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Documentary Filmmaking: The Art of the Interview

Dates: June 11-22, 2018
Tuition: $2,000; equipment fee: $500
2 undergraduate studio credits 

This intensive residency offers participants an opportunity to sharpen their documentary directing skills, learn professional techniques for camera, lighting and sound, and better understand the mechanics of editing a scene for the greatest impact. Participants will create two interview-based short documentaries during the program, challenging themselves to conduct thoughtful, evocative interviews, and to work quickly, giving their skills a turbo charge. 

Workshops with filmmakers working at the top of the documentary field and hands-on labs on the streets of the city complement independent work. Together these elements form an intense program encouraging creativity, learning and progress. Work-in-progress screenings allow for filmmakers to receive critique from faculty and their peers. Guest filmmakers will show their documentaries and give in-depth answers during the Q&A sessions, which are designed to give further insight into the experiences of working filmmakers. The program concludes with a public screening event of each participant’s best film. 

Filmmakers will work within the MFA Social Documentary Film Department and have access to equipment, including industry-level HD or 4K cameras, microphones, recorders and lighting. Filmmakers will be provided access to edit suites and software, as well the department voice over booth. Facilities are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Staff technicians are available for assistance and technical support. 

Faculty is scheduled to include director Deborah Dickson (Oscar nominee Lalee’s Kin); cinematographer Tom Hurwitz, ASC (Sundance winner Queen of Versailles); and editor Ann Collins (Netflix’s Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold), among others.

Prerequisites: Fluent in Mac OS; a working knowledge of Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, or iMovie editing software; some experience in filming with any DSLR or video camera. 

Note: Participants will be required to provide proof of insurance with rental endorsement, listing SVA as a co-insured. Participants will be held responsible for payment of any loss, theft or damage incurred to the equipment. SVA provides information on affordable insurance plans.


For further information or questions regarding SVA's Summer Residencies e-mail [email protected] or call 212.592.2188.

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School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587