The Center for Documentary Studies offers Continuing Education classes year-round—in photography, video, audio, narrative writing, and other creative media. Registration is now open for Spring 2017 classes and workshops with a host of established, new, and online classes on offer, including a few hybrid on-site/online classes.
A complete listing of all Spring 2017 courses as well as registration information can be found here.
Classes set to begin in early January include Writing, Funding, and Legalese as well as The South in Black and White, among others. A number of new classes will be debuted this term, including Intro Seminar: Traditions, which examines traditions of documentary work through an interdisciplinary lens, and Podcasting for the People, a new class that will help students to conceptualize, create, and develop their own podcast.
Opening December 5, Center for Documentary Studies will host an exhibition of photographs from Post Mégantic, Michel Huneault’s 2015 Lange-Taylor prizewinning project on a small town in Quebec that was the site of Canada’s deadliest train disaster in 150 years. His project of remembrance garnered Huneault CDS’s prestigious Lange-Taylor Prize in 2015; the $10,000 annual award supports documentary artists involved in ongoing fieldwork projects that rely on both words and images. Click here for more information on the exhibition.
A meditation on loss and mourning, Post Mégantic incorporates photographs, videos, oral histories, and installations to tell the story of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, where on the night of July 6, 2013, a cargo train from North Dakota carrying nearly 8 million liters of shale oil derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and effectively destroying the town. From a population of 6,000, one out of every 128 citizens died. The explosion leveled most of the town center, creating a 400-meter-wide area that is still inaccessible.
Huneault describes Post Mégantic as a “requiem to the victims,” a documentary narrative about life, death, the fragility of existence that he hopes will evoke for viewers of the work a “visceral sense of empathy, an appreciation based on introspection, imagination, and compassion.” His collaboration with the people and town of Lac-Mégantic will continue, as he returns “hopefully to find more light and healing.”
More information on Michel Huneault and Post Mégantic, including a slideshow and short video
Along with other North Carolina podcasters, CDS audio director John Biewen will take the stage in Durham on December 1 for an evening of live performance, storytelling, and advice-giving. Biewen will represent Scene On Radio, the podcast from CDS that he created and hosts; Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer of Criminal, Anita Rao and Sandra Davidson of She & Her, and Steven Petrow of The Civilist will also take the stage to share their stories of documenting the untold, unexpected, inane, and profound, and to engage the audience in a dynamic conversation about podcasting and audio storytelling. *For those unable to attend the event, watch a live stream of the full event on the Center for Documentary Studies Facebook page beginning at 7 p.m.
Are You Listening? Four Triangle Podcasters Take The Stage
Thursday, December 1, 7 p.m.
Motorco Music Hall, Seated Show
723 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, North Carolina
Free Tickets** | Directions | Parking | Live Stream*
*Please note that while tickets to this event are free, attendees are encouraged to RESERVE A TICKET in advance. Attendees with reserved tickets must show up 30 minutes in advance of the show to secure reserved seating. At 6:30 p.m., any unclaimed seats will be made available to the general public.
CDS recommends Transgender USA, an exhibition featuring the photographs of Mariette Pathy Allen on view at the Power Plant Gallery through December 22. Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over thirty years, and has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness and gender variance. Her photographs and personal papers are being collected by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Allen’s first book, Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them, was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community. Her second book, The Gender Frontier, is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in mainland America. It won the 2004 Lambda Literary Award in the Transgender/Genderqueer category. Her latest book, TransCuba, is available via Daylight.
The CDS Documentary Essay Prize honors the best in documentary photography and writing in alternating years: one year, photos; one year, writing. The focus is on current or recently completed work (within the last two years) from a long-term project—fifteen images; fifteen to twenty pages of writing.
The upcoming prize competition will be for writing. The winner of the competition receives $3,000 and feature stories in Center for Documentary Studies’ print and digital publications. The winner’s work is also placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library, Duke University.
The 2016 prize, for photography, was given to Jessica Eve Rattner for “House of Charm,” a ten-year portrait of Lee, Rattner’s eighty-year-old neighbor in Berkeley, California. The essay explores, with delicacy and respect, Lee’s story of aging alone and questions cultural ideas around beauty, happiness, and mental health.
The 2015 prize, for writing, was awarded to Abbie Gascho Landis, a writer and veterinarian in Cobleskill, New York. In her essay, “Immersion,” Landis weaves personal experience into her investigation of native mussels and their freshwater habitats as one way of looking at water issues in the Deep South and elsewhere in the United States.
The winner will be publicly announced in June 2017.
Jeainny Kim (Trinity ’18) received a 2016 Summer Study in the Arts award from Duke University’s Council for the Arts, having been nominated for this honor by her DOCST 318S Photography Workshop instructor, MJ Sharp, and with the support of CDS’s faculty. Kim applied her award this past summer towards a Summer Residency in Photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, which she looks back on in full in this blog entry.
“I believe that growth as an artist and growth as a human being are synonymous,” said Kim of her residency. “The School of Visual Art Residency in Photography forced me to explore deep into myself, lending me insight that would then resurface in my pictures… Under the guidance of four core faculty, we witnessed our growth through daily one-on-one critiques and that of each other in group critiques. I cannot adequately describe to you the feeling of entering a community of incredibly talented people who share your love of and dedication to art. Here, I found wonderful friends and mentors who helped accelerate my growth as an artist.”
Kim presented an artist talk on November 4, 2016 at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library for her project, Welcoming Uncertainty: Portraits and Scanner Works, which is about welcoming uncertainty in life and in sexuality as an Asian woman attending a select university. The event it was sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
Said Jeainny Kim of her project, Welcoming Uncertainty: Portraits and Scanner Works:
“I used to believe that portrait photography was a one-sided conversation. I was the listener, making images out of the emotions as given by my subjects. While photographing Matthew and Jason, I took a different approach. I wanted to get to know them better. In order to do so, my subject and I took turns asking each other seemingly mundane questions such as hobbies and favorite foods that through accumulation reveal a lot about a person. My role as a selective observer evolved to that of an active participant. Now, I come forward and meet them halfway, to greet emotion with emotion and equal vulnerability. Inside the studio, both my subject and I are given the rare chance to get to know each other deeply in a small pocket of time. When I ask someone to take a portrait of them, I am inviting them into my comfortable, private space. I ask for their trust in return for mine. Each portrait shoot leaves me brimming with raw, vibrating emotions so that even objects seem to have a strange energy about them. My scanner work is simply a product of this exchange of trust, a tangible outcome of my human interactions. In essence, creating my still lifes allows me to release these emotions and regain equilibrium. My scanner work and my portraits have this wonderful, complementary relationship that leaves me with solid artifacts of my thoughts and experiences. I want my pictures to feel usually familiar, with hopes that people will be able to experience the intensity that I feel with each human interaction.”
In June 2016, the thirteenth edition of the Center for Documentary Studies‘ Documentary Video Institute, offered each summer through our Continuing Education program, once again focused on the East Durham area. Twenty-four students from across the nation were guided through a week-long course in all aspects of documentary filmmaking. Their interview subjects were a pre-selected cross-section of this diverse and ever-changing part of the city: From prominent community leaders to local high school students, each had a unique perspective on the neighborhood. Students learned pre-production, lighting, camerawork, audio, interviewing, b-roll, and finally editing and post-production. The resulting thirteen films are a multidimensional portrait of the community.
A screening of the 2016 East Durham Stories will be held at Durham Public Library on November 17, 2016. This screening is free and open to the public.
East Durham Stories Screening
Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m.
Durham County Library, Main Branch
300 N Roxboro St., Durham, North Carolina
Naomi Debbaut and Justin Wolfe | Connected
East Durhamite Carrie Hill has worked for many years to improve the neighborhood she calls home.
Kate Mathews and Taylor Nawrocki | Dear Durham
Nancy “Mamma Nia” Wilson, director of SpiritHouse, reads from a letter she wrote to the city, where “revitalization” has had uneven effects on its citizens.
Kris Macomber and Pete Wood | Feeling Albright
Dorothy and Junior Kelly are pillars of the Albright Community neighborhood, having spent decades making it a more pleasant and welcoming place to live.
Rachel Baer and Nicole Jones | Icebreaker
Elizabeth and Miles Abbason are the owners of Pelican’s SnoBalls, a New Orleans-style snow cone shop in East Durham.
Erin Smith | Jenny from the Block
Jennifer McCain and her fiancé, Jameson Brown, foster community on the streets of East Durham one person at a time.
Phineas Chapman and Julia Grosvenor | Julissa
Durham School of the Arts student Julissa Mejía Santos has a precocious talent for drawing, which is encouraged by the staff at Partners for Youth Opportunity.
Melissa Lukenbaugh | Liberty Street
Another take on the life and work of Jennifer McCain.
Hillary Stroud and Eric Zayas | More Beautiful
Kim Sage, a longtime East Durham resident, describes the changing face of her immediate neighborhood.
Tia Capps and Beth Lavely | Reclaiming Cardens Lane
Denise Harrison earns her livelihood by renting out houses that she’s restored with a keen eye for historic preservation.
Rebecca Clark and Paul Cory | The Mayor of Northeast Central Durham
Stephen Hopkins, city council gadfly and unofficial community organizer, is the glue that holds Northeast Central Durham together.
Kenneth Campbell and Bianca Toscano | The Minister of Culture
Marc Lee is a passionate ambassador of the arts in his various roles at the Hayti Heritage Center, including director of the Hayti Heritage Film Festival.
Jennifer Durham and Alex Granados | The Strength to Bloom
Giselle Santos, a poised and well-spoken middle schooler, describes her home life, experiences in a charter school, and involvement with the Partnership for Youth Opportunity.
Zuri Best and Keith Kenney | You Can Do It!
iNvictus Forward Outreach operates a shared office space in East Durham and promotes minority entrepreneurship.
At a graduation event at the Full Frame Theater, Continuing Education students at the Center for Documentary Studies will present their final projects to the public and receive their Certificate in Documentary Arts, having completed a structured sequence of courses. During the course, students finish a substantial documentary work—projects that often move out into the world in the form of exhibits, installations, screenings, websites, audio features, and more. A reception will follow the presentations and graduation ceremony.
The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of Jeffrey Mittelstadt’s Staring Down Fate, the story of a red wolf biologist—diagnosed with ALS—as he searches for meaning in his terminal illness while the endangered species he dedicated his career to faces another potential extinction. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress; following the screenings, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker(s) will be held, during which the audience provides valuable feedback.
Note: Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite.
Staring Down Fate is about the 7.4 billion people on earth and our relationship with nature as told through the life of one person. Chris Lucash fights against fear of death and shares his story hoping humans will reconnect with nature, each other and live their lives with purpose to make a difference in the world. While Chris is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), the endangered red wolf population declines fast: only 45 remain in the wild. He helped reintroduce them into the wild in 1987 after they were declared biologically extinct in 1980. But, did living and working in an area dominated by industrial agriculture contribute to the development of his ALS? Chris and the red wolves lost control over their own fate, but Chris did have control over how he lived his life and the legacy he leaves behind. He lived every day with purpose to make this world a better place, which enabled him to know that he would die with dignity.
Jeffrey Mittelstadt is a filmmaker, producer, and director. Jeff produced, directed and edited the award-winning short film, Plight of the North Atlantic Right Whale. As a Park Fellow at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jeff was one of the Carnegie-Knight News21 Fellows who made the interactive documentary Coal: A Love Story, which earned the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, the 1st place Green Dot Award in the media category, 1st place College Photographer of the Year for large group multimedia project, South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Awards champion in the student category, and named to the Los Angeles Times Best of the Web. Jeff co-led and taught on an ethnographic and documentary film/photography trip for Davidson College students to Shanghai, China in 2014. As Director of Sustainability at Davidson College, he also led student interns in creating short films about the College food system. When Jeff created the national sustainability and sports business plan competition he made the marketing film for it and made basketball and football highlight films at Davidson College. Subject matter expertise comes from years of working in sustainability at EPA, Bank of America, NACFAM, Davidson College, and as a consultant.
CDS is cosponsoring a screening of Revolve on Camera: The Performances and a Q&A with the filmmakers—Duke alums and husband-and-wife team Benjamin Epps and Heather Bowles Epps (both ’00); the event is part of Duke’s annual DEMAN weekend. Their film is a compilation of selected works from Revolve Dance Company; using previously staged works as well as newly choreographed pieces for film, Revolve on Camera takes the audience on a cinematic journey through the emotional, stimulating, and thought-provoking artistry of the company.
Screening of Revolve on Camera: The Performances
Followed by Q+A with Benjamin Epps and Heather Bowles Epps
Thursday, November 10, 7–8:30 p.m.
White Lecture Hall 107, East Campus
1308 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina
The film features the short, Angsters, which has played at festivals around the world and won the Audience Choice Award at Dance Camera West film festival in Los Angeles. These short films will also be part of a feature documentary about the Revolve dancers, currently in production. Click here for a full list of the short films to be screened.
This screening is sponsored by the Duke Entertainment, Media and the Arts Network (DEMAN), the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI), the Duke Alumni Association (DAA), the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, and the Dance Program, and the Center for Documentary Studies.