Recent Documentaries

Listed below are recent documentaries produced, directed, and shot by students in the yearlong seminar on ethnographic documentary video production, the capstone of the Program in Culture and Media. The first portion of the course is dedicated to instruction, exercises, and reading familiarizing students with fundamentals of video production and their application to a broad conception of ethnographic and documentary approaches. Assignments undertaken in the fall raise representational, methodological, and ethical issues in approaching and working through an ethnographic and documentary project. Students develop a topic and field site for their project early in the fall term, begin their shooting, and complete a short edited tape by the end of the first semester. This work should demonstrate competence in shooting and editing using HD digital video cameras, professional audio equipment, and Avid non-linear editing systems. Students devote the spring semester to intensive work on the project, continuing to shoot and edit, presenting work to the class and completing their ethnographic documentaries.

Every year new documentaries from the video production seminar are presented in a public screening at "Docs On the Edge: A Documentary Showcase." Many of these works have been featured at film festivals and picked up for distribution, as noted in the information on each piece.


video_images_2016_thomas.jpgThiaroye by the Sea
by Devin Thomas (Cinema Studies) 
Amidst the urban chaos of Dakar--Senegal's urban capital--one young woman struggles to find her voice as a rapper as she contends with the pressures of poverty, tradition, and religion. (In Wolof and French with English subtitles) (17 minutes)

video_images_2016_Gbai.jpgThe Bearden Project
by Chloe Gbai  (Gallatin)
In a time where the art world is concerned by the lack of African-American artists on gallery walls, this documentary reflects on one of the great black artists that has been waiting for more recognition, Romare Bearden.  (9 minutes)

video_images_2016_hazen.jpgIsland to Island
by Jacqueline Hazen (Anthropology) 
In the fall of 2015, Kris Kato, an emerging filmmaker, and Keoni DeFranco, the founder of a communications technology company, were initiated as kahu oli, caretakers of Hawaiian chant. Both young men live and work in New York City—but now, with the dual responsibilities to safeguard and to share this indigenous, Hawaiian familial tradition. Island to Island explores how Kris, Keoni and other members of the Hawaiian diaspora community are integrating oli into the sounds of the island of Manhattan. (20 minutes)

video_images_2016_baca.jpgShásh Jaa’: Bears Ears
by Angelo Baca (Anthropology) 
Shásh Jaa’ (Bears Ears) encompasses 1.9 million acres of southeastern Utah wilderness,sacred lands to local Native American tribes. Through the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, five tribal nations (Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Hopi, Zuni) come together to protect this pristine ecological area from natural resource extraction, development, and environmental destruction. This documentary follows Angelo Baca, the director,  and his grandmother, and the coalition’s efforts to convince the Obama administration to designate Bears Ears a  National Monument in partnership with these tribes. (In Navajo with English subtitles) (21 minutes)

video_images_2016_takayesu.jpgArchives of Extinction
by Alyse Takayesu (Anthropology) 
Throughout the 19th century, scientists transformed living birds into dried, stuffed, and otherwise preserved scientific specimens. Today, scientists seek to transform these lifeless specimens into living birds through the emerging science of de-extinction. Exploring these transformations, Archives of Extinction evokes questions about de-animating and reanimating forms of life and about the human role in disassembling and reassembling past and future ecologies. (12 minutes)

video_images_2016_livesey.jpgThe Part of Us that Belongs to God / 属灵方面
by Joseph Livesey (Anthropology) 
The Part of Us that Belongs to God provides an observational portrait of a typical Monday service at Tianfu United Methodist, offering a window into how Chinese culture and Christian teaching are combined to convey a message of hope for Chinese immigrants in New York City. (In Mandarin Chinese with English and Simplified Chinese subtitles) (11 minutes)

by Neta Alexander (Cinema Studies)
Grounded focuses on a Digital Detox weekend retreat in Marble Falls, Texas, where 147 participants  re-live their childhood summer camp experience at “Camp Grounded”. Is it possible to build a community in less than four days? What happens when tech-savvy adults are forced to ask who they are outside the narrow confines of age, occupation, or professional achievements? (16 minutes)

video_images_2016_cusimano.jpgThe Love Industry
by Matt Cusimano (Cinema Studies) 
How does one construct love in the digital world? Filmmaker, Matthew Cusimano, a professional wedding videographer, discovers Lisa Hoehn, a professional online dating profile ghostwriter. Cusimano relates to Hoehn’s exhaustive lifestyle of constructing the romantic stories of strangers and follows Hoehn’s creative process after her first book publication and exposure to the media. As Cusimano and Hoehn reflect on edited romance, Hoehn reveals the struggle with maintaining her own personal relationships and illustrates the complicated role of working in the relationship industry. (19 minutes)


by Ximena Amescua Cuenca (Cinema Studies) 
A glimpse into the everyday life of Juanita, a Mayan traditional doctor, midwife, nurse and activist. Leader of "The Awakening of the Women who Heal,"; an organization of midwives in the Orient of Yucatan, Mexico. Juanita has dedicated her life to helping others with her gift for healing. The film follows Juanita as she redefines the meaning of ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ medicine practices. (In Spanish and Mayan with English subtitles) (23 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival

video_images_2015_KellyAdams_THUMB.jpgOne Man’s Trash
by Kelly Adams (Draper Program) 
For 34 years, Nelson Molina has worked for the NYC Department of Sanitation, developing a unique relationship to the objects that fill the garbage bags lining the streets. With a keen curatorial eye for finding treasure in household trash, Nelson has created a collection of found objects in a sanitation garage in East Harlem, which he refers to as a museum of “Treasures in the Trash.” As the film follows Nelson on his route and through his collection, he encourages us to see the things that we encounter in daily life anew. (16 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival
2015 Event: "Life Along the Curb: Inside the Department of Sanitation of New York" ("Garbage and the City" Lecture Series)
2015 Nitehawk Shorts Festival
2015 Williamsburg Independent Film Festival
City Reliquary Museum's "Collector's Night" - December 2015

video_images_2015_KatieLeary1_THUMB.jpgRaise and Remember: A Father's Survival Story
by Katie Leary (Cinema Studies) 
In the thirteen years since September 11th, 2001, Bill Spade has retired from the fire department, raised two sons, and retold his remarkable story of survival to hundreds of tour groups. When the towers came down on 9/11, Spade thought only of his family. Now, Spade dedicates himself to sharing his story with others. The film explores what survival means for this Staten Island father whose personal memories are part of U.S. History. (22 minutes)

video_images_2015_LeeDouglas_THUMB.jpgWhat Remains
by Lee Douglas (Anthropology Department) 
Since 2000, forensic experts in Spain have exhumed an estimated 2,000 bodies from hundreds of mass graves. Although no official records have been kept, Experts believe that at least 118,000 victims of Franco’s fascist dictatorship have yet to be located. The film follows anthropologists Julián García and Jorge Moreno as they track one family’s attempt to piece together the effects of political violence. In this process, they make sense of and give meaning to a haunting past that, despite more than seven decades of silence, refuses to pass. (In Spanish with English subtitles). (29 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival
2015 ALBA Human Rights Doc Festival

video_images_2015_Zoanni_THUMB.jpgThe Ladies
by Tyler Zoanni (Anthropology Department) 
For 50 years, a group of Ukrainian women has gathered in New York’s East Village to make dumplings for their church. This observational short offers an evocative portrait of “the ladies” and the work that brings them together. (In Ukrainian with English subtitles) (14 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival


2014_GREEN.jpg Brooklyn Slice
by Anna Green (Cinema Studies)
Pizza is a quintessential, even iconic New York food, and John Minaci Jr. is a quintessential New Yorker. His Italian immigrant father founded Johnny’s Pizza in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in 1968, and John Jr. grew up working at the shop. As customers and family members circulate through the shop, this film paints a portrait of a small, rapidly changing section of Brooklyn. (12 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 Coney Island Film Festival

2014_TUTTLEMAN.jpgThe Cancer Mirror
by Sophie Tuttleman (Cinema Studies)
After losing her father to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, filmmaker Sophie Tuttleman reflects on her mother's battle with terminal brain cancer. The Cancer Mirror explores one daughter’s experience navigating her mother’s illness while coming to terms with the possibility of losing a second parent to cancer. (19 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 NYC Independent Film Festival
2014 Big Apple Film Festival
2015 San Diego Jewish Film Festival

Audience Award for Best Student Film - 2014 Big Apple Film Festival
Audience Award for Best Documentary Short - 2015 San Diego Jewish Film Festival

2014_BARTOLAMEDI.jpgNi Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There)
by Gabriela Bortolamedi (Anthropology)
An undocumented young woman from Mexico navigates the challenges of college as her parents struggle to make ends meet and support her in the pursuit of her dreams. (27 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival

Winner “Best Documentary Pitch” at the 2014 Fusion Film Festival

Distributed by:

2014_LSM.jpgA Correspondence
by Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi (Anthropology)
A Correspondence film brings to life the year-long correspondence between the filmmaker's grandparents during the post-war years. Constructed through photographs, letters, telegrams and archival footage from the era, their story is one of love across distance and the search for a partner during troubled times. (16 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival
2014 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2015 UK Jewish Film Festival

2014_Raheja.jpgCast in India
by Natasha Suresh Raheja (Anthropology)
Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short film is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City. (26 minutes)
In Hindi and Bengali with English subtitles.

Public Screenings:
2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival
Codes and Modes: The Character of Documentary Culture
DOC NYC Film Festival
Athens Ethnographic Film Festival - Athens, Greece
30th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Ceremony 
2015 Alligators in the Sewer Day - NYC
Eye Candy: Yale Graduate Film Conference
FIFEQ: The International Film Festival of Quebec
CAMRA: Screening Scholarship Media Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Futures of Visual Anthropology Conference: Making Space
Dallas International Film Festival 
ETNOfilm: 7th International Ethnographic Film Festival
Union Docs
ETHNOCINECA: Ethnographic and Documentary Film Fest Vienna
Montclair Film Festival
South Asian Day - Queens, NY
Workers Unite! Film Festival 
The People’s Film Festival 2015 - Maysles Cinema - Harlem, New York
2015 Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film - Bristol, UK
12th International Ethnofilm Festival – Heart of Slavonia
Checker Car Club of America Convention
Summer ETNOFILm Cinema
Woodpecker Film Festival September - Delhi, India
How Brooklyn Works - Brooklyn Historical Society
Bread and Roses Labor Films Screening; Global Labor Film Festival Conference
Finnish Anthropological Society – Landscapes, sociality and materiality
2015 ALBA Human Rights Doc Festival
Jeevika Documentary Festival - New Delhi, India
11th Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival - **Nominated for Best Documentary Short**
2015 Kameleon International Film Festival - Pondicherry, India


30th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Ceremony - Best Student Documentary Nominee
2015 Social Impact Media Awards Best Short Documentary Finalist and Jury Prize for Special Mention
Grand Jury Prize for Best Student Film - Dallas International Film Festival
ETNOfilm: 7th International Ethnographic Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize for Best Student Film
Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary - The People’s Film Festival 2015
Best Documentary Short - 2015 ALBA Human Rights Doc Festival

Distributed by:

Natasha was featured on the Brian Lehrer show for Cast in India. Check out her interview here (starts at 37:51)
November 2015 - Cast in India was featured in Gothamist
Featured on National Geographic's Short Film Showcase

2014_JANNEY.jpgLiving Quechua
by Christine Mladic Janney (Anthropology)
Elva Ambía's first language is Quechua, but when she left her town in Peru as a young woman to find work in the United States, speaking Spanish and English became critical for her to survive.While Quechua--a language indigenous to South America--continues to be spoken around the world as a result of such migration stories, UNESCO and other initiatives recognize it as an endangered language. Now in her seventies, Elva decides to help cultivate a Quechua-speaking community in New York City. Living Quechua follows Elva through the challenges and successes of trying to keep Quechua alive. (19 minutes). In Quechua and Spanish with English subtitles.

Public Screenings:
2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival
2014 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival ~ Washington DC
2015 Antropofest Film Festival ~ Prague, Czech Republic
NYWIFT screening: Immigrant Women: Sharing Our Voices Through Film Event ~ Maspeth, Queens, NYC
2015 Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival
May Sumak: Quichwa Film Showcase ~ New York, NY
2015 Chicago Latino Film Festival ~ Illinois, USA
ETHNOCINECA Ethnographic and Documentary FilmFest Vienna ~ Austria
Quechua Realities: A Discussion on Subjectivity and Screening of Living Quechua at the Left Forum ~ New York, NY, USA
A Transnational Journey through Quechua Languages and Cultures, Community Screening ~ Paterson, NJ, USA
Community Screening at Centro Latino ~ Krakow, Poland
The Americas Film Festival of New York ~ New York, NY, USA
Smithsonian Folklife Festival ~ Washington, DC, USA
Aboriginal Pavilion, Pan American Games ~ Toronto, Canada
Balboa Park Centennial Celebration ~ San Diego, CA, USA
Community Screening at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum ~ Ljubljana, Slovenia
Community Screening at La Peña Cultural Center ~ San Francisco, CA, USA
Cine+Más San Francisco Latino Film Festival ~ San Francisco, CA, USA
2015 International Festival of Ethnological Film ~ Belgrade, Serbia
2015 Festival Internacional del Cortometraje FIC ~ Buenos Aires, Argentina

Christine was featured on the Brian Lehrer show for Living Quechua. More info here.

2014_GRAHAM.jpgThe Regulars
by Zoe Graham (Cinema Studies)
The Manhattan Three Decker diner has been a favorite neighborhood eatery for sixty years. One of the few remaining diners in Greenpoint, every day it draws in old-timers, families and Polish locals, as well as a recent influx of hipsters. JoAnn, a middle-aged waitress who has lived in Greenpoint all her life, shares her stories about family and community as she keeps her regulars smiling, fed and in check! (12 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Brooklyn Film Festival

2014_BARTON.jpgFood for the Gods
by Scott Alves Barton (Food Studies)
Sacred leaves and food are essential to many Afro-Brazilian religious practices. This film observes rituals dedicated to the deity, Ossain, ‘King of the trees/sacred leaves.’ Ossain, a medicinal earth god, is one of the most significant deities in a pantheon of more than four hundred and fifty gods and goddesses. (16 minutes)

2014_DEJESUS.jpgPlayer 1, Player 2: Gamers in Love
by Lina M. De Jesús Golderos (Cinema Studies)
Couples grow closer to each other through their shared passion for video and computer games. Through humor and a competitive spirit, these gamer couples learn to navigate not only the games they play together, but also their relationships. (16 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2015 Rincon International Film Fest

Best Short Documentary - 2015 Rincon International Film Fest


video_images_2013_Barron.jpg Don't Take Advice From Hank Williams
by D.L. Barron (Anthropology)
This film follows the organizing efforts of Karen Pittelman and the emergent 'Queer Country' music scene in Brooklyn, New York. Musicians and fans in the queer country scene represent a wide array of sexual identities, but share a dedication to expanding and rethinking the music they love, even when it doesn't always love them back. (16 minutes)

video_images_2013_Guarana.jpgIn Dream I Dance
by Bruno Guaraná (Cinema Studies)
Bill Koch has been performing on New York’s stages for decades. Now focusing on his career as a theater director, playwright, and poet, Bill has created an artistic legacy of his own life experiences. This film documents Bill’s daily performance of life, as he reminisces about his past and finds support in a community of LGBT elders. (14 minutes)

video_images_2013_Montoya.jpgDoing The Sheep Good
by Teresa Montoya (Anthropology)
During the summer of 1966, two anthropologists traveled to the Navajo reservation in Pine Springs, Arizona to teach local youth how to make films as part of a research experiment. In 2013, the films, “Navajo Film Themselves," are finally returning to the community where they were made. Doing the Sheep Good charts the homecoming of the films and photographs as Navajo residents plan the very first community screening in over 46 years. What starts as a story about the return of the films develops into a tale of Navajo people reconnecting with each other as they seek to reclaim their communal history and imagine new futures through the legacy of film. (25 minutes)

Public Screenings:

2013 Margaret Mead Film Festival

2013 LA Skins Festival - Los Angeles, CA

2013 Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival

University of Denver - January 2014, Denver, CO

Brown University – April 2014, Providence, RI

2014 Futures of Visual Anthropology Film Festival at Temple University

Pine Springs Association – August 2014, Pine Springs, AZ

Native Film Series in conjunction with Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial – August 2014, Gallup, NM

NMAI Native Cinema Showcase in conjunction with SWAIA Indian Market – August 2014, Santa Fe, NM

Wellesley College – November 2014

BEST SHORT FILM - 2014 Futures of Visual Anthropology Film Festival at Temple University

video_images_2013_Baum.jpgRole Play
by Christopher Baum (CUNY Graduate Center, Anthropology)

“Master Avery” is a performer best known for his onscreen persona in sadomasochistic pornography. Yet after landing a part in an independent film that won critical acclaim, now “Christian Patrick” is contemplating a career in the larger film industry. This short film highlights how his kinky skills prove to be an ongoing source of inspiration and opportunity, as well as professional tension. (16 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 Futures of Visual Anthropology Film Festival at Temple University
2014 Vermont Bear Film Festival

video_images_2013_Wang.jpgSinging Jade
by Bing Wang (Cinema Studies)
Founded in 2005, the Columbus Park Senior Orchestra has provided a joyous experience to its members, who perform amateur Cantonese opera on the weekends. Singing Jade documents these endearing elders as they prepare for the New Year's Gala. Featuring two troupe members — Chen, a 75-year-old beloved diva, and Mei, a 60-year-old backstage supporter and babysitter — this film invites viewers to ponder what it means to grow old as an immigrant and an artist with youthful, musical “jade.” (23 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2014 Queens World Film Festival
Ethnografilm Festival in Paris
Screening Scholarship Media Festival at University of Pennsylvania
2014 Futures of Visual Anthropology Film Festival at Temple University


video_images_2012_Potts_ChildsPoseTHUMB.jpgChild's Pose: Yoga in a NYC Public School
by Rowena Potts (Anthropology)
Across the United States, public schools are embracing yoga and meditation to counter some of the challenges facing children in the inner city. An in-depth chronicle of one colorful New York City classroom, Child’s Pose explores the experiences of several children as they engage with the physical and emotional practice of yoga, both on, and off, the mat. (28 minutes)

video_images_2012_Chan_MoreThanTHUMB.jpgMore than a Face in the Crowd
by Sami Chan (Anthropology, undergraduate program)
A filmmaker explores the life of her 100-year-old great-aunt, Jane Chung, an actress who made a career for herself at a time when Asian Americans faced widespread racism in Hollywood. Jane has had parts in over fifty films and TV shows including Chinatown, When Harry Met Sally, M.A.S.H. and I Love Lucy, yet most of her roles are uncredited. Through the story of Jane Chung’s life and career, More Than a Face in the Crowd reveals a larger, untold story of Asian American actors and extras in Hollywood. (25 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2013 Asian American International Film Festival
University of Washington - Seattle, WA
2013 Southwest Oral History Association Conference - University of Nevada Las Vegas
2013 Davis Feminist Film Festival
CAAMFest 2013 (formerly the San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival)

Distributed by: Films Media Group

Currently Streaming on:

video_images_2012_Bajogjli_Skin_THUMB.jpgThe Skin that Burns
by Narges Bajoghli (Anthropology)
The Skin That Burns tells the story of Iran’s volunteer soldiers who were exposed to chemical bombs during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). The film follows veteran Ahmad Salimi, who is now legally blind and has scars throughout his body from exposure to chemical weapons. From the daily regimen of pills that Ahmad has to take to the inhalers that allow him to breathe, Ahmad’s story reveals the deadly affects of chemical bombs, a rarely talked about consequence of modern warfare. Following Ahmad’s story as he struggles to stay alive and fights for peace, The Skin That Burns explores issues of chemical warfare, how families struggle with disability and illness, and chronicles one man's determination to live, despite it all. (22 minutes)  

Public Screenings:
2013 Noor Iranian Film Festival
Princeton University
Loyola University, New Orleans
2013 Peace on Earth Film Festival
Columbia University, Journalism School
Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies - New York University
Jaipur International Film Festival, India
The Hague - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Hiroshima, Japan - The 20th International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Conference "From Hiroshima to Future Generations"
University of California, Irvine
2015 SVA Film & Media Festival

Distributed by: Films Media Group

video_images_2012_Dern_OnOffTHUMB.jpg On The Cusp, Off The Cuff
by Nate Dern (Columbia University, Sociology)
A sociologist and an improv comedian, filmmaker Nate Dern follows five aspiring comedians hoping to make it onto a house team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Since it was founded in NYC in 1998, the UCB Theatre has become a training ground for the country's top comedic talent. This film explores the motivations and dreams of five comedy hopefuls while providing an insider's look into the exclusive New York City improv community. (38 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2013 Manhattan Film Festival


video_images_Hageman_You.jpgYou, As Seen On TV
by Eva Hageman (Department of Social and Cultural Analysis / American Studies)
Who gets cast for Reality TV? They are characters we love, love to hate, and are embarrassed to admit we know by name. You, As Seen On TV follows reality hopeful Jack Miller as he learns to play himself in front of the camera.  From New York to L.A., this film offers a behind-the-scenes look at making characters in reality television. (22 minutes)

video_images_Crescente_Russia.jpgRussia Will Pay for My Funeral: The Lives of Irina Shmeleva
by Joe Crescente (Anthropology)
Famed Soviet actress Irina Shmeleva left Russia in the late 1990s, convinced that her acting career was over.  Russia Will Pay for My Funeral explores the life of one Soviet celebrity as she negotiates her transition from honored film actress in Moscow to small business owner in New York City. (17 minutes)

video_images_Chen_SMD.jpgShaan Mutiyaaran Di Bhangra Club: The Pride of Women
by Wenrui Chen (Anthropology)
Bhangra is a North Indian folk dance traditionally done by men. The young women of the all-female bhangra team Shaan Mutiyaaran Di Bhangra Club (SMD) face off against 9 other teams at the Bhangra Fever 3 competition. Team captain Dheerja and teammates Priya and Navi narrate the challenges they face as an all-female bhangra team with no coach or institutional support. Can SMD win with their unique take on bhangra? (16 minutes)

video_images_Murray_Kiss.jpgA Kiss for Gabriela (an excerpt from a work-in-progress)
by Laura Murray (Columbia University, Anthropology)
Gabriela Leite is the first sex worker to run for Brazilian Congress. A Kiss for Gabriela follows her 2010 campaign as she faces 822 opponents and challenges Brazil's male dominated political system to see if a sex worker, activist, wife, mother, and cultural icon can beat the odds and win the election. (32 minutes)

Public Screenings (partial list):

HIPS and CHANGE, Washington D.C. - February 2014
2014 Athena Film Festival, NYC
2013 London Sex Worker Film Festival
2013 Margaret Mead Film Festival (NYC Premiere)
2013 Kansas City Film Festival
2013 Arizona International Film Festival
The New School for Social Research - April 2013
Queens College - April 2013
International Law Society and International Women’s Human Rights – City University of New York - April 2013
Princeton University - April 2013
Columbia University - April 2013
“A Kiss for Sex Workers Rights” at Uniondocs - April 2013
2013 Mujeres en Foco International Film Festival (Argentina Premiere)
2013 San Francisco Sex Worker Festival (US West Coast Premiere)
2012 Sex Worker Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany
Finalist for the – Prêmio Pierre Verger de Video Etnográfico Associação Brasileira de Antropologia, (Brazilian Anthropological Association) July, 2012
2012 FEMINA – International Women’s Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
2012 Global Village, XIX International AIDS Conference, Washington D.C.
2012 Sex Worker Freedom Film Festival, Kolkata, India
2012 Australian Anthropological Society Conference Film Festival, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
2012 VIII Cinema Mostra Aids, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Winner “Best Documentary Pitch” at the 2011 Fusion Film Festival

Distributed by:


video_images_Banerjee_BelovedWitness.jpgThe Beloved Witness
by Dwaipayan Banerjee (Anthropology)
The poetry of Agha Shahid Ali is acknowledged to be one of the most powerful representations of the war-torn region of Kashmir. This film looks back at Shahid's life in exile in America, where he transformed 20th century American poetry by weaving it together with Islamic forms, while at the same time leaving an unforgettable impression in the lives of many artists, writers and friends. (20 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2010 Mahindra Indo-America Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival, NYC

video_images_Kisin_CitizenshipArchive.jpgCitizenship Archive
by Eugenia Kisin (Anthropology)
In 1913, the amateur ethnographer Joseph K. Dixon led an expedition to reservations across the United State that promised symbolic American citizenship to Native Americans. The only material traces of the expedition — photographs — are contained within two drawers at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Offering a speculative and critical reading of the expedition through photographs, this film explores the question of what the colonial archive remembers — and what it forgets. (14 minutes)

video_images_Floyd_TantoPlaysHimself.jpgTonto Plays Himself
by Jacob Floyd (Cinema Studies)
While researching American Indian actors in Depression-era Hollywood, aspiring Native filmmaker Jacob Floyd finds a surprising and unknown personal connection to a strange footnote in Hollywood history. This discovery leads him to confront his own issues and anxieties about representation in film, as he revisits his love of movies and his aversion to film Westerns. (21 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2013 Margaret Mead Film Festival
2011 Native American Film + Video Festival NYC
7th Annual Native American Short Film Showcase - 2011
Viscult 2010, The Festival of Visual Culture - Joensuu, Finland

video_images_Heuson_SweetClover.jpgSweet Clover, a homecoming
by Jen Heuson (Media, Culture & Communication)
For filmmaker Jen Heuson, the Black Hills of South Dakota hold much more than national icons. The Hills are home to a family pilgrimage dating back almost a century. Following the death of her grandmother, Jen takes her grandfather Harvey on one last trip to the Black Hills. Through Super-8mm film and non-synchronous audio recordings, Sweet Clover unravels the landscapes of memory, nostalgia, and imagination they encounter along the way. (17 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2011 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
FLEX FEST 2011 - The Florida Experimental Film and Video Art Festival
2011 Black Maria Film + Video Festival
2011 Big Muddy Film Festival

Director's Choice Award - 2011 Black Maria Film + Video Festival
Best Experimental Film - 2011 Big Muddy Film Festival

video_images_FirstVoices_Cordova.jpgFirst Voices
by Amalia Córdova (Cinema Studies)
From a studio on Wall Street, global indigenous voices stream to the world through a unique radio show produced and hosted by Tiokasin Ghosthorse, a tireless Lakota activist, musician and journalist. This film highlights Tiokasin’s efforts to build awareness of the Native experience through media and art. (8 minutes)

Public Screenings:

2011 Native American Film + Video Festival NYC
2011 First Peoples' Festival PRÉSENCE AUTOCHTONE
35th American Indian Film Festival - San Francisco, California

video_images_Berthe_Buggin_Out.jpgBuggin' Out
by Jamie Berthe (Media, Culture & Communication)
For the past several years, New Yorkers have been fighting bed bugs in shame, solitude, and silence. Buggin’ Out is filmmaker Jamie Berthe’s attempt to break this silence: it chronicles the epidemic from the eye of the storm, following Jamie as she comes to grips with her own infestation and embarks upon a quest for answers about one of Mother Nature’s most formidable and resilient foes. (21 minutes)

Public Screenings:

2011 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
Viscult 2010, The Festival of Visual Culture - Joensuu, Finland


video_images_2009_cool.jpgSeparation Anxiety
by Alison Cool (Anthropology)
Alison and Georgia Cool are 26-year-old identical twins. They don't wear matching outfits anymore, but their intensely close relationship is still the defining feature of their lives. Separation Anxiety reveals the secret world of twins where jealousy and self-consciousness compete with the weird comfort of never being alone. (14 minutes)

video_images_2009_moll.jpgFashioning Faith
by Yasmin Moll (Anthropology)
Muslim clothing designers in New York City struggle to combine high fashion with a sense of piety. Their designs aim to stay true to Islamic principles of feminine modesty while attempting to break into a fashion scene marked more by exposed shoulders than covered hair. In the process these young women designers are redefining what it means to be a modern Muslim in contemporary America. (22 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2012 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

2012 Davis Feminist Film Festival
2011 Women's Voices Now: Voices from the Muslim World Film Festival
2010 Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2009 MESA Annual FilmFest, Boston, MA
2009 Fashion Matters: Fashion and Faith Series, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

video_images_2009_wilking.jpgCarmen's Place
by Anna Wilking (Anthropology)
Carmen's Place is an intimate portrayal of life at a transgender friendly shelter for teenagers run by an Epsicopalian priest. For many of the residents, life at Carmen's Place is the first real home they've ever experienced. Through spiritual guidance, community building and his philosophy of radical acceptance, Father Braxton teaches residents how to become self-sufficient adults who accept themselves and their gender identities. (18 minutes)

Public Screenings:

2011 Merlinka International Queer Film Festival (DokuMerlinka)
2010 El Lugar Sin Limites (The Place Without Limits) Festival de Cine BGLT
8th Annual Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival - 2010
FRAMELINE 34 -2010 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival
2010 Mexico International Film Festival
2010 Boston Underground Film Festival
2009 REELING 28 The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
2009 Queens International Film Festival
Queens Museum of Art - June 2010

2010 Bronze Palm Award - Mexico International Film Festival
Best Documentary Short - El Lugar Sin Limites (The Place Without Limits) Festival de Cine BGLT


video_images_2009_agnor.jpgLocal Celebrity
by Geoff Agnor (Gallatin)
Kensington, Brooklyn used to be frequented by politicians and celebrities like Robert Kennedy and Ed Sullivan. While the neighborhood has changed dramatically over the years through immigration and gentrification, there are still plenty of stories to be told by longtime residents. Local Celebrity features a few public characters on Church Avenue, the heart of Kensington. Their gritty, glamorous, and exuberant presence has earned them a degree of local fame, contributing to the ever-evolving personality of one Brooklyn neighborhood that they still call home. (17 minutes)


video_images_2009_srivastava.jpgDesi Girls
by Ishita Srivastava (Cinema Studies)
What role does the South Asian LGBT community in New York City play in the life of 'A', who is afraid to tell her family that she is a lesbian? In contrast, what do Priyanka, an openly gay woman who lives with her girlfriend and Ashu, a DJ who runs Sholay productions, a social events group for queer South Asians, gain from being a part of this community? Desigirls explores what their varying experiences tell us about the role of minority community groups in a diverse and often fractured immigrant society. (18 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2008 Engendered Festival, NYC

Coverage of Desi Girls on

video_images_2009_ang.jpgThe Brothers of Kappa Pi
by Roberto Reyes Ang (Cinema Studies)
Why do so many recently arrived Filipino youth join gangs? How have some of these restless youth channeled their angst towards human rights advocacy and community service instead of gang warfare or even worse, murder? The Brothers of Kappa Pi is the story of a fraternity based in Queens, New York. Kappa Pi is comprised of young Filipinos, mainly immigrants, fostering the ideals of their Philippine revolutionary heroes. While Kappa Pi is a service-oriented and politically-conscious fraternity, it mimics the structure of a gang to attract new recruits who might otherwise be drawn to the dangerous life of real urban gangs. (18 minutes)

Public Screenings:
1st Annual Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival - Philippines
2010 Wanderings Film Festival - Huntsville, Alabama
FACINE/19: The 19th Annual Filipino American Cine Festival
F-Cubed: Filipino Film Festival and Cultural Exhibit 2014

video_images_2009_fox.jpgWorking Towards Devotion
by Jason Fox (Gallatin)
Sure, they're under a tight deadline to finish work for an upcoming art exhibition, but Baseera and Jason have a bigger problem. She's under another deadline to satisfy her parents' wishes to marry a devout Muslim man. But Jason isn't Muslim, and Baseera's parents don't even know he's already living with their daughter. Is he willing to convert to Islam to save his relationship and win her parent's approval? (23 minutes)


video_images_2008_hennington_press.gifHenington Press
by Neal Solon (Cinema Studies)
For decades, David Harris has run his Brooklyn print shop using some of the same basic tools his father and grandfather did. Now, this family business, which opened in 1912, and the technology it employs are on the verge of disappearing. (10 minutes)

video_images_2008_grannies.gifGrannies Against the War
by Nina Krstic (Cinema Studies)
A group of elderly women explore what it means to be anti-war activists in present-day America, as they work tirelessly to inspire youth action and re-define what it means to grow old. (18 minutes)

video_images_2008_mystery_shop.gifMystery Shop
by Anoosh Tertzakian (Cinema Studies)
Thirty-year-old Grant Captanian inherited an Upper East Side building overflowing with treasures and trash his father collected for over 50 years. Day after day, Grant attempts to free himself from his father's legacy with his makeshift "Mystery Shop" that the neighborhood can't live without. (15 minutes)

video_images_2008_singer_with_band.gifSinger With the Band
by Heather Weyrick (Anthropology)
The TV series Life Goes On was a turning point for filmmaker Heather Weyrick. It was the first time she saw a family like hers on TV — a family that included developmental disability. Through the experiences of her sister Stefanie, and the star of Life Goes On, Chris Burke, Heather explores what television can teach us about diversity and what it is like to be a performer with a developmental disability. (24 minutes)

video_images_2008_erotic_lines.gifErotic Lines
by Carolina Larrain (Cinema Studies)
After turning fifty, Carolyn Weltman gave up her office job and dedicated herself to making erotic art. Erotic Lines explores Weltman's history and dedication while revealing her personal creative approach to this distinct art form. (14 minutes)

Public Screenings:
DIVA, Festival Internacional de Cine Diversidad Valparaíso
2010 Festival de Cine B//3 (retrospective)
FESANCOR 2009, Festival Chileno Internacional del Cortometraje de Santiago

Best Montage, DIVA, Festival Internacional de Cine Diversidad Valparaíso
Best Documentary Research, DIVA, Festival Internacional de Cine Diversidad Valparaíso

video_images_2008_no_free_lunch.gifNo Such Thing as a Free Lunch
by Tate LeFevre (Anthropology)
Freegans, a group of anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist activists—best known for eating food found in the garbage—struggle to represent themselves and their mission in the mainstream media. (19 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2008 International Student Ethnographic Film Festival

2008 International Student Ethnographic Film Festival Jury Award

video_images_2008_moms_name_jean.gifMy Mom's Name is Jean
by Myles David Jewell (Cinema Studies)
Myles Jewell is not proud of the fact that he still relies on his mother Jean to make his doctor's appointments, keep track of his bills, and buy his clothes - even though he lives 300 miles away. In an effort to retire from his adolescence, Myles moves home for a month to call his mom by her first name. Will his experiment help him to stop depending on her or will Myles fall into the same old habits he's trying to break? (27 minutes)

Public Screenings:
9th Festival of Visual Culture, Viscult 2009
2008 Boston Film Festival



video_images_2007_smoke_screen.jpgSmoke Screen
by Wazhmah Osman (Culture and Communication)
When the rising number of suspicious fires that have been breaking out in Brooklyn begin to surround her own apartment, filmmaker Wazhmah Osman responds with her camera. She sets out to find the stories and situations of people burnt out of their homes and meets the community groups who have organized to challenge the larger forces that are changing their cityscape. (28 minutes)

video_images_2007_aunt_gloria.jpgGreat Aunt Gloria
by Sabra Thorner (Anthropology)
What does it mean to be a glamorous uptown girl turned elderly Parkinson's patient in New York City? In spite of increasingly debilitating physical limitations, Gloria Thorner is determined to live life in her own way. Through the relationship between the filmmaker and her great aunt, this film explores how memories of the past inform present understandings of ourselves and our loved ones. (25 minutes)

Distributed by: Films Media Group

video_images_2007_skullboy.gifHeart And Skull
by Lauren Kogen (Cinema Studies)
After working for four years as a production artist at Marvel Comics, Jacob Chabot has finally quit his job in order to pursue his artistic dreams full-time. In seeking critical and popular success for his most recent comic, "The Might Skullboy Army," Jacob shows that optimism and imagination are essential survival tools for independent artists. (24 minutes)

video_images_2007_arpa_vijera.jpgArpa Viajera
by Orlando Lara (Anthropology)
Arpa Viajera joins Verónica Valerio, a Katrina evacuee and Mexican singer, as she journeys to her performances through the subways and city streets of New York City with little more than her voice and her five-foot harp. Just as Verónica begins to make a space for herself in the Latino music scene of New York City, she is forced to choose between the music of her roots, the music of her future, and the music that will earn her permission to stay in the United States. (13 minutes)

video_images_2007_eau_de_parfum.jpgEau de Parfume
by Sara Rashkin (Cinema Studies)
In the world of fine fragrance whale vomit can be as valuable as rose extract and being called a nose is a compliment. Offering a rare glimpse behind the scenes of fragrance production, with insight from a top perfumer, The New York Times perfume critic, a local designer, and passionate perfume fans, this film will change the way you see that little bottle of perfume on the counter. (28 minutes)


video_images_2006_Chang.jpgNothing to Lose
by Robert Chang (Anthropology)
Nothing to Lose introduces viewers to a group of fat New Yorkers who try to make The Big Apple a better place for people of all shapes and sizes. Seeking to end discrimination based on body size, fat activists appear on television and radio, organize local guerrilla actions against the diet-industry, and build size-accepting communities. (18 minutes)

Official Website:

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

Public Screenings:
2008 American Psychological Association Convention - Boston, MA.
2008 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival - Ithaca, NY.
2007 Heavy Rotation’s “Body Positive Film Night”. - San Francisco, CA.
2007 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Meeting - Boston, MA.
2007 Screening and Q&A with panel of activists sponsored by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University.
2006 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2006 Tremblant Film Festival - Mt. Tremblant, Quebec

video_images_2006_Fletcher.jpg"I'm on Strike Because..."
by Steve Fletcher (American Studies)
Accurately describing a worker's reasons for going on strike requires nuance, complexity, and context Ð luxuries the striking workers at NYU don't have if they want media attention for their cause. This film documents, analyzes, and participates in the Graduate Student Organizing Committee's attempts to create simple, media-friendly messages and events that earn news coverage of their ongoing labor struggle. (21 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2008 AFL-CIO DC Labor FilmFest
2007 Reelworks Film Festival - Santa Cruz, CA
"Humanities or Human Resources? The Future of Ethnic Studies and Labor in the Corporate University" (NYU academic conference) - April 2007

video_images_2006_Fraga.jpgI Found This Tape
by Christopher Fraga (Anthropology)
Found art challenges conventional assumptions about what art looks like. Despite the misleading label, it involves a great deal of work. With this video, Brian Belott, a found artist working in New York, offers his idiosyncratic vision of the labor and the passion he has invested in "finding" art since his youth. (19 minutes)

video_images_2006_Kassamali.jpgTaming the Gaze
by Sorayya Kassamali (Cinema Studies)
This filmic meditation on the Bronx Zoo examines our conventional ways of seeing exotic, endangered animals in artificially created habitats. Throughout this film we see how the zoo is also a forum for wildlife education, allowing captive animals to act as ambassadors for the protection of their wild counterparts. (24 minutes)

video_images_2006_Price.jpgThe Professor
by Jason Price (Anthropology)
Professor David Kpormakpor served as interim President of Liberia during its disastrous civil war, yet his incorruptibility assured his downfall. He now lives alone on welfare in a one-bedroom apartment in a housing project on Staten Island. Through an intimate portrait of an unforgettable man, The Professor is a meditation on the nature of character in an often unjust world. (22 minutes) 

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

Official Website:

Public Screenings:
2007 Montreal Ethnographic Film Festival
2007 New York Underground Film Festival
2007 Oxford International Film Festival
2007 Iowa City Documentary Film Festival
2007 K'a -Yelema Real Life Documentary Film Festival
2007 Twin River Multimedia Festival
2007 SouthSide Film Festival
2007 Staten Island Film Festival
2007 River's Edge Film Festival
2007 Rome International Film Festival
2007 African Studies Association Conference, Rutgers University, NJ
2007 Red Bank International Film Festival
2007 Africa World Festival of Documentary Films
2008 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY
2008 European Association of Social Anthropologists' Film, Video & New Media Festival, Slovenia

video_images_2006_Stankiewicz.jpgMamun's Hot Dogs
by Damien Stankiewicz (Anthropology)
This film follows Mamun, a hot dog vendor and recent Bangladeshi immigrant, as he rolls, day after day, from the stark East Village garage where he stores his cart to various locations in upscale SoHo. As we follow Mamun's cart we also follow Mamun's movement, real and imagined, from Bangladesh to Brooklyn and back again. (19 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2007 "Ethnographies Without Texts" Workshop, Media Anthropology Laboratory, Harvard University
2008 FIFEQ International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec (Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec), Université Laval, Quebec City

video_images_2006_Strickland.jpgAt the Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea
by April Strickland (Anthropology)
Earrings, Decanters, Cannons, never know what you'll find under the surface. This film follows a group of experienced scuba divers as they navigate the pleasures and dangers of their craft and explore deep-water wrecks off the shores of Long Island. (15 minutes)

video_images_2006_Ventimiglia.jpgDream Theater
by Andrew Ventimigilia (Cinema Studies)
The New York Soul Dreamers is a group of dream explorers and adventurers who are dedicated to tearing down the wall separating the dream world from the waking world. "Dream Theater" follows this community as they discuss, perform, honor and pursue their dreams. (17 minutes)

video_images_100_0284.JPGCostume Play
by Ray Vichot (Cinema Studies)
Cosplay (or "costume play") is a vital activity in the world of Japanese animation fandom. This film follows Jose Rivera from Brooklyn to Washington D.C. as he goes to Katsucon, one of the largest Anime conventions in the country. There he meets distant friends and competes with fellow fans as he plays with the characters he portrays in costume. (21 minutes)


video_images_Pakrashi_Between.jpgBetween the Notes: A Journey With Indian Classical Music (Cinema Studies)
byJanhavi Pakrashi (Cinema Studies)
Hindustani Classical Music, an ancient tradition historically tied to the Indian subcontinent, found its way to the United States in 1906. A century later, this piece documents directions being taken by a new generation of interpreters who are actively evolving and integrating the form into their work and lives. (17 minutes)

video_images_Lears_BigFish.jpgBig Fish/Small Fry: Urban Angling in New York
by Rachel Lears (Anthropology)
Following two fishermen from different parts of New York City, this film explores what the sport means to anglers young and old. While adults like Anthony relax in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, 12-year old Polito and his friends compete for bass in the waters of East Harlem. (18 minutes)

video_images_Matzner_Bitter.jpgBitter Wonder: Marie Roberts' Coney Island Winter
by Deborah Matzner (Anthropology)
As snows blanket Coney Island, an artist paints sideshow banners in preparation for the spring season. Through her painting, Marie Roberts invokes memories of the Coney Island of the past as well as hopes for the venerable neighborhood's future. (18 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2005 Coney Island Film Festival
2005 The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art

video_images_Bessire_FromHoney.jpgFrom Honey to Ashes
byLucas Bessire(Anthropology)
In March, 2004 one of the world's last isolated indigenous groups decided to come out of the forest in Paraguay. This video documents their efforts to make sense of their new circumstances, and reflects on the broader implications of contact in the 21st century. (48 minutes)

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

Public Screenings:
2010 Latin American Film Festival - Finland
2010 Espressofilm festival - Vienna, Austria
2009 Archaeology Channel Film Festival - Eugene, OR
2009 Latin American Studies Association Film Festival - Argentina
2009 Ethnocineca - Wein, Austria
2009 Days of Ethnographic Film - Slovenia
Worldfilm 2009 - Tartu Festival of Visual Culture - Estonia
2009 Native American Film + Video Festival
2008 "Ownership and Appropriation," Joint Conference of the ASA, the ASAANZ and the AAS - University of Auckland, New Zealand
2008 Delhi International Ethnographic Film Festival - India 

Most Inspirational, 2009 Archaeology Channel Film Festival - Eugene, OR

video_images_Rau_Esperanta.jpgEsperanta Novjorko (Hopeful New York)
by Pilar Rau (Anthropology)
La Universala Lingva was invented by a teenager living in Warsaw's Jewish ghetto to end clashes between ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups. Surviving the atrocities of the twentieth century, it spread world wide. Meet the Esperantists of New York City who dare keep Zamenhof's language and dream of international peace and communication alive. (20 minutes)

by Naomi Schiller (Anthropology)
Girlstory follows a vibrant group of high school girls and their mentors who write and perform poetry around New York City. With humor and sharp self-awareness, these girls boldly confront loss, sexuality, family expectations, and love. (25 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2006 The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
2005 Bronx Museum of the Arts

video_images_Dudek_SoHo.jpgSoHo Tui-Na
by Ingrid Dudek (Anthropology)
Chinese Tui-Na bodywork salons have been cropping up all over New York City. This film takes us into one such establishment where the employees work long hours so that New Yorkers can reduce their level of stress and maintain the proper flow of qi. (21 minutes)

video_images_Guitart_Worms.jpgWorms in the Big Apple
by Jenn Guitart (Anthropology)
All over New York City, tiny creatures are transforming our garbage into soil. This film explores the fascinating, fun, and sometimes stinky culture of urban composting. (19 minutes)

Worms in the Big Apple appeared on "Natural Heroes," the Emmy award-winning public television series.

Public Screenings:
Reel Earth Aotearoa Environmental Film Festival, Palmerston, New Zealand, May 2008
Making Brooklyn Bloom, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, March 2008
Frozen River Film Festival, Winona, MN Jan 2008
Planet In Focus Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, Oct 2007
Rochester International Film Festival, Rochester, NY, May 2007
Viscult - Festival of Visual Culture, Joensuu, Finland, Sept 2006
Earth Day Celebration, Eugene Oregon, April 2006
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival, Leavenworth, WA, March 2006
Graduate Association of Visual Anthropologists 2005 Visual Culture Conference, Nov 2005 


video_images_Dorsey_Bodies.jpgBodies of Water-Voodoo Identity and Transformation
by Lilith Dorsey (Cinema Studies)
A personal exploration into the mysterious sacred universe of Voodoo. Paramount in the Voodoo tradition is a connection to the water as a site of transformational fluid and solidarity. In this work worshippers are connected to this elemental power, constantly changing and adapting like the waterways they mimic to provide guidance, nourishment, and inspiration. (19 minutes)

video_images_Homan_FoundSound.jpgFound Sound: Music for Homemade Instruments
by Caroline Homan (Anthropology)
All around New York City, people make, play, and circulate homemade instruments as they search for new sounds. From recycled instruments to hybrid instruments, this film explores the inventions and interventions happening in the musical art world. (20 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2004 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

video_images_Datig_Friends.jpgFriends in High Places
by Ilka Datig (Anthropology)
People join the Tall Club of New York City for all types of reasons-fun, friendship, career development, even romance. This film introduces some of the club's members and explores the history, present, and future of tall clubs in America. (17 minutes)
Public Screenings:
2005 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival 

by Lydia Boyd (Anthropology)
More than mere accessories, the hats of Mildred's Hat Shop and Mary's Fashion Hats are designed with "hattitude" in mind. This documentary tracks the preparations for Easter by customers of these two Brooklyn shops, where hats are valued as symbols of particular ideas about womanhood, status and religiosity. (17 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2004 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

video_images_HuertaMercado_InMovimiento.jpgIn Movimiento: The Adventures of the First Peruvian Gay Movement in New York
by Alex Huerta-Mercado(Anthropology)
Being gay in Peru might be as difficult as being Peruvian in New York, and people from the First Peruvian Gay Movement accept both challenges as a community. The film explores how this group uses different perceptions of Peruvian identity as part of their strategy for adapting to new circumstances. (23 minutes)

video_images_Glass_InSearch.jpgIn Search of the Hamat'sa: A Tale of Headhunting
by Aaron Glass (Anthropology)
The Hamat'sa (or "Cannibal Dance") is the most importantand highly representedceremony of the Kwakwaka'wakw people of British Columbia. This film traces the history of anthropological depictions of the dance and, through the return of archival materials to a Native community, presents some of the ways in which diverse attitudes toward this history inform current presentations of the Hamat'sa. (33 minutes)

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

Public Screenings:
Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY - June 2015
Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY - February 2011
2009 Australian Anthropological Society Film Festival - Sydney, Australia
2009 Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival - Taipei, Taiwan    
2008 Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival - New York, NY
Society for Cultural Anthropology meeting - Long Beach, CA - May 2008 
2006 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival - San Jose, CA
8th Astra Ethnographic Film Festival - Sibiu, Romania - 2006 
Mediating Camera: Third International Visual Anthropology Film Festival and Conference - Moscow, Russia - 2006
XIII Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival - Nuoro, Italy - 2006
20th Pärnu International Film Festival - Pärnu, Estonia - 2006 
2006 Beeld voor Beeld Festival - Amsterdam, Holland
2006 Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Musée de l’Homme - Paris, France
Moving Pictures 3, Institute of European Ethnology, University of Humboldt - Berlin, Germany - 2005
2005 Congress on Dance Research International Conference - Montreal, QB
2005 Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival - Oxford, England
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia - Vancouver, BC - May 2005
Northeastern Anthropological Association - Lake Placid, NY -April 2005
2005 Encuentro (Hemispheric Institute) - Belo Horizonte, Brazil 
2005 Ethnographic Film Festival of Montreal - Montreal, QB

Commendation for Excellence - Material Culture/Archaeology - Royal Anthropological Institute (2005)
Commendation for Excellence - Student Film - Royal Anthropological Institute (2005)

Film Review: Visual Anthropology Review 25(1):101-02 (2009)
Film Review: Museum Anthropology Review 1(2):107-09 (2007)

video_images_Takamori_Portraits.jpgPortraits of Tomoyo
by Ayako Takamori(Anthropology)
This films is a glimpse into the everyday life of Tomoyo Hiroishi, a 2nd generation Japanese Mexican artist living in New York City. It unfolds the ways in which Tomoyo uses art to articulate her ideas about ethnicity and being multiply located. (13 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2004 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

video_images_Davidov_September.jpgSeptember Signs and Symbols
by Veronica Davidov (Anthropology)
The film focuses on the material objects that commemorate the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and how this memorabilia circulates in New York City. The film explores how these objects have come to be complex signifiers containing within them the possibility for a range of meanings for people who create them, sell them, collect them, and use them. (24 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2004 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival


video_images_Shweder_Abraham2.jpgAbraham's Daughters: A Bat Mitzvah Story
by Lauren Shweder (Anthropology)
Following one family as they prepare for their daughter's upcoming Bat Mitzvah, this film explores the multiple dimensions of this Jewish coming of age ceremony as it is practiced within the Reform movement in contemporary New York City. (35 minutes)

For more information about the film visit or

Public Screenings:
2003 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2003 Chilmark Community Center Summer Film Series, Martha's Vineyard
2005 Park School Diversity Series, Baltimore
Temple Beth-El, Great Neck Weekend Workshops
Annual Screenings for B'nai Mitzvah preparation classes synagogues in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, California, Florida and Maryland.

video_images_Murray_AllThatGlitters.jpgAll That Glitters
by Barney Murray (Anthropology)
The New York fashion industry promises fame, fortune and glamour...and Heatherette's owners haven't even been to fashion school. (15 minutes)

by Nina Siulc (Anthropology)
After a lifetime battling cocaine addiction, José is finally ready to start a new life. But because of a new immigration law, when he gets out of jail this time, he'll be deported to the Dominican Republic, a reality he is only beginning to come to terms with. (30 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2003 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

2003 Society for Visual Anthropology Student Award

video_images_Garcia_Framing.jpgFraming Tepeyac
by Irene Garcia (Cinema Studies)
This documentary follows Tepeyac Television Service, a group of Mexican workers in NYC who produce a series of TV programs to document their experiences as undocumented immigrants to the city. The film focuses on Vicencio and Brenda, whose strong interest in video as a means to change immigration policies in the US takes them to experiment and explore new venues. (17 minutes)

Click here for more information about the film and to view it online.

video_images_Berg_WaitingFor.jpgWaiting for Miracles
by Ulla Dalum Berg (Anthropology)
A documentary that follows a Peruvian Catholic brotherhood as it prepares for its yearly procession honoring the Lord of Miracles. This film explores the power of faith in the lives of Peruvian immigrants in New York City. (25 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2003 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2004 Instituto Cultural Peruano Norte Americano (ICPNA), Lima, Peru
2004 Screened on Peruvian Television (Canal PAX)
2005 Centro Cultural de España Documentary Series, Lima, Peru

video_images_Maraesa_WomantoWoman.jpgWoman to Woman: Addressing the Need for Doula-Assisted Childbirth
by Amínata Amikole Maraësa (Anthropology)
The doula profession has emerged in response to the increasing medicalization of childbirth in the United States. This film explores the reasons women choose doula-assisted birth. (26 minutes)

Distributed By: Documentary Educational Resources

Public Screenings:
2003 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2004 FreeSpeech TV Broadcast
2005 American Psychological Association
2005 Midwifery Today Conference


video_images_Bishara_AcrossOceans.jpgAcross Oceans, Among Colleagues
byAmahl Bishara (Anthropology)
The film explores the work of the Committee to Protect Journalists advocating for freedom of the press and journalists' human rights in the Middle East. It focuses on the work of Mazen Dana, a Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters in the West Bank, and CPJ's advocacy on his behalf. This film investigates journalism and human rights work as multi-local, collaborative ventures from which the public at large benefits. Tragically, Mazen Dana was shot and killed by U.S. troops while he was filming for Reuters outside Abu Ghraib Prison near Baghdad on August 17, 2003. The film now takes on greater significance as a testament to Dana's bravery, commitment, and kindness. (32 minutes)

Public Screenings:
2002 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2003 Manhattan Neighborhood Network (cable broadcast)
2004 Dreams of a Nation Film Festival, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Ramallah

Distributed By: Films Media Group

video_images_Neptune_Concrete.jpgConcrete Roots
by Miriam Neptune (Cinema Studies)
An exploration of the Afro-centric counterculture that has become mainstream in Brooklyn, NY. This video follows 3 Brooklynites in their daily pursuit of a lifestyle that reflects their Afro-centric identities. (30 minutes)

video_images_Sitney_HomeMovie.jpgHome Movie
by Sky Sitney (Cinema Studies)
A documentary that traces the effects of new ownership on a lower east side tenement building and its long term residents. (35 minutes)

video_images_Dowell_ReelStep.jpgReel Steps: Irish Dance in New York
by Kristin Dowell (Anthropology)
A portrait of a children's Irish dance class in New York City that explores themes of Irish heritage and identity as well as the appeal and intricacies of the dance form. (20 minutes)

by Shanti Avirgan (Anthropology)
A look at Brazil's unique AIDS treatment program from the perspective of patients, doctors, activists, scientists, government officials and pharmaceutical producers. How is Brazil?s experience being constructed by the media and activists as a "model" for confronting the global AIDS pandemic? (35 minutes)

video_images_Montez_Tress.jpgTress by Ricardo Montez (Performance Studies)
From its rock n roll street roots to its manifestations in the pages of fashion magazines, New York's downtown hair represents an elusive and coveted marker of subcultural style. This film is an exploration into the narcissism, glamor, and empowering triviality of downtown hair. (12 minutes)

video_images_Nixon_UnderSurv.jpgUnder Surveillance
by Brooke Nixon (Anthropology)
A chronicle of the activities of the Surveillance Camera Players, a New York-based group that protests public surveillance. Through their activism, the film explores the complex and ambivalent roles of visuality and visual culture in a contemporary urban setting. (21 minutes)

Public Screenings:

2003 Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival (London) - Honoree
2002 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival


video_images_Fisher_CatinaSack.jpgA Cat in a Sack: Hungry March Band, NYC
by Danny Fisher (Anthropology)
A marching band takes to the street in New York City. (22 minutes)

by Bill Horn (Anthropology)
An observational take on creative process in a small modern dance company. (42 minutes)

video_images_Torchin_GuineaPig.jpgGuinea Pig Life: A Mildly Invasive Study
by Leshu Torchin (Cinema Studies)
Watch this movie, get paid! A brief look at compensated medical research subjects a.k.a. human guinea pigs. (17 minutes)

video_images_Harris_Outskirts.jpgOn the Outskirts of the Ivory Tower
by Laura Harris (American Studies)
Glimpses at the work and lives of academics. (15 minutes)

video_images_Kim_StillLife.jpgStill Life
by Eleana Kim (Anthropology)
Artist models on their work, the body, and the imagination. (20 minutes)

video_images_Andaya_WakeUpLive.jpgWake Up and Live!
by Elise Andaya (Anthropology)
A man prepares for a modern spiritual journey. (15 minutes)

by Mariana Johnson (Cinema Studies)
The filmmaker's grandmother prepares to visit her native Cuba. (17 minutes)

If you would like to contact the filmmakers and an email address is not listed, please contact the Anthropology Department for more information.


Here are some of the video work produced and directed by students who are either enrolled in or have completed the Certificate Program in Culture and Media.

video_images_Bessire_asking.jpgAsking Ayahai: An Ayoreo Story
by Lucas Bessire (Anthropology)
The film focuses on the personal journey of Ayahai, an 80-year-old Ayoreo elder, whose life spans the period of dramatic transition for the Ayoreo of South America's Gran Chaco as they moved from nomadic hunter/gatherers to wage laborers. (2004. 41 mins.)

Distributed By:
Documentary Educational Resources

Public Screenings:

2004 Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festival, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
2005 Festival Interuniversitaire de Films Ethnographique de Montreal, Canada
2005 Latin American Film Festival, Holland
2005 Northeastern Anthropological Association Ethnographic Film & Video Festival, Lake Placid, NY

video_images_Bernstein_DharmaKid.jpgDharma Kid
by Anya Bernstein (Anthropology)
Tenzin Tselek has decided to become a monk at the age of two. He dreams to enter a Buddhist monastery but first he has to graduate from Tibetan Children's Village, a challenging boarding school where he studies geography, math, Tibetan, Hindi, and English. The film explores his quirky perception of the Tibetan religion populated by a strange pantheon of Gods, magical practices, and rituals. (2001)

video_images_Bernstein_JoinMe.jpgJoin Me in Shambhala
by Anya Bernstein (Anthropology)
Once brutally persecuted under the Soviet regime, Buddhism is back in Southern Siberia. But with a past where lamas were killed in prisons and temples burned to ashes, there are few masters left to pass on the tradition. This documentary is both a study of Buddhism in Buryatia (with its clearly shamanistic rituals) and a map of Buddhist cosmology, weaving together textures and rhythms of everyday life with meditations on emptiness and space. (2002. 42 minutes)

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2003 Prize for Outstanding Scientific Documentation - XVI Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, Estonia

Public Screenings:
2002 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
2003 DC Independent Film Festival, Washington DC
2003 8th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London
2003 Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, New York
2003 Religion Today, International Festival of Cinema & Religion, Italy
2005 International Buddhist Film Festival, California
2005 Northeastern Anthropological Association Ethnographic Film & Video Festival, Lake Placid, New York