News & Events

Professor LeAnn documentary screened at Filmadelphia Series

TSR_Poster Leann Top secre posterTemple University professor LeAnn Erickson had the Philadelphia premiere of  her award winning documentary
 Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII (2010) on September 16, as part of the Filmadelphia series, an event produced by the Philadelphia Film Society.

Top Secret Rosies shares the little known story of a group of female mathematicians who did secret ballistics research for the US Army during WWII, a handful of whom went on to serve as the programmers of ENIAC, the first multi-purpose electronic computer. Top Secret Rosies was featured on CNN online, was screened on public television and has won awards in national film festivals.

Filmadelphia at the Roxy is a monthly film series at the PFS Theater at the Roxy that provides avenue for local filmmakers of all ages, levels and backgrounds to showcase their work and elicit audience feedback.

The successful documentary was adapted into a book app project, The Computer Wore Heels, for iPad, which Professor Erickson completed and released in August. Read more about the The Computer Wore Heels bookapp here.

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Temple University Student Wins 2014 Princess Grace Award

Prince Grace Awards

Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, a second year student of the MFA Program in Film and Media Arts, received the prestigious 2014 Graduate Film Scholarship award from the Princess Grace Foundation. This year the Princess Grace Foundation honored forty-two emerging artists, including twelve graduate and undergraduate film students. The Princess Grace Foundation (PGF) receives applicants from the most important film schools in the United States and the PGF Awards are one of the most competitive film awards in the country.

Hunt-Ehrlich is a documentarian working in film, video, photography and multimedia in service to the marginalized and the underrepresented. She is a current Future Faculty Fellow and MFA candidate in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. She has completed documentaries in Philadelphia, New York, Miami, and Kingston, Jamaica that explore themes of physicality, violence, and identity within urban contexts. Hunt-Erlich has received arts grants from Temple University, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council as well as the National Black Programming Consortium.

The Princess Grace Foundation is engaged in rewarding emerging talent in theater, dance, and film by scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships in the United States. This year, the Foundation is awarding nearly $1 million to continue the legacy of Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco, who helped emerging artists pursue their artistic goals during her lifetime.

Madeleine Hunt-Erlich will receive her award in Los Angeles at the 32nd Annual Princess Grace Awards Gala held in the presence of Their Serene Highnesses The Prince and The Princess of Monaco on October 8, 2014.

Temple University students have repeatedly been honored by the Princess Grace Foundation, receiving six awards in the last nine years. A complete list of winners from Temple University’s Department of Film and Media Arts is below.

2014 Princess Grace Foundation Award Winner:

Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich (graduate award)

Madeleine profile picture

Previous Princess Grace Foundation Award Winners:

David Romberg (graduate award, 2013)
Fiona Otway (graduate award, 2012)
Mark Tumas (undergraduate award, 2012)
Chinonye Chukwu (graduate award, 2009)
Heidi Saman (graduate award, 2006)
Karen Carpenter (graduate award, 2005)
Melissa Thompson (graduate award, 1999)

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MFA Alum’s Documentary Film receives North American Premiere at TIFF

los anos de fierro - FINALThe Years of Fierro (Los Años de Fierro), directed by Santiago Esteinou, an FMA alumnus, was screened at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as part of the TIFF Docs, a showcase of the best non-fiction cinema. With more than 250 national and international movies screened annually, TIFF is an important opportunity for films looking for distribution and publicity.

Estienou’s MFA thesis film, The Years of Fierro, tells a story of Cesar Fierro, the oldest Mexican prisoner on death row in the United States. César has waited for an execution date, in solitary confinement, for more than 30 years, always insisting that he is innocent. This documentary is a reflection on justice, imprisonment and brotherly love, through the eyes of César and his brother, Sergio. These two brothers still hope to meet again, no matter the time or the distance.

Esteinou is originally from Mexico City and received his Master’s in Fine Arts from Temple University in 2013. Santiago Esteinou also studied at Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico and New York University. He directed the documentary Chronic Pain (‘08).

The Years of Fierro was a coproduction of Germany, Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The film was awarded in Santiago Documentary Festival of this year. It was also screened at Morelia International Film Festival, in 2013 and in 2014 at Guadalajara International Film Festival and Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival ran from September 4-14 and The Years of Fierro was exhibited on September 5, 9, & 14, 2014. Check out The Years of Fierro trailer here or read about the film on IndieWire and The Hollywood Reporter.

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Professor Michael Kuetemeyer’s Time Lens featured in “New Sights” Exhibition

Bioscope Installation

Time Lens was created by Professor Michael Kuetemeyer, of Temple’s Department of Film & Media Arts, and media artist Anula Shetty, in collaboration with residents from the homeless shelter, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. They produced photographs, videos and interviews of the neighborhood that resulted in an interactive documentary mobile iPad app and an installation,  that uses immersive panoramas and stories to explore spaces through time. Funded by ArtPlace, Time Lens is part of the Asian Arts Initiativeʻs Social Practice Lab.

The project will be featured at the “New Sights” exhibition opening this Friday, September 5 at THREENINETEEN, the street level gallery space at 319 N. 11th Street, in the expanding Callowhill neighborhood of Philadelphia. “New Sight” is curated by internationally known visual artists Sarah McEneaney and Zoe Strauss. The show aims to shed light on the role of the arts in changing communities especially in urban environments, and supports the transformation of the Reading Viaduct/Rail Park. The exhibition runs through October 18.

Kuetemeyer and Shetty’s are also exhibiting Time Lens at the Pearl Street Block Party on Saturday, September 27 and the First Friday Outdoor Exhibition on October 3.

The Time Lens project was also presented at the 41st SIGGRAPH, International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, last August, in Vancouver, Canada.

You can experience the project downloading the iPad/iPhone app here: Time Lens – Pearl Street.

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Professor Rea Tajiri presents two projects and a Master Class this month

Professor Rea Tajiri, of Temple University’s Department of Film and Media Arts will present her new project, Wisdom Gone Wild at Penn Memory Center on Monday, September 8. This film examines the difficulties of being a caregiver to a parent with dementia. Lordville, Tajiri’s award-winning documentary, will have its Philadelphia premiere on Tuesday, September 9. A discussion with Tajiri follows the screening at International House Philadelphia. Professor Tajiri will also teach a Master Class on personal essay documentaries at Scribe Video Center, on Wednesday, September 10. More information about the events below:

Wisdom Gone Wild

Wisdom Gone Wild: Screening and Discussion - Penn Memory Center Presented by ARTZ Philadelphia, in conjunction with Penn Memory Center, Rea Tajiri will screen clips from her work-in-progress: WISDOM GONE WILD, a film about caring for a parent with dementia.
Discussion and Q&A to follow
The event is now at capacity,  please RSVP to put your name on the waitlist to
Monday, September 8, 3-5 pm Penn Memory Center, 3615 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Check out the folder here

LORDVILLE_lamprey1_300dpiLordville: Screening and Discussion - International House Philadelphia (IHP) Presented in Partnership with IHP and co-sponsored by the Department of Film and Media Arts at Temple University, this is the Philadelphia Premiere of the awarded documentary Lordville.  In this hybrid-documentary, director Rea Tajiri asks”What does it mean to own the land?”
Discussion and Q&A to follow
Tuesday, September 9 at 7:00 pm. International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104
Tickets available here

Rea Tajiri close

Master Class: Rea Tajiri: The Essay Film
Rea Tajiri’s eclectic body of film work include personal essay documentaries – History & Memory (1991) and Lordville (2013). In this Master Class, Tajiri will discuss how she uses the personal essay documentary to reimagine and recreate collective histories that have been submerged, lost, and stolen.
Wednesday, September 10, 7 – 9 pm
Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Temple University Alum Received Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grant

haitaoTemple University alumnus Haitao Guo, a graduate of the department’s MFA program, received a Sundance Institute Documentary Film grant last month. The grant will support the post-production efforts of Guo’s feature-length documentary A Peking Opera Master in New York.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is supported by the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation, among other prestigious institutions. The program selected 44 films and granted a total of $975,000, a significant increase over last year. Four films, including Guo’s, are part of the Documentary Film Initiative in Asia.

The Documentary Film Program selects films that have both contemporary social relevance as well as meaningful approach for the culture at large. The Program also offers support for documentary labs, fellowships, and editorial consultation.

A Peking Opera Master in New York tells the story of legendary Peking Opera Grandmaster, Yuling Fang, an Chinese exile living in New York. With no one to inherit his skills, which are declining with age, he mounts an amateur production in order to revive the vanishing world he loves. This is the second feature-length documentary by Guo; his first was David and Patricia.

Guo also received support for the film from the Sundance CNEX in Beijing. He signed with the professional editor Joe Bini, long-time collaborator with Werner Herzog, who will supervise the editing of the project.

Read more about it here and check out A Peking Opera Master in New York’s trailer.

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MFA Temple Alumna is the Founder and Director of BlackStar Film Festival

black star film festival

Maori Holmes (sitting in the middle of the row) with BlackStar Film Festival staff

The 2014, third annual BlackStar Film Festival ran between July 31 and August 3 in various venues across University City, Philadelphia. Maori Holmes, an MFA Temple Alumna, is the Founder and the Producing Artistic Director of what was called by Ebony magazine “the black Sundance.”

Created to show independent films produced by black directors working outside mainstream Hollywood, this year’s festival focused on the theme “Music is the Weapon.” Forty films were presented, among them shorts, documentaries and feature-length works from four different continents.

The event held screenings, panels, mixers and workshops with renowned artists and directors such as the acclaimed filmmaker Arthur Jafa, who premiered his documentary, Dreams Are Colder Than Death. Also included was actor Michael K. Williams of The Purge: Anarchy, and HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. The Black Star Film Festival also had, for the first time, a closing ceremony and announced many awards including the screenplay competition. The winner, Asia Nichols, will have her short film Stranded produced by the festival and directed by award-winning director Terence Nance.

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Postcards from Climate Change Student Contest, deadline: Jan 5


Festival Description:

Our mission is to showcase and reward the best short films on local climate change stories from student filmmakers from across the United States.  We are looking for climate stories of hope and courage.  We are not looking for films about general environmental issues like recycling or pollution.

The panel of judges will include well-known documentary filmmakers, and climate change experts.  Entries should demonstrate excellence in filmmaking and tell a unique regional climate change story.   Entries should be 5-10 minutes in length.  For examples please see previous postcards.

We are looking for finished works but will consider works in progress (please email to discuss).

Finalist films will premiere at  The Center for Environmental Filmmaking (as part of the Environmental Film Festival in The Nation’s Capital) March 2015. The first place winner will receive a cash prize of $500 and an all-expense paid trip to the premiere.  Additionally, finalist films will be featured on the Postcards From Climate Change website, Greenpeace YouTube channel, and Greenpeace blog.

Check out how to participate here

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MFA Temple Alumna selected one of the 25 new faces of independent film



Heidi Saman became a devotee of Italian neorealist films during her undergraduate studies at  University of California, San Diego. After working in Cairo, Egypt as a freelance journalist she moved to Philadelphia to pursue her MFA in Film and Media Arts degree at Temple University. The neorealist style inspired Saman for her debut feature film Namour that is now on post-production after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Namour is a film that tells the story of Steven Bassem, an Arab-American who is afraid that his temporary job as a valet driver in a fashionable restaurant in LA is turning into his future.

Heidi Saman’s MFA thesis short film The Maid received the Princess Grace Honorarium Award and was selected to premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. It played at festivals worldwide including Slamdance and IndieMemphis. Her second short film, Pears, received the Panavision Equipment Grant Award and screened at festivals and galleries around the globe. Besides making her films, Saman works as an associate producer at National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

The former MFA Temple student was just selected as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Read more about it here.

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Professor Rodney Evans’ film Brother to Brother had a 10th Anniversary screening in LA


BROTHER TO BROTHER, directed by FMA Professor Rodney Evans, had a Tenth Anniversary screening in Los Angeles on  Sunday, June 22nd at the Hammer Museum. The event was sponsored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and featured a post-screening discussion with Professor Evans.

Outfest-UCLA Legacy Project’s aim is to collect, restore and screen queer film and video.

Rodney Evans’ moving feature film looks back on the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of an elderly, black writer who meets a gay teenager in a New York homeless shelter.

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