Alumnus Jay Koski’s (’16) THE PEPIE LEGEND, to screen at FlyWay Film Festival

Alumnus Stewart Jay Koski’s thesis project, THE PEPIE LEGEND, was picked up for the FlyWay Film Festival in Pepin, WI (2017).

Full-time folklorist and book author Chad Lewis reveals a 150-year-old legend that continues to resurface in modern day. In an attempt to solve the puzzle of this long-sought legend a $50,000 reward has been offered for indisputable proof of this Midwest lake monster. Filmed entirely on location.

As a supplement, here is a fun little article about Chad Lewis and Pepie from the Lacrosse Tribune.

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Alumna Martha Gregory’s short, THREE RED SWEATERS, wins Best Documentary at Aspen Shortfest

VCFA alumna Martha Gregory’s (’16) short doc, THREE RED SWEATERS, has been screened at several venues this last year–winning Best Documentary at the 26th Aspen Shortsfest!

THREE RED SWEATERS features a documentarian exploring the way that we remember and record our lives through the lens of her grandfather’s breathtaking, Alex Colville-esque 16mm home videos. The Aspen Film website describes Martha’s work as “deeply personal yet universally relatable—particularly in the age of social media.” The award praises Martha, “this inquisitive director,” who “gives new life to what was once thought lost forever through the use of photographs and conversations.”

Athens International Film Festival
TIFF Bell Lightbox monthly shorts program
Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

Fangle Magazine published a great article leading up to the Athens International Film Festival featuring Gregory. Here is an excerpt:

“Three Red Sweaters” is a film about how people’s memories may be changing with the ability to record every moment of their lives. Gregory said the idea began as a question for how memories and images, such as photos or film, influence each other.

Gregory said for this film, she interviewed a lot of people, friends – the cobbler in her neighborhood, other filmmakers – but found her most compelling story though her grandfather.

“He kept yearly family albums stuffed with his own photographs from every holiday, birthday, family event and non-event, every trip or vacation etc. and he had a trove of 16mm film he shot in the 50s, 60s and 70s,” Gregory said.

Gregory interviewed her grandfather many times over the course of a few months, but noticed deterioration in his health that pushed her to change her methodology.

“It became apparent to me that he likely wouldn’t live to see the finished film,” Gregory said. “I decided somewhere along the way to use only his 16mm footage as a way to deepen our collaboration and examine my questions through his footage and his experience as a man devoted to preserving memories through images.”

Like O’Shea, Gregory said that her love for film can be found in her formative years, as she started shooting in elementary school. But, Gregory enjoys film for the twists it brings into her life.

“As I’ve worked on other projects and formed a personal community of friends and mentors who are artists and filmmakers, the more social aspects of filmmaking and the fact that a film can be an opportunity for community building have reinforced my commitment to the art form as a way to explore our worlds, build connections and relationships and tackle relevant issues, ideas and problems,” Gregory said.

Going forward, Gregory has plans to finish a film on how feminism in Nicaragua is an effective tool against the dictatorship, as well as continue her role as film studio manager.

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Alumnus Josh Kuory’s documentary, VOYEUR, premieres on Netflix December 1st, 2017

MFA in Film alumnus Josh Koury’s (’16) documentary feature VOYEUR will premiere on Netflix December 1st, 2017.

Koury co-directed VOYEUR with Myles Kane. VOYEUR follows Gay Talese — the 84-year-old giant of modern journalism — as he reports one of the most controversial stories of his career: a portrait of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos.  For decades, Foos secretly watched his guests with the aid of specially designed ceiling vents, peering down from an “observation platform” he built in the motel’s attic. He kept detailed journals of his guests’ most private moments — from the mundane to the shocking — but most of all he sought out, spied on, and documented one thing: strangers having sex. Talese’s insatiable curiosity leads him to turn his gaze to a man accustomed to being the watcher, exploring a tangle of ethical questions: What does a journalist owe to his subjects? How can a reporter trust a source who has made a career of deception? Who is really the voyeur?

VOYEUR was Koury’s thesis film while attending VCFA. While he had shot much of the footage before embarking on his MFA, Koury credits the film program’s faculty for focusing his project and ultimately helping him complete the film.

We had the exciting opportunity to interview Josh and Myles about the film and will be posting our conversation with them next week. Stay tuned!


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Jeff Bemiss’s documentary, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, makes the rounds

Current MFA in Film student Jeff Bemiss’s in-progress documentary, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, has been making the screening rounds these last few months! MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY is about a group of forensic scientists fighting against an interior immigration checkpoint that has turned a poor Texas county into a killing field. Check out more about this amazing film here.

Bemiss, with co-director Lisa Molomot, participated in Film Independent’s Fast Track financing forum in May 2017.  As Fast Track fellows, they presented their project to 60 film industry executives over the course of three days in Los Angeles. Bemiss writes, “it was an intense and wonderful experience, and the response to our film was strong. Our project is now being tracked by distributors, and we continue to have exciting conversations with some of the executives we met at Fast Track.” The team also participated in Film Independent Forum in October, participating in 60 industry pitch meetings and a screening of their work sample at the DGA theater in Los Angeles.

Additionally, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, was selected for “Spotlight On Documentaries” at the 39th annual IFP Week in Brooklyn, New York (September 17th-21st, 2017).

Congrats Jeff, we are excited to see where this project goes next!



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Faculty Till Schauder’s WHEN GOD SLEEPS screens at IDFA

VCFA Film Faculty Till Schauder’s WHEN GOD SLEEPS is screening this week, November 16th-24th, at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. IDFA is one of the biggest documentary film festivals out there, congrats Till! We were lucky enough to get to screen this film at our residency this past October.

To learn more about the festival line up visit IDFA.

WHEN GOD SLEEPS official site.

After he addressed an imam in a song—which was taken as an insult—a fatwa was issued against the Iranian musician, poet, singer and activist Shahin Najafi in 2012. Calling for his death, the fatwa offered a $100,000 reward. He travels from Turkey to Germany and settles in Cologne, where he now lives in fear: “sleeping with one eye open and with a knife under the pillow.” Although Najafi is in constant danger, he continues to try to play music, even after most of his band members have quit—they’re just too scared to play. When he adds fuel to the fire by releasing a new song about male domination in the Islamic world, the fatwa is issued again—now with a $500,000 reward. Will he put his audience in danger if he goes on tour? Perhaps inevitably, this portrait of the “Salman Rushdie of rap” also covers issues such as terrorism, religion, repression, artistic protest and the refugee crisis.

Past WHEN GOD SLEEPS news and reviews:

Screen Daily: “When God Sleeps: Tribeca Review”

Salon: Interview with When God Sleeps Director

Rolling Stone: “Tribeca Film Festival 2017: 20 Films We Can’t Wait to See”

Hollywood Reporter: “23 must-see films at Tribeca”affiliate tracking url | Women's Nike Air Max 270 trainers – Latest Releases

Soren Sorensen’s MY FATHER’S VIETNAM screens at Oldcastle Theatre Company


Current MFA in Film student Soren Sorensen screens his documentary film MY FATHER’S VIETNAM at the Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington, Vermont, November 10th, 2017 at 6pm.

A personal documentary about a public subject, My Father’s Vietnam personifies the connections made and unmade by the Vietnam War. Featuring never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the era, My Father’s Vietnam is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom returned home alive. Interviews with the filmmaker’s Vietnam Veteran father, and the friends and family members of two men he served with who were killed there, give voice to individuals who continue to silently carry the psychological burdens of a war that ended over 40 years ago. My Father’s Vietnam carries with it the potential to encourage audiences to broach the subjects of service and sacrifice with the veterans in their lives.

Watch the trailer below!


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