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  • SVA MFA Photo, Video and Related Media, Big Room 120 214 East 21st Street New York, NY, 10010 United States (map)

The MFA Photo/Video Department invites you to join us for two documentary screenings and Q & A with filmmakers Rachel Shuman and Ann Collins followed by a discussion led by MFA thesis candidates Nachiket Guttikar and Emily Cohen.

4:00pm Screening of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold - edited by Ann Collins (please kindly RSVP for this screening by emailing Film also available on Netflix)

6:30pm Screening of One October - directed, edited, produced by Rachel Shuman

7:30pm Q&A and discussion

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold - edited by Ann Collins Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne.

One October - directed, edited, produced by Rachel Shuman Filmed in October 2008 on the eve of Obama's historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, this lyrical portrait of New York City follows WFMU radio reporter Clay Pigeon as he takes to the streets to talk to fellow New Yorkers about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with a transforming city. As part of what he calls a “radio experiment,” this transplanted Iowan roams the streets bearing a handheld recorder and a kindly probing nature: “Has he popped the question?” “When did you become a woman?” “When is the last time you’ve had a regular roof over your head?” “Do you love America?” These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.


Rachel Shuman - MFA Photo, Video, and Related Media class of ‘04 (Director, Editor, Producer) Rachel is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked in New York City for 20 years. Her most recent film, “One October,” premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2017. Her directorial debut “Negotiations” premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival. She co-directed “Art, Architecture, and Innovation: Celebrating the Guggenheim Museum,” which aired on PBS and is shown at the museum. Her editing credits include “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf,” “Wallace” (Class 5 Films), “Peter Eisenman” (Checkerboard Films), and “After the Cup” (Variance Films). Rachel has also worked as an editor on nonfiction programming for A&E, History, and MTV and she is proud to be a board member of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship. Originally from Boston, Rachel received a BFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Ann Collins - MFA Photo, Video, and Related Media Faculty Ann Collins was recently nominated for a American Cinema Editor (ACE) Award for her work as Editor for the Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center WIll Not Hold, Ann’s career began more than twenty-five years ago when she edited Gini Reticker’s independent documentary, The Heart of the Matter, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Freedom of Expression Award. Her credits include the feature documentaries Belly Talkers, The Charcoal People, and Sound and Fury, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before receiving theatrical and television distribution. Sound and Fury was nominated for an Academy Award.

Her television credits include Frontline: Merchants of Cool (PBS), Martha Stewart’s Home for the Holidays (CBS), and True Life: I’m on the Runway (MTV). She has edited and story-consulted on web content work for Etsy and Johns Hopkins University. She has also worked extensively as a story consultant and consulting editor on numerous independent documentaries.

She began her career as an assistant editor for Bill Moyers, George Butler, Ken Burns, and Maysles Films. She graduated cum laude from New York University where she received a BFA in film and television. She has guest lectured at NYU’s film school and school of journalism. She has also served on the selection committee and jury of the Newport Film Festival.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP via Eventbrite