The Graduate Film Department at NYU Tisch invites industry professionals to speak or make presentations every Wednesday evening during the academic year as part of the "Chair's Workshop" series. Some prominent recent guests of the series include: David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Beau Willimon, Steven Soderbergh, Darren Aronofsky, Jodie Foster, Ang Lee, Robert Elswit, James Schamus, Peter Dinklage, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Susanne Bier, Vittorio Storaro and David Mamet.
Here is the list of participants for the academic year of 2017-18:
September 30, 2018
Barbara Schock, Tony Jannelli, and the entire Grad Film department welcomed legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Storaro is an Italian cinematographer widely recognized for his work on numerous classic films including Apocalypse Now, The Conformist, and The Last Emperor. He has won three Academy Awards for Best Cinematography. Mr. Storaro presented his vision of color psychology, universal aspect ratio, and reflected on many other aspects of his long career. He showed a sample of his work through a collection of film clips, all presented to a standing-room-only Grad Film audience.
CHLOÉ ZHAO and THE RIDER SCREENING
April 9, 2018
Alumna Chloé Zhao stopped by to do a screening of her award-winning film The Rider. Zhao’s debut feature, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered in US Dramatic Competition at Sundance Film Festival and Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for Best First Film, Best Cinematography and Someone to Watch Award at the 2016 Independent Spirit Awards. The Rider premiered at Cannes 2017, winning the Art Cinema Award, and has been shown all over the world from Hamburg Film Festival to Palm Springs. Chloé also received the inaugural Bonnie Award at the 2018 Independent Spirit Awards in recognition of her career as a director.
September 13, 2018
Gary Ross came to Grad Film for a great Chair’s Workshop. The four-time Academy Award nominee is currently directing Oceans Eight, an extension of the Warner Brothers “Oceans” franchise. After starting work in television, Ross got his big break when he wrote the Tom Hanks hit Big. He followed the success of that film with a series of notable screenwriting credits including Mr. Baseball, Dave, Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. He went on to direct Seabiscuit, nominated that year for Best Picture, and the first installment of The Hunger Games, which he adapted for the screen alongside the series novelist Suzanne Collins. His last film, The Free State of Jones, was the product of years of research including a two-year fellowship at Harvard University where he studied the Civil War era and Reconstruction.
October 18, 2017
Maria Giese came by for a Q&A with Grad Film students. In 2011 Giese, director of When Saturday Comes and Hunger, turned her attention to the underrepresentation of women directors in United States media. She began researching and writing about viable legal strategies to remediate illegal discrimination against women in Hollywood, citing Title VII. Finally, in 2015 in the Directors Guild of America, Giese became the person who instigated the biggest industry-wide Federal investigation for women directors in Hollywood history, going on now. In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis referred to her work as “a veritable crusade." She is now a subject in five feature-length documentaries in production and has been signed by the Boston literary agency Kneerim & Williams to write a book, “Troublemaker," about her work getting the ACLU and EEOC to investigate this issue— the ramifications of which are resonating globally.
LISA BRUCE and DARKEST HOUR SCREEENING
November 17, 2017
Alumna Lisa Bruce came back to Grad Film to show an advanced screening of her film Darkest Hour. As a producer, Lisa Bruce has made feature films both domestic and internationally, both independently and with major studios. In 2015 she won a prestigious BAFTA and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her recent feature, The Theory of Everything. Critically acclaimed, it won 29 international awards including three BAFTAs, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award and ultimately took in over $120m in the global box office. Prior to that Bruce produced 15 feature films. Bruce’s films have appeared as official selections in festivals around the world including Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Tokyo, Berlin, Hamburg, Deauville, and Los Angeles.
November 29, 2017
Sean Baker, writer and director of Tangerine, The Florida Project, and Starlet, came to Grad Film for a discussion of his work and process. Baker's most recent feature, The Florida Project, premiered at the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Baker edited the film himself and co-wrote the script with his frequent collaborator Chris Bergoch. The film was praised for its performances and Baker's direction, and was chosen by both the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year. Baker's fifth feature, Tangerine, follows a transgender sex worker. The film was shot using three iPhone 5s smartphones and received praise for its groundbreaking filmmaking techniques.
YANCE FORD and STRONG ISLAND SCREENING
January 31, 2018
Yance Ford, documentary filmmaker and the first trans director ever nominated for an Academy Award, stopped in to do a screening of his film Strong Island. In addition to the historic Oscar nomination, Strong Island has won multiple awards this year at the Sundance Film Festival, Gotham Awards, Black Film Critics Circle Awards, Cinema Eye Honors Awards, Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and more.
SARAH-VIOLET BLISS and CHARLES ROGERS
February 28, 2018
Alumni Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers came back to Grad Film to speak with the students. They are the co-creators, co-writers and co-directors of the critically acclaimed TBS series, Search Party. Previously, the pair co-wrote and co-directed the feature film Fort Tilden, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival and was released theatrically through Orion Pictures. The duo also wrote for the first and second seasons of Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix as well as the second season of Mozart In The Jungle on Amazon, which won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series. In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter named Rogers and Bliss "Hollywood Power Showrunners: Ones To Watch" in their annual list of the top 50 television showrunners and in 2016, the creative duo were named Variety's 10 Writers to Watch.
ELEGANCE BRATTON & JAMAL LEWIS
April 18, 2018
Elegance Bratton is a thesis student at Graduate Film, an award winning photographer, filmmaker, public thinker, author, and most recently, the executive producer and creator of the Viceland TV series My House. He came by to screen his new show’s pilot episode and discuss life after Grad Film.
Jamal Lewis came by as well to screen works-in-progress from her upcoming doc No Fats, No Femmes (critically engaging the ubiquitous phrase “no fats, no fems” popularly used on gay male social networking and dating sites to describe one’s dating preferences) and discuss the power of storytelling and independent filmmaking.
CATHY YAN AND DEAD PIGS SCREENING
May 2, 2018
Dual Degree alumna Cathy Yan stopped in for a screening of her film Dead Pigs and a Q&A. The film premiered at Sundance last past January, where it won best Ensemble Acting. Not only did she have an award winning feature at Sundance, but was just named to direct the next Harley Quinn movie, starring Margot Robbie. The film is the Spin-off of Suicide Squad, and based on the DC comic "Birds of Prey."Yan's appointment makes her the first Asian female to direct a superhero film.
May 3, 2018
Professor David Schwartz opened up his 1st Year Essential Viewing class to the community to welcome a special guest: Director Kelly Reichardt. Reichardt is an accomplished indie director. Her debut film River of Grass was released in 1994. It was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Proving why she is one of the most highly-regarded auteurs of current cinema, Kelly Reichardt's subtle storytelling technique uses a formal minimalist style to weave together a unique emotional and political road film Wendy and Lucy. The film was released in December 2008 and earned Oscar buzz for lead actress Michelle Williams. It was nominated for Best Film and Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards.
2017-18 NOTABLE CLASS GUEST SPEAKERS
Reinaldo Marcus Green