Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-9-2016

Embargo Period


Event Date

June 9-12, 2016


MDOCS, Documentary, Storytelling, Event, Showcase, Storytellers' Institute, Walk the Line, Festosium


Festosium™ (n). A gathering that combines the best elements of a festival to showcase and a symposium to bring together a small group of scholars and artists to engage with intellectual and creative work.

MDOCS’ inaugural festosium will be held June 10–12, 2016, with filmmakers, audio creators, visual artists, and virtual reality designers presenting recent documentary work that interrogates the division between fact and fiction, truth and reality.

All events are hosted at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum on the Skidmore College campus. Everything is free and open to the public.


Thursday, June 9

8 p.m.: Opening screening and discussion: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (91 min) by Maxim Pozdorovkin & Mike Lerner

Friday June 10

1 p.m.: Welcoming remarks with Director Jordana Dym

1:30 p.m. : Sneak Peek Screening: Documentary Shorts (90 minutes)

  • Monsoon-Reflections/Untitled (23 minutes) by Stephanie Spray
  • El Palacio (30 min) by Nicolas Pereda
  • The Truth about Killer Robots (13-minute excerpt) by Maxim Pozdorovkin
  • La Bobera (3-minute trailer) by Jeff Silva & Luis Arnias

3 p.m.: Institute Fellows welcome

3:30 p.m.: Festosium presenters panel: a preview and opening framework for the program

4:45 p.m.: Screening and discussion: Manakamana (118 minutes) by Stephanie Spray

7p.m.: Reception and gallery opening with Evian Pan '17

8 p.m.: Listening event: The Truth that Fiction Can (and Cannot) Reveal

Ann Heppermann and Martin Johnson, founders of The Sarah Awards and hosts of the Serendipity podcast, will present audio works and lead a discussion about how in this Second Golden Age of Radio, fictional works have been used to articulate truths that have primarily been the purview of documentary.

Saturday, June 11

10 a.m.: Engagement with Borrowed Light exhibit: Doc photography talk led by Sarah Miller and Sarah Sweeney

11 a.m.: Panel discussion: Virtual Realities

Marc Beaudet, founder and director of and Loïc Suty, director of the design team on The Unknown Photographer, discuss the creation of research-based virtual realities. Their latest work, The Unknown Photographer, began with a WWI photo album that inspired a documentary film and 20-minute virtual reality experience.

2 p.m.: Audio presentation and discussion: The Evolution of Movies in Our Heads

Ann Heppermann will lead Kaitlin Prest in a discussion about the evolution of her award-winning audio piece Movies in Your Head. The piece is the story about a woman who falls fast in love and begins to imagine the future she will have with her new girlfriend. When things fall apart, she then questions whether every kiss, utterance, and conversation was real or imagined. The piece started off as a documentary—more than 20 people were interviewed and a rough documentary was cut. But for Prest, the rough documentary felt less true than the story she felt she could tell in fiction.

4 p.m.: Panel Discussion: Crossing Borders: Exploring the Chimeric Paradox of the Real in Documentary Film with Nicolas Pereda, Maxim Pozdorovkin, Jeff Silva, and Stephanie Spray

6 p.m.: Reception

7 p.m.: Screening and discussion: Summer of Goliath (78 minutes) by Nicolas Pereda

Sunday June 12

11 a.m.–1 p.m.: Roundtable: Teaching with Documentary

2 p.m.: Sneak Preview Screening: Lee & Opal

Description: Deep in Kentucky coal country, Lee and Opal Sexton continue to farm their land along Linefork Creek. Well into his 80s, Lee is a retired coal miner and revered banjo legend, a living link to the deep past of American music. Though hampered by hearing loss, Lee continues to perform at square dances and teach his distinctive style to a new generation eager to preserve a vanishing cultural tradition. Filmed over three years, Lee & Opal offers an immersive view of its subjects' daily rituals and their inherent resiliency, while documenting the raw yet delicate music of a singular musician, linked to the past yet immediately present.