Continuing Education Presentations and Graduation

Graduating CDS Continuing Education students, spring 2009 (from left): Lisa Marie Albert, Jennifer Carpenter, Jamara Knight, Margaret Morales, Jean Parker, Marcia Sutherland, Anne Weber. Also pictured (far right): April Walton, Learning Outreach Director. Composite photograph by Christopher Sims.

Graduating CDS Continuing Education students, spring 2009 (from left): Lisa Marie Albert, Jennifer Carpenter, Jamara Knight, Margaret Morales, Jean Parker, Marcia Sutherland, Anne Weber. Also pictured (far right): April Walton, Learning Outreach Director. Composite photograph by Christopher Sims.

Continuing Education Presentations and Graduation
May 15, 2009
Lisa Marie Albert, Jennifer Carpenter, Jamara Knight, Margaret Morales, Jean Parker, Marcia Sutherland, Anne Weber

Continuing Education students Jennifer Carpenter and Lisa Albert interviewed on WUNC’s “The State of Things” on May 15


The Final Seminar in Documentary Studies is a capstone class in which participants focus and refine their documentary projects into ten-minute public presentations. What you will see tonight is just the beginning; students may also be preparing a substantial educational video or a major gallery installation. These students are capable documentarians who also provided essential feedback and technical support to one another to improve their works-in-progress.
Because of their high level of investment in and dedication to their documentary projects, the students bring us along with them on their travels. They share the solemn rehearsal of a military funeral, the battles over a lake in India, and the triumph of an individual over addiction and homelessness. They portray the youthful self-expression of Tanzanian orphans, the kitchen of a Guatemalan coffee farmer, the denizens of a local wrestling ring, and newly married couples who’ve paused for a moment in a courthouse hallway. Their access is intimate, and the moments cut to the heart, with a steady gaze and ear for life’s challenges and hardships as well as the importance of duty, work, and love. We congratulate these certificate graduates and wish them well in their future documentary adventures.

—Nancy Kalow
Instructor, Final Seminar in Documentary Studies


Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates
Final Projects, Spring 2009

Lisa Marie Albert
Tanya Ward: A Triumph over Addiction [Audio and Photography]

Tanya Ward: A Triumph Over Addiction
In A Triumph over Addiction, Tanya Ward shares her experience of recovery. In and out of jail from the age of sixteen, Tanya lived on the run. Before she managed to break free from her drug addiction, she survived on one kidney after being stabbed and endured being separated from her babies while in jail.

People involved with such agencies as Passage Home and Wheels4Hope reached out to her—people who had histories that were similar to hers. They had recovered from addiction, and they helped Tanya through her recovery. Now after seven years of being clean, Tanya has a home and is a stable mother and worker. She has shared her story so that others struggling with addiction can have hope that recovery is possible.

Thanks to Tanya Ward for sharing her story so honestly; Miss Kay Kelly Brown, Tanya’s patient; and Allan Ross from Charlotte, North Carolina, for the music that accompanies this piece.

Lisa Marie Albert is a full-time graduate student in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Albert has recently left a career of mathematics and statistical programming in the pharmaceutical industry so that she can work with communities on health issues. She will soon be working with Family Health International, based in the Research Triangle Park, on an HIV/AIDS project in Durham. She will use community-based participatory research methods such as PhotoVoice to engage and empower community members at the individual, neighborhood, and policy level. Lisa is interested in using her documentary and photography skills to uncover real-life stories that relate to health and reveal true emotion. For more information about Wake County/Triangle area organizations that are helping people who are homeless, or who are on the brink of homelessness, and who may be struggling with the disease of addiction, visit Passage Home (www.passagehome.org), Wheels4Hope (www.wheels4hope.org), the Healing Place (www.hpowc.org), and Ending Homelessness: The 10-Year Action Plan (www.raleighnc.gov/endinghomelessness).

Jennifer Carpenter
Rise of the American Dragon [Video]
Power Pro Wrestling is the “Saturday Night Special” at the Cinema at Kendale in Sanford, North Carolina. For locals, it’s a regular source of live, family-friendly entertainment. The town’s wrestling tradition is undeniably linked to a lack of government oversight. “In a lot of states you’re not allowed to bleed. We can bleed,” explains Tracy Radell, a former wrestler. “We had guys bleed like they got shot the other day. We’re wide open to what we want to do with that. It’s a lot of freedom.” With little regulation, local shows have mushroomed all over the state. Hundreds of amateur wrestlers flood these makeshift rings; most of these enthusiasts have little formal training in professional wrestling techniques and can be of any standing, background, or age.

Meet Tracy’s son, fifteen-year-old Trevor Radell, who is better known as the “American Dragon.” Most Saturday nights, you will see his 5-foot, 120-pound frame decked out in red spandex shorts and a pleather lucha libre mask. Sacrificing a typical teenage life for a shot at stardom, Trevor hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and make it to the “Big Time.” This is a story about a father and his son.

Jennifer Carpenter is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in college, she has created more than thirty documentary shorts on locations ranging from Mexico to Kosovo. Carpenter has also served as a reporter at the Olympic Games, interned for a documentary filmmaker in South Africa, and worked as a video journalist following Vice President Joe Biden during the inaugural parade. She is fortunate that her parents have always supported her passion for storytelling, however adventurous her methods may be!

This summer, Jennifer will be returning to work at washingtonpost.com to create documentary shorts and interactives for the Web. She has also just learned that she is a Fulbright Scholar to Albania, where she plans to develop a bilingual documentary film on the civic engagement of Balkan youth. Ask her about the week she worked for the Wheel of Fortune or the time she went off the world’s highest bungee jump (twice!).

Jamara Knight
Watoto Wanapiga Picha: A Story of Tanzania [Photography]

In fall 2008 Jamara Knight journeyed to Mwanza, Tanzania, with a suitcase full of cameras donated by Durham residents. During her two-month stay, Knight taught photography to children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and collaborated with them to portray their experiences and give voice to what has meaning in their lives. This project was made possible with a grant from the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment and camera donations from local residents; to make donations to the orphanage, visit http://tiny.cc/handsofmercy.

Jamara Knight received a B.A. in Spanish and art from Guilford College. She has engaged with children in a variety of situations, from teaching English as a Second Language to tutoring to assisting in a Montessori classroom. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Knight conducted a project similar to Watoto Wanapiga Picha, in which she taught children who had an incarcerated parent how to use photography as a tool for self-expression. She enjoys traveling abroad, being outdoors, dancing, and of course, working with communities on documentary projects.

Margaret Morales
Los Trabajadores [Video]

Los Trabajadores is a short video about the culture and history of work for the Maya people in Guatemala. It follows the story of Pancho, a coffee farmer—from his memories of the Guatemalan civil war in the 1980s to his work in the campo.

This project was made possible through collaborative work with Dr. Charlie Thompson and filmmaker Michael Davey on their film project Brother Towns. Without them and their hard work, this video would not have been possible.

Margaret Morales loves a good story. Stories are what first brought her to documentary work, and the hope of bringing good stories to others is why she keeps telling them. Since graduating from Duke University with a dual degree in environmental science and English, Morales has enjoyed working with several Durham nonprofits to help them share their stories. She has also worked on the film crew for Brother Towns.

Jean Parker
What Will Happen to Dhanori Lake? [Audio]

Dhanori Lake sits in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Pune, India. The twenty-six-acre freshwater lake contains fish, wild bird, and animal habitats. A lot of people use the lake—some get their water from it, others fish in it. There are some residents who want to preserve the lake and turn it into a recreation park, an oasis amid the noise and pollution of the city. But there is one person who wants fill it with trash and rubble and build high-rises on it. (This piece originally aired on the Green Planet Monitor.)

Jean Parker is an independent radio journalist who has lived and worked in India for seven years. Her work has been heard on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Radio Netherlands, National Public Radio (NPR), Women’s International News Gathering Service, All India Radio, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), among others.

marcia sutherland
The Funeral Honors Team [Video]

The Funeral Honors Team is a peek into the all-volunteer Virginia Army National Guard Funeral Honors program. In this short documentary video, retired State Command Sergeant Major and current State Funeral Honors Coordinator Bob Huffman gives a brief history of the program and talks about the process of selecting and training the Funeral Honors team. Mr. Huffman takes the audience through the steps involved in the ceremonies and explains the significance of the funeral honors protocol. (A few of the pictures in the video are file photos from previous funerals conducted by this team of National Guard soldiers.)

Marcia Sutherland was born and raised in Georgia, and as the wife of a career military officer, she has lived in a number of states as well as Germany. She has a B.A. in fine arts and communications from Christopher Newport University and an M.A. in counseling psychology from Liberty University. Sutherland has worked as a counselor in both private and nonprofit settings, including as a counselor/case manager in a juvenile delinquent program, a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, a women’s jail, and a program for people with severe mental disorders in Chesterfield, Virginia. Each position served to develop her ability to work with people from all socioeconomic levels.

Through her association with the military, Marcia’s interest in soldiers and their families increased over the years. She has grown to empathize with the hardships and stresses prevalent in their daily lives. Marcia is interested in telling stories of military life that few civilians see or understand.

Anne Weber
The Civil Ceremony Project [Photography]

Throughout the history of the United States, the institution of marriage has been defined and redefined, reflecting our biases and our hopes. As the definition of who can unite for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, has shifted state to state and decade to decade, marriage has become the public face of some of our most privately held beliefs. The Civil Ceremony Project seeks to examine not only how marriage is and has been defined legally but also how people define marriage for themselves: as a spiritual union, a legally binding contract, a proclamation of love, a passport to a new life.

The centerpiece of the project is a series of wedding portraits taken at the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina. Over the course of several months, I offered free wedding portraits to couples who were getting married during open ceremony hours. Individually, the photographs serve as personal keepsakes for each couple; together, they create a larger portrait of marriage as an institution. Each couple was given the opportunity to tell their story through answers to a questionnaire that asked their names and ages, how and where they met, their reasons for choosing a civil ceremony, and their definition of marriage.

Photographs of the government officials who ratify marriages, as well as the environments they work in, provide a broader historical context to the project. In the Wake County Register of Deeds office, the shifting definitions of marriage are literally archived in its collection of wedding certificates and indexes of ceremonies. Before Loving vs. Virginia struck down miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriage, the North Carolina Register of Deeds bound marriage records in books segregated by gender and race. One photograph depicts a wall of red records labeled Colored Male, White Male, Colored Female, and White Female, preserving in physical form how the law once delimited marriage.

Through collecting the stories of couples, the faces of government institutions, and the artifacts of historical record, I seek to depict a more complex definition of marriage than turns up on the ballot.

Anne Weber moved from Brooklyn to Durham to pursue documentary photography full-time at the Center for Documentary Studies. After receiving her B.A. in art from Yale University, she balanced jobs at the History Channel and in supercomputing with documentary projects on the Three Gorges Dam and the decline of the oil industry near her hometown in southeastern Illinois. She has been the recipient of an Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, a Richter Fellowship, a Louis B. Sudler Grant, a Jessica Jennifer Cohen Foundation Grant, and an artist’s residency at the Vermont Studio Center. As a 2009–10 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow, she will spend the next year creating a collaborative documentary project with a nonprofit organization in Boston. She has never been married.

Photograph by Christopher Sims

Photograph by Christopher Sims

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