana to access archival collections held at Montana State University, the Gallatin History Museum, and the Western Heritage Center, and to meet with contemporary quiltmakers from the Assiniboine and Sioux Nations at the Fort Peck Reservation.  Amy's film Long Haulers has also been shown at twice recently: Worker's United Film Festival in New York City as well as at The Prelinger Library.
  • Catching up from the summer, The August Docalogue about Faya Dayi (Jessica Beshir, 2021) featured current Film and Digital Media PhD student Merve Ünsal Genç and PhD graduate S. Topiary Landberg.
  • December's Docalogue is about Truth or Consequences by Hannah Jayanti, a current PhD student.  Jayanti is currently in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts.  She is working on a longstanding expanded documentary project called Topography which explores how humans relate to, and separate from, the concept of nature. Set in and around National Parks, the project explores how perspectives shape land, defining its futures across time, species, and history.
  • Gonzalo Nunez Galetto and Lior Shamriz have been nominated to participate in a new initiative for professional and creative development sponsored by the UCSC Arts Research Institute (ARI) in partnership with Strategic Planning Partners (SPP), the firm that developed the professional development program for Creative Capital.  Two Social Documentation MFA students were also nominated.
  • Lior Shamriz conducted a short film workshop at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  The three day long workshop was entitled Ciudades de Amor/Cities of Love.
  • Raed El Rafei and Darren Wallace, both current students, showed short films at the Pacific Film Archive as part of a series of short films that use appropriated footage. 
  • Alum Logan Walker served as the Director of Programming for this year's Santa Cruz Film Festival.
  • Brett Kashmere, a current PhD student, has an article published in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies: "Effecting Repair: A Canyon Cinema Report on the 'Rediscovery' of Toney W. Merritt.”  It's part of an In Focus dossier on "Film Programming as Social Justice Work in the Wake of COVID-19," edited by Terri Francis.
  • Congratulations to current student Erick Msumanje on being selected for the National Humanities Center 2022 Graduate Student Winter Program!  The 2023 program will focus on “Podcasting for the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public,” and will provide hands-on training for graduate students in the humanities to translate research, commentary, and community-sourced narratives into podcast episodes.
  • Recent alum Casondra Sobieralski will have an article, Cult and Copper: A VR Game Exploring the Intangible Heritage of Copper Smelting, published in the forthcoming book anthology "Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology," co-edited by Erez Ben-Yosef and Ian Jones for Springer Press. This article is based on her dissertation work and is such an exciting model for hybrid interdisciplinary research. Sobieralski is teaching Intoduction to Digital Media at SFSU this spring.
  • Marilia Kaisar has been selected for the 2023 cohort of the Graduate Pedagogy Fellows through the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning at UCSC.
  • Mahshid Modares (SocDoc alum and current PhD student) saw her first film, Sanctions on the Sky and her second film, Sanctions on Us were both accepted for Los Angeles LIFT-OFF Film Festival.