Viva Doc is alive and well!

Posted on Updated on

Viva Documentary enriched my life through inspiration, encouragement and fraternity. I met former Viva Doc leader, Suree Towfighnia, in the second week of Doc 1 at Columbia. She was a recent graduate of the MFA Documentary program and already had a feature doc called Standing Silent Nation air on PBS. Her class visit inspired me to follow in her footsteps, even though the path had faded and membership had dwindled.

Luckily, Margaret Ratliff was willing to join me in reviving the student organization during our second year in the MFA program. Thanks to her schmoozing skills, we managed to find a core of dedicated students to band together for the sake of keeping The Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary Film alive and vibrant. Together, we organized a party for  The 20th Anniversary Reunion for the Doc Center, rewrote the Viva Doc constitution, made a 27 minute doc and started our own website called There were other successes and failures but we gained a lot of momentum.

Today, Viva Doc alums can be found all over the Chicago documentary scene and one of our current members, Wonjung Bae, has recently gotten national notoriety by winning The Student Academy Awards for a short doc called Blunt Edge: Vera Klement. I’ll be posting more stories about Won and other Docsters as they continue to build on Chicago’s solid non-fiction foundation.

I’ll leave you with this short video that Viva Doc members contributed to last spring about renowned Chicago legend, Studs Terkel.

4 thoughts on “Viva Doc is alive and well!

    […] Viva Doc had hosted the critique of an earlier cut of the film with Brad Besser and Vince Clemente a few years ago. We spoke at length about the structure and the chronology of the edit and the ethics that the project carried with it. In watching the finished film, I was happy to see that they found a completely organic solution for structuring the doc by focusing on the waves of depression and mania that Zbigniew experiences throughout his life. […]

    […] come. I haven’t seen the film since I started attending Columbia and we had one of our first Viva Doc meetings so it’ll be nice to see how much has changed in my […]

    thecontrerasgabrielproject said:
    April 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    […] Viva Documentary because is a student organization and website that I helped grow during my time at Columbia. It’s also a network that values Chicago’s brand of documentary film; character-driven non-fiction that impacts communities while seeking an ethical truth. Many Viva Docsters were in attendance at the summit including, Deborah Harper, Anu Rana, Laurie Little and presenters Jeff Spitz and Ruth Leitman. Our roots stretch far. It’s a beautiful thing. […]

    […] just makes our net that much larger. I’m proud to have been part of ongoing institutions like Viva Documentary and The Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary and the legacy that they hold here. The professors […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s