Northwestern University to offer degree in Documentary Media
Students at Northwestern University’s School of Communication will acquire a broad and deep knowledge of the current and expansive field of documentary filmmaking, including hands on production experience
Evanston, IL – December 18, 2013 — Why an MFA in Documentary Media at Northwestern? According to program director and documentary filmmaker, Debra Tolchinsky, “Documentary is now crucial. It’s a way to change the world, to make an impact, to tell stories that need to be told, plus, the sectors thirsty for actuality-based moving images keep multiplying. Think Google, Netflix, news agencies, companies with social media campaigns not to mention conventional theaters. Documentary Media is not just desirable, it’s now a necessity.”
According to associate director and filmmaker, Kyle Henry, “What will make Northwestern’s program unique will be its emphasis on professional training, its Chicago Location, and its hybrid approach to documentary. We will train participants to be savvy filmmakers by encouraging them to pursue opportunities across platforms and markets.” Students participate in an earmarked professional internship in Chicago, LA, or New York. Upon graduating, participants will have access to the famous Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance.
“Documentary is now crucial. It’s a way to change the world, to make an impact, to tell stories that need to be told, plus, the sectors thirsty for actuality-based moving images keep multiplying”
In addition, while NU’s MFA foregrounds traditional documentary, the program also emphasizes how to use fictional storytelling techniques to tell documentary stories by looking at films like The Thin Blue Line, The Gatekeepers, and The Act of Killing. And on the flip side, students will explore the way documentary techniques are employed within narrative films such as The Hurt Locker or television shows like The Office. According to Henry, “We will give our students a solid foundation in traditional documentary mediamaking, but will also encourage them to look beyond the traditional, to innovate and to plug into new forms as they emerge.”
The program arms each student with $5000 to make their thesis work, access to world-class faculty and equipment, a small cohort of like-minded students, and a guaranteed teaching assistantship as well as access to a constant stream of professional visiting artists.
Tolchinsky asserts the ideal candidate for this MFA “is anyone with an interest in documentary who’s looking for a job in the entertainment or non-profit sector. Anyone who wants to make media that makes a difference. Anyone who wants to explore traditional or emerging forms.” Applications are due February 15.
For more information, please contact 847-467-4696 or docmedia(at)northwestern(dot)edu or visit the program’s web site at docmedia.northwestern.edu.