The Julia Harper Day Award was created by the Center for Documentary Studies in 1992 in memory of the young woman who was the CDS’s first staff member, a writer and photographer of real accomplishment. This $500 award goes to a graduating Duke University senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and contributed significantly to CDS programs. This year’s Julia Harper Day Award went to David Mayer, a visual and media studies major and Certificate in Documentary Studies graduate who grew up in Durham, North Carolina.
Read an artist profile of David Mayer from the Duke Chronicle.
His freshman year, David fell in love with filmmaking through a course taught by CDS instructor Gary Hawkins, who nominated David for the award and believes that he “shows enormous promise as a thinker and a filmmaker—I believe that he will go on to distinguish himself in the national and international filmmaking community.” Since then David has made two documentaries, including his latest, Questions for My Grandfather, an intimate and personal retelling of his grandfather’s Holocaust story. David received a John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award from CDS in 2012 to help fund the first of several trips to Germany to work on the project. Mayer’s next ambitious film project is Maidenhead (working title), which addresses poverty in the town of Maidenhead and the greater London area. The project has been fully funded, and David will begin production in the fall of 2014.