October 13, 2009

School of Visual Arts MFA Social Documentary Film: Call for Applications

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Upon completion of their studies students will be equipped with the tools that both enable and support individual expression, while fostering filmmakers who are artistically, technologically, socially and critically fluent.

– Maro Chermayeff, DEPARTMENT CHAIR

The School of Visual Arts’ MFA program in documentary filmmaking provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of nonfiction filmmaking, as well as an immersion into the critical and analytical processes necessary to conceptualize and develop significant, socially relevant film projects. This program represents the convergence of journalism, social activism and the art of filmmaking.

Within the broad spectrum, a documentary film can be personal, revolutionary, engaging, funny, political and more; simply put, social documentary films tell us more about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Working with documentarians at the top of their field as teachers and mentors in a collaborative think-tank environment, the MFA Documentary Film program at SVA will not only teach students how to tell a story; it will guide them towards lifelong careers in filmmaking.

The first year of study offers a core curriculum devoted to exploring the past, present and future of the art of documentary film while mastering tools and techniques needed to tell compelling stories. In the first year each student will complete two documentary shorts. During the entire second year the student focuses on their thesis film, and courses are designed to support them in their production. Each student will direct and edit his or her own thesis film and serve as a key production crewmember on at least one other thesis project.

Core courses in directing, producing, editing, visionary journalism, cinematography and sound will be taught by some of the most significant filmmakers in documentary today. Additionally, a weekly Process & Style screening and lecture series will welcome yet more voices from the field. Visit for a full list of faculty and guest lecturers.

The MFA Social Documentary Film program moved into its brand new department home in summer 2009 – in time to welcome its inaugural class in September 2009.
The department is located in the heart of Manhattan on 21st Street and 6th Avenue, and houses an HD theater, two additional classrooms/work rooms, state of the art editing suites, a film and text library and voice over recording room. In addition to the department space, each student has access to the latest HD video cameras, lighting and sound equipment.

An information session for potential students is being held on October 24, 2009 in our beautiful new facility in Manhattan (21st and 6th Ave). Visit to register for the event.

Early Decision Application Deadline: January 15, 2010
Department website:
E-mail: [email protected]

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