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School of Visual Arts Launches MFA Program in Social Documentary Film

By Tom White

The School of Visual Arts, which has been shaping and nurturing the careers and sensibilities of artists for over 60 years, will introduce a Masters of Fine Arts program in Social Documentary Film, beginning in fall 2009. The New York City-based school, which currently offers as BFA in Film, Video and Animation and an MFA in Photography, has tapped award-winning filmmaker Maro Chermayeff to chair the program.

"With this program we aim to provide an environment that fosters the development of socially accountable, nonfiction film," said Chermayeff is a statement. "Through hands-on experience, students in this program will gain the technical and theoretical knowledge they need to bring their individual visions to fruition. It's our goal that graduates leave this program with short feature films that engage larger issues, and perhaps even impact public policy."

Chermayeff, whose credits include the PBS series CARRIER, Frontier House and Julliard, has tapped such leading New York-based filmmakers as Deborah Dickson (Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton; The Education of Gore Vidal); Deborah Shaffer (Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements); Pamela Yates (State of Fear; When the Mountains Tremble); and Susan Froemke (Addiction; Abortion: Desperate Choices), among others, to join the faculty.

The MFA in Social Documentary Film is a two-year course of study designed to develop journalistic skills and the practical aspects of filmmaking. For more information, click here.