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Presented by MFA Social Documentary Film

11th Annual SocDoc Thesis Showcase

September 16 - 26, 2021
blurred photo of a woman with glasses, her arm over her head holding a white rose

Still from Yijia Zeng’s film OVERSEAS.


Fri, Sep 17; 8:30 - 10:00pm

Join in-person or online!

RSVP below for updates and to attend

RSVP here
Credit: trailer editor: Aom Prapaporn Pinyopusarerk (SocDoc Class of 2016).

In its 11th Annual Thesis Showcase, SVA MFA Social Documentary Film is proud to celebrate the class of 2021!

Department Chair Maro Chermayeff says, “This year, our students from Group 11—who shot and edited their films during the pandemic—are sharing their thesis works-in-progress. These last two years have been full of remarkable challenges. For documentary filmmakers, to live through such a time of transition and dramatic shifts in culture and behavior in and of itself is interesting. It has completely altered the way we see the world and how we tell stories: our own stories, and importantly, the stories of others. All of this year’s work was hard to film and, in some cases, is startlingly personal, speaking to the fractured reality, isolation and frustration experienced by the filmmakers themselves. Our students persevered and we honor their grit in this process.”


This showcase celebrates the work of Chen Chen, Eunique Doran, Taj Irzhavskaia, Yu Jiang, Yuexin Esabel Ying, Zijun Cathy You, Yijia Zeng, L. Zhang, Peipei Zhang and Zhaoyu Zhang. Class of 2021 graduates not screening their films include Lisa Durden, Shangze Li and Aria Raofi.

All films will screen online Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 26, and will be available worldwide. Select screenings will also occur in-person at SVA Theatre in New York City on Thursday, September 16 and Friday, September 17. RSVP here to receive streaming links, to attend any in-person screenings or online Q&As and to receive program updates. RSVP is required for all events.

NOTE: Use a laptop/desktop computer when streaming films for the best experience; the streaming site is not mobile compatible.


We can’t do this unless we do it safely. For all in-person attendees, proof of vaccination is required (or proof of a recent negative COVID test for those who are exempt for age, medical or religious reasons). Masks are required in the SVA Theatre.

**Filmmaker Q&As**

Thursday, September 16

Live screenings followed by Q&As - In-Person at the SVA Theatre

6:00pm ET – Puppetry, Us, director: Zhaoyu Zhang

7:20pm ET – Dancing with COVID-19, director: Yu Jiang

8:30pm ET – Behind the Screen, director: Eunique Doran

Friday, September 17 ** SHOWCASE SPOTLIGHT **

Live screenings followed by Q&As - In-Person at the SVA Theatre

3:00pm ET – Floods Occur, director: Taj Irzhavskaia (attend online Q&A - 3:30pm ET via Zoom)

4:30pm ET – Chinatown Auxiliary, director: Zijun Cathy You

6:00pm ET – Overseas, director: Yijia Zeng

7:00pm ET – Our Curse, director: Peipei Zhang (attend online Q&A - 8pm ET via Zoom)

Monday, September 20, 8:00am ET

Virtual Q&A — Watch the films online in advance

Home is a Story, director: L. Zhang

Remodeling, director: Esabel Yuexin Ying

Butterfly Home, director: Chen Chen

attend the Q&A via Zoom here


**Filmmakers Reception**

Friday, September 17, 8:30pm ET, New York City

For SocDoc Filmmakers and their guests. Invitation only.

**Thesis Showcase Spotlight**

Selected filmmakers have the opportunity to share their films with a group of documentary Industry Advisors who can potentially help further their projects and careers. The filmmakers selected for this year’s spotlight are: Taj Irzhavskaia (Floods Occur); Zijun Cathy You (Chinatown Auxiliary); Yijia Zeng (Overseas); Peipei Zhang (Our Curse).

In addition, all graduates receive career strategy consultations from Showcase Industry Advisors:

Opal Bennett, co-producer, P.O.V.

Caitlin Mae Burke, co-director - IF/Then Shorts 

Dominic Davis, senior programmer, Rooftop Films

Loren Hammonds, VP, Immersive Programming, Tribeca Film Festival

Marcie Hume, senior executive producer, A&E

Paola Mottura, director, Film Fund, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

Nat Ruiz Tofano (MFA 2014 Social Documentary Film), interim artist development manager, IDA and Grants Coordinator, Brown Girls Doc Mafia 

Nicole Tsien, co-producer, P.O.V.

Donald Young, director of programs, Center for Asian American Media

Free and open to the public