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Thinking Like an Editor: How to Turn 400 Hours of Footage into a Film

Presented by Lindsay Utz
March 30, 2018

Lindsay Utz’s workshop will focus on how she shaped the award-winning feature documentary QUEST (“a living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade”) from over 400 hours of footage shot over a 10-year period. QUEST premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to garner the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, and top awards at several other prestigious festivals. Additionally, Lindsay won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing at this year’s Cinema Eye Honors for her work on the film. QUEST will have its 2018 television broadcast premiere on POV.


Anayansi Prado

Anayansi Prado, Filmmaker

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and instructor, Anayansi Prado was born in Panama and moved to the United States as a teenager. She attended Boston University where she received a B.A. in Film. She directed and produced the award-winning documentaries MAID IN AMERICA (2004), CHILDREN IN NO MAN’S LAND (2008) and PARAISO FOR SALE (2011) which were broadcast nationally on PBS. Anayansi is a Rockefeller Media Fellow and a Creative Capital Artist, and has received support for her work from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Prado is a Film Expert for the American Film Showcase (2009-present) and works on a regular basis with the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to bring documentary filmmaking training to aspiring filmmakers in developing countries. Prado’s film THE UNAFRAID (2018) co-directed with Heather Courtney, received the Kathleen Bryan Edwards award for Human Rights at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and was the closing night film of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York.

Empowering Youth Through Participatory Filmmaking

Presented by Nilima Abrams
November 17, 2017

THE TENT VILLAGE is a collaborative film created by Nilima Abrams and four teenagers in India. The film was a wonderful “accident” that arose from another Fulbright project, and has been screened nationally on PBS and at festivals throughout the US and abroad. THE TENT VILLAGE is about roadside tent dwellers who pick through recycling or sell hair to survive. The Indian collaborators’ unique perspective, which is slowly revealed in the film, is that three of them are originally from the “Tent Village”, with the fourth providing a perspective from a slightly less marginalized section of society. The filmmakers — who had eventually been educated by an NGO — share their own and their relatives’ stories with empathy and nuance, tackling difficult topics like child marriage and caste stigma.

This workshop will be led by Nilima, along with Saritha and Aliveli, two of her youth collaborators visiting Arizona. They will delve further into the participatory process, including how the film came about, and the challenges and opportunities it presented, from both the student and teacher perspectives. They will also discuss broader participatory filmmaking techniques and issues such as basic teaching techniques, privacy and safety, creative control, finding narrative in found footage, and drawing out stories that are “empowering” versus “shaming”.

Now aged 22, this will be one of Saritha and Aliveli’s first opportunities to share about the film. Since its completion they finished school and have been working in India at insurance and consulting firms, and are supporting their families. This is their first travel outside of India and they are very much looking forward to meeting new people and sharing their experiences.


PJ Raval

PJ Raval, Call Her Ganda, filmmaker

PJ Raval is a filmmaker and cinematographer whose work explores the overlooked subcultures and identities within the already marginalized LGBTQ+ community. Named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” PJ’s film credits include TRINIDAD (Showtime, LOGO) and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, which follows the lives of three gay senior men, described by indieWIRE as “a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.” BEFORE YOU KNOW IT screened theatrically and broadcast premiered as the season finale of AMERICA REFRAMED on PBS, and was recently awarded the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association Excellence in Documentary Award 2016. Also an accomplished cinematographer, PJ shot the Academy Award‐nominated Best Documentary TROUBLE THE WATER. PJ is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 Firelight Media Fellow, and a 2017 Robert Giard Fellow.

Documenting the Undocumented: Producing and Distributing Short Films about Immigration

Presented by Theo Rigby
March 3, 2017

Award-winning filmmaker, interactive storyteller and photojournalist Theo Rigby will present his work over the past decade with iNation Media, creating short-form webseries and feature documentaries about the immigrant experience in the U.S. His current project, WAKING DREAM, explores the lives of young undocumented people across the U.S. who have DACA permits. Drawing on this work in progress, Rigby will discuss project conceptualization, “casting,” producing and distributing short-form documentary media about immigration issues; how to fund short content through crowdfunding, grants, and distributor acquisitions; and non-traditional ways to engage audiences.


Theo Rigby

Theo Rigby

Theo Rigby is a director, cinematographer, and interactive storyteller based out of San Francisco. He believes in the power of media to create awareness and dialogue about the world’s most pressing social and political issues.

Rigby’s project WAKING DREAM is featured on Indie Lens Storycast, a web series YouTube channel, created by Indie filmmakers and developed by ITVS. His last project, IMMIGRANT NATION (iNation), is a series of short films about immigration in the U.S. including The CARETAKER, THE MAYOR, and MARATHON, as well as an online storytelling platform, and a series of live storytelling events. iNation has been showcased on the New York Times website, nationally broadcast on PBS, and shown at Ellis Island, the 2014 New York Film Festival, and 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The project received a MacArthur Documentary Film grant, as well as a Tribeca Institute New Media Fund grant. His film, SIN PAIS (Without Country), won a Student Academy Award, has screened in over 30 film festivals, and was nationally broadcast on PBS’ independent documentary showcase POV in 2012. He is currently completing a feature documentary on the contemporary Sanctuary movement.

Documentary Editing: Strategies for Making the Most of Your Material

Presented by Jacob Bricca
November 4, 2016

Documentary editing is one of the most challenging intellectual feats on the planet. One begins with a mountain of shapeless footage and is expected to fashion a fully realized story, complete with finely tuned dramatic arcs, satisfying themes and subplots, and a carefully constructed climax. How does anyone do it? In this workshop, editor Jacob Bricca will share the processes he has developed over his 15-year career, explaining with concrete examples how to find narrative threads, explore and develop subtext, build effective scenes, and get the most out of your material for a project of any size. Drawing on interviews he has conducted with top documentary editors for this forthcoming book, Documentary Editing: Principles and Practice, he will offer tips and techniques designed to make your editing more efficient and impactful.


Building Solidarity: Documentary as a Strategy for Human Rights Activism

Presented by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis
March 4, 2016

Distinguished visiting filmmakers Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis will discuss their work with Skylight Films, an activist media organization committed for over three decades to producing artistic, challenging and socially relevant media to strengthen citizen engagement, human rights and the quest for social justice. Using as an example their recent film DISRUPTION, about a women’s economic empowerment project in Peru, Colombia and Brazil, Paco and Pam will describe their process of collaborating with community leaders, grassroots organizations and NGOs to produce documentaries for social change.

Lisa Stevens

Lisa Stevens

Producer Lisa Stevens has produced several landmark documentary series for National Geographic Channel: OUTLAW BIKERS, UNDERWORLD CITIES AND DRUGS, INCORPORATED. She recently produced CRACKHOUSE USA for Channel 4 and MSNBC, with Academy Award winning (MAN ON WIRE) producer, Jonathan Hewes of Wall to Wall Media and BAFTA award winning director, Anthony Wonke. Lisa founded her own production Company, Green Acres Films Ltd. in 2009. DREAMCATCHER came about after years of nurturing a relationship with the main subjects of the film.

Lindsay Utz

Lindsay Utz, Editor

U of A Media Arts (now Film & Television) alumna Lindsay Utz (BA, 2003) is an award-winning documentary film editor based in Chicago. In addition to QUEST, her other credits include the Oscar-shortlisted BULLY (Tribeca FF 2011), FIRST POSITION (TIFF 2011), BUOY (Ashland FF 2013), IN COUNTRY (Full Frame 2014), two Emmy-nominated FRONTLINE episodes (PBS 2015/2016) and multiple shorts for the New York Times. In 2012, Utz was awarded the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship, named in honor of Errol Morris’s late editor. Her latest project, AMERICAN FACTORY (2019), with Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, swept top festival honors, including the Directing award at Sundance, and now streams on Netflix as the first project acquired by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions. She teaches Advanced Documentary Editing at Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program as an adjunct faculty member.

Web-based Interactive Media

Presented by Luisa Dantas
November 6, 2015

Visiting filmmaker Luisa Dantas will present the interactive online platform she has developed to expand upon her documentary film LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, which chronicles the post-Katrina reconstruction of New Orleans. The workshop will focus on the use of interactive web-based media as a form of strategic non-fiction storytelling to raise awareness and engagement on social issues. was produced in conjunction with a spectrum of national and local partners in six cities, and asks the question: what kinds of cities do we want to (re)build in the 21st century?


Chihiro Wimbush

Chihiru Wimbush headshot

Chihiro Wimbush (Director/Producer/Editor) is an Emmy-nominated, documentary filmmaker. Chihiro was co-director (with Amir Soltani) and cinematographer on the documentary feature, DOGTOWN REDEMPTION, about homeless shopping cart recyclers in West Oakland, California. The film premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival where it won an Audience Award, and was broadcast on Independent Lens, before being nominated for an Emmy Award. He also edited the award-winning and nationally broadcast CHANGING SEASON about a year on the Masumoto family peach farm in the Central Valley. He has directed, produced and edited numerous short films, most recently LIMINAL, about prisoners released during the pandemic reconnecting with nature, that had its broadcast premiere on Valley PBS. RICOCHET is his third collaboration with Jeff Adachi after serving as editor on Jeff’s previous two films The RIDE and DEFENDER.

Pamela Yates

Pamela Yates

Pamela Yates is a co-founder and currently the Creative Director of Skylight Pictures, a company dedicated to creating feature length documentary films and digital media tools that advance awareness of human rights and the quest for justice by implementing multi-year outreach campaigns designed to engage, educate and activate social change. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for her 2011 film GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR, which was used as key forensic evidence in the Ríos Montt genocide conviction in Guatemala. Yates is the Director of the Sundance Special Jury award winning WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE; the Executive Producer of the Academy Award winning WITNESS TO WAR, about an American doctor behind guerrilla lines in El Salvador; and the Director of STATE OF FEAR: THE TRUTH ABOUT TERRORISM, which has been translated into 47 languages and broadcast in 154 countries. Her epic film THE RECKONING, about the tumultuous first 6 years of the International Criminal Court was filmed on 4 continents and in 7 languages and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She also directed the development of GRANITO: EVERY MEMORY MATTERS, an interactive media project that gathered memories and put them into a public online archive to help restore and repair the collective memory of the Guatemalan genocide. In 2017, Yates completed 500 YEARS, the third in the Guatemalan trilogy that explores the battle for the national narrative in present day Guatemala. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, The Writers Guild of America, the Independent Documentary Association, and a Contributing Editor to NACLA: Report on the Americas.

Working with Historians and Archives

Presented by Richard Perez
February 17, 2015

This workshop, featuring filmmaker Richard Perez, a senior staff member of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, will focus on collaborating with historians and working with archives and archival footage. Later that evening, Perez will present his 2014 film CESAR’S LAST FAST in a public event at the Screening Room. The film is built around powerful, never-before-seen footage of Cesar Chavez’s 1988 36-day “Fast for Life,” interwoven with the historic events that defined the life mission of America’s most inspiring Latino leader and the struggles confronting today’s farm workers.

Richard Ray Perez is personally connected to the issues presented in CESAR’S LAST FAST… »FULL BIO

The screening of CESAR’S LAST FAST will inaugurate DocScapes, an ongoing documentary screening series presented collaboratively by the Center for Documentary initiative and the Hanson Film Institute. DocScapes events will showcase significant new films and filmmakers, and provide an ongoing venue that brings together students, faculty, local filmmakers, and the wider community.

Sande Zeig

Sande Zeig

Sande Zeig (Producer/Director) Sande Zeig is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her short film, Central Park, premiered at Sundance in 1994. She went on to direct a feature, THE GIRL, based on a short story by renowned French writer Monique Wittig that premiered at the Toronto and Berlin Film Festivals in 2001. Her documentary SOUL MASTERS: DR. GUO & DR. SHA, was released in April 2008, by Beyond Words Distribution. Zeig is president of Artistic License Films, a film distribution company that has distributed more than one hundred films including films by Ismail Merchant, Michel Negroponte, Jim Stark, Kore-eda Hirakazu, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. She is head of the Media Department for Institute of Soul Healing and Enlightenment.

Documentary Development

Presented by James Klein
January 31, 2014

This workshop, presented by Oscar-nominated filmmaker James Klein, focuses on documentary conceptualization and development, addressing such issues as: how to determine whether a documentary film is an appropriate vehicle for your content; how to develop your material for the screen (e.g., voice, structure, stylistic approaches, collaborators, process); thinking about long-form documentary vs. a series of smaller “modules,” and how such decisions in turn connect to distribution outlets and potential outreach campaigns.

Waking Dream, Theo Rigby

Waking Dream

(Theo Rigby, 2018)

Wed, Nov 20, 2019


UA Gallagher Theater / FREE

In Person: Joining filmmaker Theo Rigby for a post-screening panel discussion will be film participant Marisol, plus students from the UA Immigrant Student Resource Center.

Co-sponsors for the Waking Dream event include the School of Theatre, Film & Television, the Center for Latin American Studies, The Human Rights Practice Program, School of Anthropology, School of Journalism, and the Center for Global and Border Journalism.

The DocScapes Film Series is pleased to host award-winning filmmaker, interactive storyteller and photojournalist Theo Rigby for a campus screening of his series of short documentary films exploring the lives of young, undocumented people, primarily migrants from Latin America, residing in the US with DACA permits.

WAKING DREAM weaves together the stories of six undocumented young people, as they sit in limbo between deportation and a path to citizenship. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has provided nearly 800,000 undocumented young people a chance to work legally, go to college, start businesses, and pursue the “American Dream.” After DACA is rescinded, WAKING DREAM follows the unfolding fate of six of these young people as they fight for legal status in the U.S., struggle with the deportation of family members, and pursue their dreams in a country that is trying harder and harder to push them out. They know their fate must go one direction and they are fighting for their future in America.

WAKING DREAM cuts beyond politics to reveal the reality of undocumented young people working tenaciously for a brighter future in the U.S.

»more info at iNation Media website


The Unafraid

THU FEB 21, 2019

7pm / FREE

Loft Cinema

In Person: Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado

»more info at THE UNAFRAID website

High School seniors Alejandro, Silvia, and Aldo, like most of their friends, are eager to go to college and pursue their education. However, their home state of Georgia not only bans them from attending the top five public universities, but also deems them ineligible for in-state tuition at public colleges due to their immigration status as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. In response, these three ambitious and dream-filled students divert their passions towards the fight for education in the undocumented community.

As President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against immigrants gains momentum, and amid constant threat of losing their DACA status and being deported, The Unafraid follows these inspirational members of the generation of “undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid” young people who are determined to overcome and dismantle oppressive policies and perspectives.

Full Frame Film Festival – Winner, Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights

NY Human Rights Watch Film Festival – Closing Night Film


Call Her Ganda

(PJ Raval, 2018)

FRI NOV 2, 2018

6pm / FREE

Center for Creative Photography

In Person: PJ Raval

»more info at CALL HER GANDA website

When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case–an activist attorney (Virgie Suarez), a transgender journalist (Meredith Talusan) and Jennifer’s mother (Julita “Nanay” Laude) –galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism.

A modern David and Goliath story, CALL HER GANDA fuses personal tragedy, human rights activism and the little-known history, and complex aftermath, of U.S. imperial rule in the Philippines, forging a visually daring and profoundly humanistic geopolitical investigative exposé.

“Heartbreaking and inspirational”
Hollywood Reporter

Filmmaker Magazine

“Unflinching and eye-opening”
NOW Magazine

“CALL HER GANDA takes audiences through a gripping roller coaster of emotions…”
»Read full review at POV Magazine


Quest: A Portrait of an American Family

(Jonathan Olshefski, 2017)

Thursday Mar 29, 2018


Loft Cinema

In Person: QUEST Editor Lindsay Utz

»more info at QUEST website

Filmed with vérité intimacy for nearly a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of the Rainey family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, and his wife, Christine’a “Ma Quest” raise a family while nurturing a community of hip hop artists in their basement home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood.

Epic in scope, QUEST is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.

“QUEST is as smoothly fashioned and confidently edited as much of Barbara Kopple’s work. Credit QUEST editor Lindsay Utz, who was also responsible for the expert assembly of BULLY, the teen bullying doc.”
The Independent

“Editor Lindsay Utz‘s crisp cuts and tonal blends magnify our inside peek at this remarkable family.”
–Hollywood Reporter

“Beautifully carving out a film that feels at once narratively firm and organically shaped from over 300 hours of footage across the years, Olshelfski and editor Lindsay Utz happily save room for the small stuff: the fleeting pleasures of braiding hair and shooting hoops, along with everyday arguments over finances and child-rearing, particularly as P.J.’s emerging adult identity challenges her parents’ expectations.”

»A. O. Scott review in the New York Times: ‘Quest’ Is a Moving Portrait of an American Family


The Tent Village

(Nilima Abrams with student collaborators, 2016)

Tuesday Nov 14, 2017


Loft Cinema/Loft Film Festival

Tent Village Trailer 2.5 Min from Nilima Abrams on Vimeo.

India’s roadside tent dwellers, through the eyes of their teenaged children

The Tent Village is a participatory project Nilima created in collaboration with four Indian teenagers. After learning basic filmmaking, the students decided to film at roadside hovels where garbage workers and hair-collectors live. The filmmakers’ unique perspectives (being themselves from the community they film) guide the viewer through life in the “tent village”, bringing a compassionate yet unsentimental peek into the lives of people who are often barely seen as people at all.

The Tent Village has been screened at the Alhambra Theatre Festival, the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) Film and Media Festival, the Vermont International Film Festival, the Austin Asian American Film Festival, as well as nationally on PBS through the To the Contrary Festival.


The Journey

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Loft Cinema

Co-presented by Center for Middle Eastern Studies

»See Episode 1

still from Journey

This six-part documentary follows the treacherous, seventeen-hundred-mile migration of a Syrian refugee who fled the perils of wartime Damascus to build a better life for his family. More than a million people whose lives have been upended by desperation and violence in Syria have made similar journeys, but most of these treks take place in obscurity. Aboud Shalhoub was joined by the filmmaker Matthew Cassel, who documented—and participated in—the perilous migration in 2015. Cassel’s colleague Simon Safieh stayed in Damascus with Aboud’s wife, Christine, and his two children. The series captures Aboud’s long trip to the Netherlands, the family’s attempts to reunite, and the tide of nationalist sentiment sweeping across northern Europe.

The film was originally published by The New Yorker on their website as part of a collaboration with Field of Vision, the visual journalism unit of First Look Media.

Associate Professor Leila Hudson, from the School of Middle East and North African Studies at the University of Arizona, whose current research focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis, will lead a post-screening Skype discussion with filmmaker Matthew Cassel.

»Interview with Matthew Cassel

»Interview with filmmaker Matthew Cassel re making of THE JOURNEY


Tickling Giants

(Sara Taksler, 2016)

Wed March 8, 2017

Loft Cinema

Co-presented by the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies and UA Main Library

Bassem Youssef faced an unusual choice in 2011: heart surgeon or full-time satirist. The established doctor picked the unexpected path and it would make him one of the most famous men in the Arab world and earn him the nickname “the Jon Stewart of Egypt.”

Charting Youssef’s rise and career as Egypt’s most famous television presenter, Tickling Giants offers a rousing celebration of free speech, showcasing the power of satire to speak for the people and against a repressive government. This story differs from the familiar American success of Stewart and Stephen Colbert: Youssef’s jokes come with serious, dangerous, at times revolutionary consequences. With a precise documentary eye, Daily Show Senior Producer Sara Taksler captures the strength and fragility that color Youssef’s life on and off screen, as well as the courage of the coworkers who stand by him. She celebrates satire as a tool with a greater use than the extraction of a laugh, positioning the genre as both a weapon against fear and an instrument of democracy for those in desperate pursuit of freedom.

»Interview with Bassem Youssef in HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

»More info on the film site

Tickling Giants poster

Waking Dream: Short films on immigration

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Loft Cinema

In Person: Theo Rigby

Presented by DocScapes

Theo Rigby is a director, cinematographer, and interactive storyteller based out of San Francisco. He believes in the power of image and sound to create awareness and dialogue about the world’s most pressing social and political issues.

Rigby’s last project, IMMIGRANT NATION (iNation), is a series of short films about immigration in the U.S. including The CARETAKER, THE MAYOR, and MARATHON, as well as an online storytelling platform, and a series of live storytelling events. iNation has been showcased on the New York Times website, nationally broadcast on PBS, and shown at Ellis Island, the 2014 New York Film Festival, and 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The project received a MacArthur Documentary Film grant, as well as a Tribeca Institute New Media Fund grant. His film, Sin País (Without Country), won a Student Academy Award, has screened in over 30 film festivals, and was nationally broadcast on PBS’ independent documentary showcase POV in 2012.

His current projects include a feature documentary on the contemporary Sanctuary movement, and WAKING DREAM, a series of short documentary films exploring the lives of young, undocumented people in the U.S. who have DACA permits.


Finding Oscar

(Ryan Suffern, 2016)

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017

AME Auditorium, U of A

(NE corner of Speedway/Mountain)

Presented by the Center for Border & Global Journalism and the Center for Latin American Studies, co-sponsored by the Center for Documentary

Finding Oscar explores the story of a 1982 massacre in the small Guatemalan town of Dos Erres. The massacre claimed the lives of 200 people — men, women and children — save two small boys who survived only to be stolen and raised by their attackers. The film tells the story of the search for justice by prosecutors and others, which ultimately led to the discovery of the two survivors.

Ryan Suffern, the director of the film, and Scott Greathead, a producer and human rights lawyer, will be on a panel after the film, along with Ana Arana, a journalist and fellow at the Center for Border & Global Journalism, whose work with ProPublica, the non-profit public affairs reporting organization, helped shape the film.

Steven Spielberg is the executive producer, and the film had its first screening at his Shoah Foundation Center in Los Angeles. The documentary is scheduled for theatrical release later this year.

»More info on the film site