Spring 2017 Documentary Lab Screening

The Spring 2017 Documentary Lab Screening premiered on Thursday, July 20th in the Bartos Theater at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Encouragement from Reel Works’ friends, families, alumnus, and supporters was felt tremendously throughout the night.

The evening celebrated the works of 12 extraordinary films from 12 brilliant filmmakers: Osarugue Faith Adu, Demetreis Bankhead, Bart, Michael Cummings, Crystal del Valle, James Gantt, Abu Ghumman, Nadim Nabahi, Daphne Parkhill, Charlie Rennert, Rebecca Suber, and Courtney Bowne.

Their films spoke deeply about diverse topics and issues including depression, the struggle to belong, the Flint water crises, adoption, and labels.

James Gannt, After School Program Coordinator, had the unique opportunity to participate as both a student for the Spring 2017 Documentary Lab and a Staff at Reel Works: “The process of filmmaking was no breeze. I had to channel a level of vulnerability that I wasn’t prepared for. In hindsight this was useful because I got a sense of what it is we ask of our teenage students. And although I have almost twice the amount of life experience as my classmates, it didn’t make it any easier for me to be able to fully show up mentally and emotionally.”

Bart, a Spring Lab student, shared how the experience helped him jumpstart his interests: “I want to work in the the film industry and take photos. I always wanted to get started but I didn’t know how. I would take photos and only record a little bit. But I wasn’t really getting no where. I found out about Reel Works at a job fair and was immediately interested. When I finished my film and was screened at the M0MA, it felt so great being one step closer to my goal. I couldn’t have done it without Reel Works. The time there was amazing, I made good friends and met very cool people. Real Works has made me more confident and more enthusiastic about filmmaking.”

Karen Helmerson, Program Director of Electronic Media, Film, & Visual from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA), a long time funder of Reel Works, came out to show her support. Karen shared her thoughts on the screening: “It was brilliant and elevated.  Unique voices, but still universal, individuals speaking as human beings. Personal perspective with artistry and imagination.  It was very uplifting…”

We would like to send a huge thanks to Lab Instructor Tanya Jackson for her dedication to our students and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for donating the screening space!



Photography by Sarah Stacke

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