Chair's Workshops 2018-19

The Graduate Film Department at NYU Tisch invites industry professionals to speak and sometimes screen their work Wednesday evenings during the academic year as part of the "Chair's Workshop" series.  

Here is the list of participants for the academic year of 2018-19:

September 19, 2018

Scott Macaulay came in to Grad Film to discuss film festivals, the state of independent cinema and the 2018 25 New Faces in Independent Film and how the list has impacted filmmakers that appear on it. Macaulay is a film producer and president of the production company Forensic Films. Among his recent producing credits are Kitty Green’s hybrid documentary, Casting JonBenet, a Netflix Original Documentary that premiered at the 2017 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. Macaulay is also the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Filmmaker Magazine, a quarterly print publication and daily website published by IFP that recently celebrated its 25th year of publication. He has taught and lectured extensively on independent film production at places such as the Sundance Documentary Film Program, the Venice Biennale, College Cinema, CPH:DOX, and the Dubai International Film Festival.

September 29, 2018

The Chair’s Workshop took a field trip to the Angelika to see alum Reinaldo Marcus Green’s feature Monsters and Men followed by a Q&A with Green. The film was Green's NYU Thesis project and premiered at Sundance earlier this year to glowing reviews. There it garnered Green the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding First Feature. The film follows a young father, Manny (played by Anthony Ramos), who witnesses the police shooting of an unarmed black man, and how that event rocks their Bed-Stuy community.

October 10, 2018

RaMell Ross came to Grad Film to do a screening of Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, his first feature documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar. Ross earned a BA in both English and Sociology from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His photographs have been exhibited internationally and his writing has appeared in such outlets as The New York Times and Walker Arts Center. He was part of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2015, and a New Frontier Artist in Residence at the MIT Media Lab. In 2016, he was a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Prize, winner of an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant and a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. In early 2017, he was selected for Rhode Island Foundation's Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Artist Fellowship. Ross is currently on faculty at Brown University’s Visual Arts Department. 

October 12, 2018

Jeremiah Zagar showed his film We The Animals at Grad Film. Zagar started filming his parents, resulting in the documentary, In A Dream, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and screened theatrically across the US and in film festivals around the world. It was broadcast on HBO, shortlisted for an Academy Award and received two Emmy nominations, including “Best Documentary.” His next feature-length documentary, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO to much fanfare in 2014. Other notable output includes the pilot episode for Showtime’s 7 Deadly Sins, and commercial work for GE Capital, Pedigree and New Balance. His latest project is the feature We The Animals – based on the best-selling novel – which was selected for the Sundance Directing & Screenwriting Lab fellowships. We The Animals debuted at this year’s 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

October 24, 2018

Alum Debra Granik came back to Grad Film to show her newest film Leave No Trace. Granik is a filmmaker working in both fiction and non-fiction.  The short film she made while a student in the NYU Graduate Film Program was the foundation for her first narrative feature, DOWN TO THE BONE, which was awarded the Best Director prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.  Her next film, WINTER’S BONE, was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.  Her feature length documentary STRAY DOG aired on PBS in November 2015.  Her most recent film LEAVE NO TRACE was selected for the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes in 2018 and has been distributed internationally by Sony in 2018.

November 14, 2018

Joe Wright came to Grad Film for a fascinating Q&A. Wright studied Fine Art, Film and Video at Central St Martin’s College of Art. After college he worked on music videos, short films and a few limited series. Wright made his feature film directorial debut in 2005 with Pride & Prejudice. The film was critically acclaimed and Wright won BAFTA’s Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in Their First Feature Film. Pride & Prejudice was nominated for five additional BAFTA Awards, four Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. Wright’s second feature, Atonement, received 13 BAFTA Award nominations and seven Academy Award nominations. In 2011, Wright directed Anna Karenina, which was nominated for six BAFTA awards and four Academy Awards. Wright’s theater credits include Trelawny of the Wells at the Donmar Warehouse, A Season In The Congo starring Chiwetel Ejiofor at the Young Vic theatre, and The Life of Galileo starring Brendan Cowell, also at the Young Vic. After directing Pan for Warner Brothers, Wright directed Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, a film which received six Academy Award nominations and nine BAFTA nominations in total, and is currently in post production on his latest project, The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams.

December 7, 2018

Jennifer Fox is an internationally acclaimed producer, director, writer and camerawoman. Her films include Beirut: The Last Home Movie, the 10-hour An American Love Story, the six-part, Flying Confessions of a Free Woman, and the feature My Reincarnation. Fox has executive produced numerous award-winning films including Love & Diane; On the Ropes; She’s Lost Control and The Pathological Optimist. While visiting Grad Film she screened her latest film, The Tale. The Tale is an investigation into one woman’s memory as she’s forced to re-examine her first sexual experience and consider the way our minds help us survive. It shares the survivor’s perspective throughout - both as an adult and as a child.

December 12, 2018

Director of photography Erik Messerschmidt stopped by Grad Film for a Q&A with Professor Fred Elmes. Messerschmidt is currently lensing the second season of David Fincher’s thriller series Mindhunter for Netflix. He also shot the first season of the hit series, which chronicles an FBI agent’s quest to track down serial killers in the late 1970s. He previously shot an episode of FX’s Legion and worked as the 2nd unit director of photography on Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the follow up to 2015’s breakout war-on-drugs thriller, Sicario. Prior to his stellar work in television, Messerschmidt gaffed for renowned cinematographer Claudio Miranda on Granite Mountain, director Joseph Kosinski’s drama about wildland firefighters starring Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly and Jeff Bridges.

February 6, 2019

Director and alum A.B. Shawky is an Egyptian-Austrian filmmaker. His short films "The Colony", "Things I Heard on Wednesdays" and "Martyr Friday" have screened at festivals around the world. He founded his production company Desert Highway Pictures in 2014 with the aim to bring stories of the underdog to the big screen. Shawky studied Political Science and Filmmaking in Cairo, and is a graduate of the NYU Grad Film Program. Shawky was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top five Arab directors on the global stage. Variety Magazine named him MENA Talent of the Year. During his visit, he screened his thesis film and debut feature Yomeddine, which had its world premiere in Main Competition at Cannes Film Festival in 2018 and received the Francois Chalais Award. The film was Egypt's official submission for the 91st Academy Awards.

February 20, 2019

Writer/director and recent alum Faraday Okoro and writer and current student Andrew Long visited Grad Film for a Q&A and screening of their film Nigerian Prince, the winner of the $1 million AT&T Untold Stories prize. Okoro is a New York City-based Nigerian-American filmmaker. Faraday’s debut short film "Full-Windsor" has screened in 14 major film festivals, including the Los Angeles Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival. His latest short film "Blitz" premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was also selected to the Palm Springs International Shortfest. Additionally, his work has aired nationally on PBS Television and GaiamTV, and is streaming online via Indieflix. In 2016, Faraday was included in MovieMaker Magazine/Austin Film Festival’s “25 Screenwriters To Watch” list. Andrew Long is a New York-based writer known for his work on Nigerian Prince. Born in Washington DC, he attended Howard University, where he received a BA in Film. He is currently enrolled in NYU’s Graduate Film program. Faraday and Long recently premiered Nigerian Prince at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Nigerian Prince is a coming of age heist thriller, set in Lagos, Nigeria. The film uncovers the hidden world of Nigerian email scammers, otherwise known as Nigerian Prince scammers. The film was produced by AT&T for $1 million, as part of their new initiative, Untold Stories, an inclusive film program in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Institute and Tribeca Film Festival.

April 16, 2019

Director/cinematographer Ellen Kuras stopped by Grad Film for a Q&A to discuss her impressive slate of films. An Academy Award-nominee and two-time Primetime Emmy winner, Kuras has created visionary, bold and influential eclectic work that has made significant contributions to cinema. Well-known for her visually stunning cinematography work on ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004), BLOW (2001), and SUMMER OF SAM (1999), she has collaborated with the most visionary directors of our time - Michael Gondry, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Sam Mendes, Jim Jarmusch, Errol Morris and Rebecca Miller. She was the fifth woman to be invited into the American Society of Cinematographers and was one of the youngest below-the-line members to be invited into the Academy in 1997. She has been widely regarded as a pioneer for all filmmakers, moving easily between the studio and independent film worlds with a repertoire that includes narrative, documentary, music films and commercials.

May 8, 2019

Director/producer Thomas Kail visited Grad Film for a Q&A and screening of Episode 5 of his FX limited series Fosse/Verdon, which is edited by Grad Film professor Erica Freed Marker. Kail received the 2016 Tony award for his direction of the Broadway production of Hamilton. He also received a Tony nomination for his direction of In the Heights. His additional Broadway credits include the new plays Lombardi and Magic/Bird. Other credits include the world premiere of Hamilton and Dry Powder at the Public Theater; the world premiere of In the Heights; Broke-ology and the world premiere of When I Come to Die at Lincoln Center Theater; the world premiere of Daphne’s Dive at the Signature Theater; Randy Newman’s Faust, as well as The Wiz at New York City Center; the world premiere of The Tutors at Second Stage Uptown; the world premiere of Broke-ology at Williamstown Theater Festival; the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's Family Furniture at The Flea; and the national tour of In the Heights. He is the co-creator and director of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme, which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival, and Melbourne Comedy Festival. He won a 2016 Emmy for his direction of Grease Live for FOX. Additional TV credits include: Oprah Winfrey's Primetime Oscar Special for ABC; the pilot episode of Storymakers for AMC; as well as serving as the Executive Producer of the TV show Freestyle Love Supreme for Pivot.  He is also the recipient of a Drama Desk Award, an Obie, a Callaway Award, the Lucile Lortel Award and the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center.  He is a graduate of Wesleyan University.