VCFA Announces MFA and Guest Film Screening Series

By October 6, 2017Events, Film, News


The VCFA Film program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the following line-up of screenings, to run October 22 – 27. Although admission to these screenings is free of charge, we do ask that you register for tickets here at Eventbrite so that we do not overbook the theater.


Sunday, October 22 7pm
Thesis Screening: Kathy Bruner

Thursday, October 26 1:15 – 3pm
Thesis Screening: Dan McGuire

 Friday, October 27 1:30 – 3pm
Thesis Screenings: shorts by John Bruner and Michael Staffieri and a recorded reading by David Alonzo



Monday, October 23 7pm
followed by a discussion with director Julia Solomonoff

Nico (a stunning Guillermo Pfening), is a 30-something actor who leaves a promising career in Argentina (where he stars in a T.V. soap) after a romantic break-up with his male married producer. Like many before him, cast adrift in New York City, Nico is thwarted in his efforts to land a job in either movies or on the stage. A smarmy agent advises him that Latinos are hot, but that he’s too blond and his accent has to go. Nico overstays his visa, juggles odd jobs (nannying for a wealthy friend; cleaning apartments) and engages in petty theft. Surprise visits from a former co-star and his ex-lover force him to reckon with his national, individual, and sexual identities. As the national debate on immigration focuses on border-crossing, NOBODY’S WATCHING presents an alternative take on Latin America-US emigration. Solomonoff and Pfening, who won the Best Actor prize at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, imbue this precarious, isolated experience with humor, warmth, and humanity.

JULIA SOLOMONOFF is a New York based filmmaker from Argentina, graduated with Honors from Columbia University MFA and a Fulbright grantee. Her feature films as writer/director include Hermanas (Toronto 2005, participant of Sundance Lab and Berlinale Talent Campus), The Last Summer of la Boyita (San Sebastian 2009, produced by Almodovar’s El Deseo, winner of over 20 international awards) and Nobody’s Watching / Nadie nos mira (Heineken Voces Development Award at Tribeca Film Festival 2013, Ibermedia, Incaa, Proimagenes and Ancine Production grants)

Nobody’s Watching opened at Tribeca Film Festival 2017 and won Best Actor Award, it is schedule to open at Film Forum in the Fall.

For television, she directed the documentary series Parana, biography of a river (13 episodes for Canal Encuentro), the mockumentary Chin Chon Fan (Ciudad Abierta) and The Suitor (winner of ITVS, NEA grants, aired on PBS). She was Creative Director of Canal Encuentro. Her short films have received awards from DGA, FIPRESCI and a regional Academy Award Nomination.

In 2011 the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented a showcase of her films and in 2014 Beatriz Viterbo Editorial published a compilation of her screenplays.

 She was first Assistant Director to Walter Salles for Motorcycle Diaries. Her credits as a producer include Julia Murat’s Pendular (Berlin Panorama 2017), Lucrecia Martel’s Zama, Celina Murga’s The Third Bank of the River (Berlin 2014, exec prod by M. Scorsese), Everybody has a Plan (Toronto 2012, starring Viggo Mortensen), Found Memories (Venice 2011, winner of over 30 international awards) and  Cocalero (Sundance 2007).

Solomonoff currently teaches Film Directing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts,  Graduate Film Department, she taught at Columbia University MFA program for five years. She was script advisor for Proimagenes, Colombia and Focus, Trinidad & Tobago and collaborates regularly with Cine Qua Non Lab, Mexico and MacDowell Foundation.

Tuesday, October 24   7pm

mother !
followed by a discussion with VFX Supervisor Dan Schrecker

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice’.

DAN SCHRECKER earned his Master’s Degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and his BA in Visual and Environmental Studies with a focus on Animation from Harvard University. Dan was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2011 for Best Special Effects for the film BLACK SWAN and for Visual Effects Society Awards for BLACK SWAN, THE WRESTLER, THE FOUNTAIN, and FRIDA. His work includes being Visual Effects Supervisor on LIFE OF PI, WARM BODIES, MOONRISE KINGDOM, LIMITLESS, BLACK SWAN, PRECIOUS, THE FOUNTAIN, FRIDA and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. He is currently working on NOAH with Darren Aronofsky. Through his career Dan has supervised and created visual effects, designed titles and motion graphics, adding to his expertise in multimedia and interactive formats, traditional cel animation and claymation.

Wednesday, October 25   7pm

followed by a discussion with director/producer Damon Davis

WHOSE STREETS? is an unflinching look at how the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown inspired a community to fight back and sparked a global movement.

DAMON DAVIS is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist who works and resides in St. Louis, Missouri. His scope includes illustration, painting, printmaking, music, film, and public art. Davis has work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn and the San Diego Contemporary Museum of Art. Acclaimed cultural critic and scholar Jeff Chang licensed Davis’ piece, All Hands on Deck, as the cover art for Chang’s 2016 book “We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation.” For his work as the founder of independent music and art imprint, Far Fetched, Davis received The Riverfront Times Master Mind Award (2013), St. Louis Soup Across the Delmar Divide Award (2013), and Best Hip Hop Producer SLUMfest Award (2014). He is also a Regional Arts Commission Community Arts Training Fellow (2012) and was named to Alive Magazine’s Buzz List (2013). The documentary short A Story To Tell (2013), which profiled Davis, his work, and the creative process, won an Emmy Award Mid America for Best Short Form Program. Whose Streets? is Davis’ first foray into feature-length documentary; Filmmaker Magazine selected him and Director Sabaah Folayan for their “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016.” Davis is a 2015 Firelight Media Producers Lab Fellow and a 2016 Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab Fellow at Skywalker Sound.

Thursday, October 26 7pm

followed by a discussion with filmmaker Alan Berliner

FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED, Alan Berliner’s deeply personal portrait of Edwin Honig, his “good friend, cousin and mentor,” is a first-hand look at Honig’s journey through the ravages of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It is an unflinching essay on the fragility of being human and a stark reminder of the profound role that memory plays in all of our lives.

Shot over the course of five years, FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED artfully documents Honig’s condition with deep compassion, portraying his life with the same raw honesty that resonates in his poetry, written amidst a lifetime steeped in tragedy, love, loss, irony and literary daring. In addition to numerous visits with Honig at his home and emotionally compelling conversations with his estranged children, ex-wife, friends and former students, the film chronicles Honig’s metamorphosis with archival imagery, family photos, home movies, poetry readings and Berliner’s ever-playful search for visual metaphors that help provide a better understanding of memory loss. The result is a vivid portrait of a wordsmith who, although he’s lost his memory and command of language, still retains an enduring sense of play, a charming sense of humor, a sublime musicality and the essential bearings of a deeply poetic soul.

Edwin Honig – poet, translator, critic, and teacher — wrote dozens of critically acclaimed books that have been published all over the world. His seminal translations of Federico García Lorca, Calderón de la Barca, and Fernando Pessoa awakened English speaking readers to the work of these literary giants, and he received honorary “knighthoods” from both the King of Spain and the President of Portugal. Honig died in 2011 at the age of 91.

ALAN BERLINER‘s uncanny ability to combine experimental cinema, artistic purpose, and popular appeal in compelling film essays has made him one of America’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers. The New York Times has described Berliner’s work as “powerful, compelling and bittersweet… full of juicy conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique, unpredictable in their structures… Alan Berliner illustrates the power of fine art to transform life.”

Berliner’s films, First Cousin Once Removed (2013), Wide Awake (2006), The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody’s Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast all over the world, and received awards, prizes, and retrospectives at many major international film festivals.  Over the years, his films have become part of the core curriculum for documentary filmmaking and film history classes at universities worldwide. All of his films are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

In 2006, the International Documentary Association honored Berlinr with an International Trailblazer Award “for creativity, innovation, originality, and breakthrough in the field of documentary cinema.”

Berliner is a recipient of Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Jerome Foundation Fellowships and multiple grants from the NEA, NYSCA, and NYFA.  He’s won three Emmy Awards and received seven Emmy nominations

Friday, October 27 10am

followed by a discussion with filmmaker Till Schauder and producer Sara Nodjoumi

This rap-punk-rock documentary tells the story of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi who is forced into hiding after hardline clerics issue a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focuses on the oppression of women and human rights abuses. Shahin’s frantic escape leads to an impossible romance when he falls in love with the granddaughter of the first Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their backgrounds make their relationship a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.

TILL SCHAUDER has seen success as a filmmaker from his award-winning student films while attending the University of Television and Film in Munich, to critically acclaimed films on the international stage. His U.S. feature debut SANTA SMOKES which he wrote, co-directed and starred in, won several awards, among them Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award. In 2012, Till completed his critically acclaimed first documentary THE IRAN JOB, which was released worldwide, mentioned as an Oscar contender and shortlisted for a German Academy Award in 2014. His latest documentary WHEN GOD SLEEPS premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017 and is currently playing at film festivals around the world. WHEN GOD SLEEPS won the Cinema for Peace Award for “Most valuable Documentary of the Year” during this year’s Berlinale, and the International DocFilmMusic Competition – the “Golden Heynal Award” – at this year’s 57th Krakow Film Festival. WHEN GOD SLEEPS opened theatrically in Germany and Japan this month. The U.S. theatrical release is scheduled for early next year followed by a nationwide broadcast release on PBS/Independent Lens and a North American online release on Amazon. Till also recently completed WARRIORS OF FAITH, a feature documentary about Iraqi refuges in Germany combating ISIS through performance arts for which he won the “ARD Top of the Docs” Award. WARRIORS OF FAITH is currently nominated for a German Emmy and the Prix Europa. Till has a side career in acting. He appeared with Kate Winslet in the HBO Series “Mildred Pierce”, in Martin Scorsese’s HBO Series “Vinyl” and in a nationally released commercial for American Express.  Till teaches film classes at NYU and Vermont College of Fine Arts where he is a founding faculty of the Film Masters Program. His production company, which he runs with his producing partner and wife Sara Nodjoumi, is based in Brooklyn.

SARA NODJOUMI is an independent film producer and film festival programmer. She and Till Schauder collaborated on WHEN GOD SLEEPS, co-produced by ITVS and supported by numerous foundations including the Sundance Institute, Catapult Film Fund, Fork Film, the Jerome Foundation, and NYSCA. The film premiered in competition at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. It later went on to win the Golden Heynal award for Best Music Documentary at the Krakow Film Festival and won “Most Valuable Film of the Year” award for Cinema for Peace in Berlin. Nodjoumi and Schauder are currently working on the feature documentary REGGAE BOYZ, which is in post-production. From 2004-2009, Nodjoumi worked at the Tribeca Film Festival as an Associate Programmer and is currently the Artistic Director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival. She also produced the feature documentary THE IRAN JOB, which was released theatrically and on Netflix worldwide. In Germany, the film was shortlisted for a German Academy Award. For THE IRAN JOB, Nodjoumi managed two of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time. In 2016, she was invited to attend the Sundance Creative Producer’s Summit and in 2017 she was a IFP Cannes Producer’s Network Fellow.