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Bay Area Documentary Filmmakers   

Michael Fox The Bay Area has an international reputation as a bastion of documentary filmmakers. Over the last 40 years, local filmmakers have gravitated to exposing contemporary social injustices at home and abroad and reviving ignored or forgotten history. There are only three places in the country—New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area—where a different lineup of independent documentary filmmakers could be assembled for a class year after year. Bay Area doc makers are a highly political breed, dedicated to exposing social injustices at home and abroad and reviving ignored or forgotten history. Each session of the class features a recent film followed by a discussion with the director. We’ll focus on the practical and ethical challenges of making documentaries, from conception through production and post production to distribution. Each session will have a different filmmaker. Filmmakers: Aug 27 - Erin Palmquist Film: From Baghdad to the Bay (2018, 68 min) The journey of an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the U.S. military who was accused of being a double agent, tortured by the U.S. and ostracized from his family and country. Ghazwan Alsharif struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay man. From Baghdad to the Bay won the jury award for Best Documentary Feature at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose. Primarily a director of photography, Erin Palmquist has worked for Lucasfilm, Actual Films/National Geographic Explorer and PBS. She was the producer, editor and DP for BDSM: It’s Not What You Think! which premiered at Frameline in 2008 before traveling the world. She is the DP for 5 Blocks, a feature-length work-in-progress chronicling the revitalization of the Central Market St. neighborhood, and producer and DP for the doc shorts series Oakland Originals. Aug 28 - Laurie Coyle Film: Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno (2018. 59 min) More than50 years ago, before Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, there was Maria Moreno. The discovery of forgotten photographs prompts a search for this tenacious unsung heroine who sacrificed everything—except her 12 kids—to organize migrant farm workers. Her story emerges via a time-traveling journey through California’s agricultural belt. The first female farm worker in America to be hired as a union organizer, Moreno’s story was silenced and her legacy buried—until now. Laurie Coyle is a veteran documentary producer, director and writer whose films include the American Masters primetime special Orozco: Man of Fire(2007), which she co-directed and co-produced with Rick Tejada and was nominated for best television documentary by the NCLR Alma Awards and the Imagen Awards. She producedJay Rosenblatt and Stacey Ross’s doc short Four Questions for a Rabbi and Lourdes Portillo’s narrative short Columbus on Trial. She has worked as Associate Producer and Chief Archival Researcher on numerous docs, including the PBS primetime specials The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle and The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, as well as the American Masters special Ralph Ellison: An American Journey. Before becoming a documentary filmmaker, Laurie was an oral historian and co-authored a study of Mexican American garment workers on the U.S.-Mexico border, Women at Farah: An Unfinished Story, included in the Prentiss-Hall series Women and Power in American History. Michael Fox is a San Francisco journalist and critic who has written about movies for more than 40 publications since 1987. He hosted KQED's "Independent View" and wrote the "Reel World" column in SF Weekly for a decade. Fox has sat on juries, moderated panels and contributed program notes for the San Francisco International, Mill Valley, United Nations Association and Cinequest film festivals. Fox is a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.