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January 17th, 2009, at 8:00 pm, Chicago Filmmakers Proudly Presents:


Director Bob Hercules, Director of Photography Keith Walker, and Editor Melissa Sterne in Person!

Located at 5243 N. Clark St. in Andersonville. Single admission prices are as follows: $8 for general admission, $7 for students with a valid I.D, and $4 for CF members.

Columbia Grad Student Screening!!!

Our very own Linda Garcia-Merchant is screening her feature documentary, Las Mujeres De La Caucus Chicana on Wednesday, November 12 at 6-8 PM at Loyola College’s Sullivan Student Center, Glavin Auditorium 6239 N Sheridan Road (Granville exit on RedLine is closer than Loyola Stop)

Please show your support by attending the screening and make sure to stay for the Q+A!!!

Archival Storytelling with Kenn Rabin

Thursday, October 30th, 4:00pm,: Kenn Rabin, author of Archival Storytelling will discuss his work.

Kenn Rabin

Two time Emmy™ nominee and award-winning playwright, screenwriter, audiovisual researcher and archivist KENN RABIN provides a wide range of services for your documentary, fiction film, proposal, manuscript, or educational project.  From the writing and funding stage, through pre-production and production, Kenn brings more than 25 years’ experience to his clients. And as a film and photography instructor, he brings real-world experience into the classroom, and his passion for his work to his students.

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Cinemasochist Strikes Again!

Every once in a while I subject myself to stuff that I know I’ll hate in the interest of seeing what other people find entertaining. Sometimes I’ll come across a YouTube video that bothers me and I’ll get lost sea of hate mongering videos with even more hateful comments attached to it. The most worst case of this lead me to a training video for people who want to hunt undocumented workers. What amazes me the most about this video is that a bunch of people put in work to make this product because they thought there was an audience for it.

The same thing came to mind when I subjected myself to a feature-length propaganda piece called “An American Carol.” Don’t worry, I didn’t buy a ticket. I snuck in after paying for another movie. I like jokes about Michael Moore as much as the next guy but my impression of this film is that Republicans are still holding a grudge toward a film that was released four years ago and ultimately failed in it’s main objective getting George W. Bush out of office even though it succeeded critically and financially.

I was especially disturbed by a scene that may have suggested that plastic surgery is a better investment than your children’s college education because the risk of them being brain-washed by a bunch of hippies is very real. As a student and, hopefully, future teacher, I found this hard to sit through but…this is where the masochism comes in, I love listening to the audience react to this stuff and I reached a point where I get a thrill from seeing which jokes made them laugh.

Diana, my fiance and a college professor, felt differently.

“I felt insulted at An American Carol’s implication of me manipulating my students or carrying out anyone’s agenda but theirs. I believe the most beautiful aspect of teaching is seeing the outcome of information and different skills processed through diverse minds. I believe an educated mind is an independent mind. We’re shaping human beings, not sheep. I think that scene -amongst many other scenes- in the movie is not only ignorant, but really reflects disrespect for the American audience. We’are smarter than that. It’s not funny, it is offensive.”

All that said, the aspect of this film that I found most offensive was the suggestion that all documentary filmmakers are just hustling, trying to take a shortcut into the Hollywood system. It was funny a few times when they mentioned that Michael Moore makes movies for people who don’t go to movies and when all of Uncle Michael’s nieces and nephews needed help for there various ailments and he couldn’t save them because documentaries don’t make money. Good jokes. Nice, solid jabs but I think they pushed too hard in trying to discredit all documentaries by trotting out a Rosie O’Donnell look alike who wants to package a bunch of outrageous lies and label them as documentary to turn it into truth. That’s not what documentary is. We stretch the truth to fit a dramatic arch and we’ll cut a story short to get a happy ending but ethics and integrity are a huge part of that process.

There’s more to rant about, like Bill O’Reilly replacing George Washington as one of the Holy Trinity that delivers the ultimate truth about U.S. history, but I’m trying to keep this discourse civil and removed from partisan bickering. As I said, I’m writing about this movie as a documentary filmmaker and a student and future college professor. I hope that anyone who watched this movie will respond with their thoughts on the film and the overall experience of the screening.

Study Abroad In Germany!!

Rainer Zäck

Program Director of the Academy for International Education


Presentation and discussion of possible study abroad program in Germany for Summer 2009.

Thursday, September 11th

5-6pm in the Doc Center

Viva Doc Activities in Fall 2008

Our theme for this semester can be none other than Change. We are going to see a lot of changes to our Doc Center in the coming months. Some changes have already taken place. Our classrooms are being furnished with new HD flatscreen TVs. You will all very happy to see them.

Other changes aren’t so positive. I’m sure that most of you have heard that the Doc Center cage is closing. Doc students will now get their equipment from the fifth floor cage and the advanced sound cage. You will receive details in class.

Along with this drastic change comes a ray of hope. Columbia’s documentary program has moved into high definition. This year’s Documentary 3 class will be using new Sony HDV cameras for their upcoming project. Chris Nelson was instrumental in developing the equipment packages that we’ll be using this fall. Our new gear and the work it produces will be part of his legacy in the Doc Center.

Sadly, Chris is leaving us. As his successor I am extremely grateful for everything he’s done to put the Doc Center in a position to flourish. He was the first person that I spoke to after my interview at Columbia and I was blown away by his honesty and encouraging words. Even though my interview had gone well, my mind was full of doubt. As I listened to him ta


lk about his first years in the program I knew more than ever that I wanted to be at Columbia and it was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be part of the Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary.

That’s what I will do my best to maintain and build on. My hope is that the Doc Center continue to grow as a documentary community that is supportive, encouraging and collaborative. Arlen Parsa has taken the initiative to start our Viva Documentary website so that we can move into this new Doc Center era in style. We’ll be using the site to talk about our progress in Doc 3, WIP Fest and a possible trip to Columbia, Missouri for the True False Festival. It will also be a tool to promote non-fiction film in and around Columbia.

DOC STUDENTS – We also hope that you will use the website as well. Please let us know about anything that you think might interest our fellow Doc students. Let us know about films that you’re thinking about, working on or trying to get seen.

ALUMNI – Please let us know about your experiences with the Doc Center, the success that you’ve had since being involved in the Doc Center and some advice that you have for our current doc class.

If you wish to have your voice heard, please contact us.


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