View the final projects of the graduates in the Certificate in Documentary Arts program in spring 2011: John Crane, Paul Deblinger, Eric Douglas, Chelsea Flowers, Conrad Fulkerson, Paige Greason, Jeremy Helton, Eileen Heyes, and Kurney Ramsey, Jr. Videos are available to watch here and on CDS Vimeo.
Jerusalem Journal [Video]
When John Crane began studying the history of Israel and Palestine many years ago, he was surprised by the difference between accounts by historians and those he read in newspapers. In 2005, he visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories with members of the Coalition for Peace with Justice, to meet with peace organizations and learn about the current situation.
The filmmaker and the other volunteers helped the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions to rebuild a home near Jerusalem, and they traveled to refugee camps, Israeli settlements in Occupied Territory, and areas of Bethlehem that tourists never see. They met leaders of peace organizations, participated in nonviolent demonstrations, and talked to taxi drivers and hotel workers. And they witnessed acts of violence and oppression.
In 2008, Crane returned to Jerusalem and revisited people he had filmed three years earlier. Jerusalem Journal gives viewers a glimpse into aspects of Palestinian life that they are unlikely to get from newspapers and broadcast television.
Us…Them…United States [Video]
What happens when a political refugee, who is properly documented, is hauled off by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of an administrative error by the government? His American-born wife and child are stunned by the sudden loss and do everything they can to reunite their family. This story of one family’s nightmare illustrates the fractured nature of U.S. immigration policy. Pedro Guzman immigrated to the United States with his family when he was eight years old, fleeing the brutality of a right-wing government backed by the U.S. Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), he is entitled to apply for permanent residence in the United States.
For Cheap Lobster [Multimedia]
Around the world, men harvest the sea breathing compressed air and facing injury, paralysis, or death from “the bends” without truly understanding the forces at work on their bodies. They dive for lobster, sea cucumber, conch, abalone, and even algae to feed international markets. When Americans consume “inexpensive” or “all-you-can-eat” lobster, it comes at a tremendous price for harvesting divers. Eric Douglas photographed groups of divers in Puerto Lempira, Honduras; Baja California, Mexico; and Natal, Brazil, to learn more about their lives and the pressures they face. This presentation includes still and video images of all three groups. While they use different diving techniques, they encounter the same challenges: no other options and hazardous and impossible working conditions.
Ex Libris [Video]
Volunteers of the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective, one of only twenty-five books-to-prisoners groups in the United States, send books to inmates in Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina. Referencing their work, Ex Libris, a phrase that means “from the library of,” suggests the potential fluidity of literature and, in turn, the exchange of ideas and support between those in and outside prison. This video follows the movement of books as they shift between individual ownership and shared libraries, both within prison walls and outside them. It briefly illustrates the structure of the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective, what the Collective does, and how. It may even offer a few of the many answers to the most important question: Why?
We spend untold amounts of money and energy on beloved canine family members. Still, we invest comparatively little to safeguard the early life of those puppies who will become so dear. Laudable efforts to improve the lot of dogs are largely directed at “rescue” after abandonment, neglect, or abuse. What if we cared from the beginning? Kate Fulkerson strives to provide puppies the best possible start in life. She regards them as “little beings” that need careful birthing, enough time with their mother, and distinctly positive training before they go to carefully matched committed families and their “forever home.”
Face to Face [Video]
“I hate to tell you this over the phone, but the test came back positive for multiple sclerosis.” The world stops. Numbness sets in. Autopilot takes over. Over the next few weeks, grief and loss drench the body and mind in heavy black ooze. Sleep is elusive. Eating nonexistent. Making it through the day seems nearly impossible, yet the seconds keep ticking away. Family members begin to worry about your mental health. Friends talk of staying positive and then quickly change the subject. The reality sets in … life is forever altered.
Sometimes life hits us with challenges that tear apart the fabric of who we think we are and force us to come face-to-face with how we are living out our time on this planet. Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is one of those challenges. In Face to Face, six North Carolinians living with MS share their stories of loss, self-discovery, and transcendence. The documentary was created specifically for people newly diagnosed with MS, who can often feel alone, adrift, and confused. The voices of these six individuals, however, speak to us all. They remind us that life is short and call us to live each moment of this precious life consciously, deliberately, and fully.
Blues Run the Game [Audio]
Buffalo native Jillian Mertz talks about how a little-known folk musician from her hometown helped her understand her complex relationship with her father, magician Ray Mertz. Jackson C. Frank, the musician, is something of a hidden treasure of Buffalo’s music scene. Most of the accolades and critical acclaim he received before his death came from European audiences and from the likes of such folk music giants as Simon & Garfunkel and Nick Drake. He is virtually unknown in the United States, even in his hometown.
Raleigh’s Village Idiots: Yes, And… [Audio]
The comedy improv troupe now known as Raleigh’s Village Idiots traces its roots back to 1995, when it was founded as simply the Village Idiots. The ensuing years saw cast changes, a venue change or two, a breakup and subsequent reunion, and plenty of experimentation. Along the way, the Idiots established the traditions that have become their signature: Their comedy is game- and scene-based; costumes and props are mostly imaginary; and music figures significantly in every show. The group presents two shows a month at North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theater. In return for the right to rehearse and perform at NR-ACT, troupe members teach improv classes that go a long way toward paying the theater’s bills.
Kurney Ramsey, Jr.
Kurney Ramsey’s family has lived in the same area of eastern North Carolina, in a small farming community, for more than 200 years. He has photographed the home he grew up in, his grandmother’s home, and land his father and grandmother owned, along with the land he inherited from his grandfather. He has worked over the course of two years, through the light of winter, spring, summer, and fall. He believes he will continue to photograph these places for the rest of his life, revisiting the deep memories from time to time, because it is in these places he feels a connection he feels nowhere else.
Throughout the year, the Center for Documentary Studies offers continuing education courses in the documentary arts for the general public. These courses, taught by working professionals, are designed to help students of all ages and backgrounds gain the skills they need to explore doing documentary work on their own terms. The Certificate in Documentary Arts program offers a structured sequence of courses and a focused opportunity to complete documentary work.