Forum Fellows Wrap-Up

Photographer Latoya Ruby Frazier speaks to Madeliene Pron during her interview with the Fellows. Photo by Shelia Huggins

It was a long and exhausting weekend, but Documentary 2015: Origins and Inventions was a success. Documentary 2015 was a national forum, hosted by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, celebrating documentary today. Eight outstanding fellows joined us for the weekend for on-site training in video, photo, and production management. They were a combination of undergraduate, graduate, continuing studies students, and alumni from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The footage and stills captured by the fellows will be used by students, faculty, and staff at the Center for Documentary Studies in the new DocLab to further explore the themes and conversations that arose at the Forum.

Meet the Forum Fellows

Corley_Kent_2Creedon_KellyHuggins_SheilaLotker_Michellecaptions_line_1                                     Pron_MadelieneSpellman_AnnaWang_Wei

Interviews with the Panelists

In addition to attending the sessions and documenting the various panels and presentations, fellows conducted interviews with some of the outstanding presenters and panelists in town for the weekend. Fellows conducted interviews with acclaimed photographer Sylvia Plachy, MacArthur Grant winning photographer Latoya Ruby Frazier, filmmaker and fine arts photographer Hong-An Truong, Last Day of Freedom filmmakers Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, and interactive storyteller and host of the SheDoes podcast, Elaine McMillion Sheldon.

In each interview, fellows asked the documentarian about their own personal origins and inventions, that is, what draws them to this work.


Sylvia Plachy takes a photo of something that caught her eye during her interview with the Forum Fellows. Photo by Elena Rue

Documenting the Events

Video fellows were split into teams of three, allowing for multiple angles of each session to be captured. Meanwhile, photo fellows looked for creative ways to capture the presenters and the Forum as a whole through still photography. Here are a few selects from the photo fellows’ documentation of the presenters and panelists:

John Malpede addresses the crowd in his presentation on documentary performance. Photo by Wei Wang

Sylvia Plachy watches the presentations from her co-panelists during the photography panel. Photo by Wei Wang

Ruby Latoya Frazier speaks during the photography panel, “In Place: Hidden Histories of Our Lives.” Photo by Wei Wang
Randall Kenan during the writing panel, “True Stories: Facts and Fictions.” Photo by Wei Wang
Peter Van Agtmael presents his work during the “Photography, War, and the Human Condition” presentation. Photo by Kent Corley
Panelists Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Al Letson, and Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, with moderator John Biewen on the “Interactions and Impact: Possibilities for Listening” panel. Photo by Anna Spelman

John Biewen introduces the film panel for the “Sources, Evidence, and the Moving Image” presentation. Photo by Anna Spelman
A quiet planning moment between Forum organizer Lynn McKnight and CDS Director Wesley Hogan in between sessions on Sunday. Photo by Kent Corley

A Forum participant asks the panel a question during the “Teaching Documentary: Doing (And Sharing) The Work” session. Photo by Anna Spelman 
A Forum participant jots down notes from the “Teaching Documentary: Doing (And Sharing) The Work” session. Photo by Anna Spelman 
Photo by Kent Corley

An added bonus of having such a talented and motivated group of fellows, is that there was no shortage of documenting the documenters at work. Here’s a look behind the scenes:

Kelly Creedon and Wei Wang getting ready for the first session. Photo by Anna Spelman
Sylvia Plachy gets mic-ed up by Michelle Lotker. Photo by Shelia Huggins
Forum Fellow Co-Director Elena Rue checks audio levels as one fellow looks on and engages with the interviewee. Photo by Shelia Huggins
Forum Fellows Co-director Catherine Orr concentrates while organizing the media files from eight fellows. Oof. Photo by Kent Corley
Elena Rue remains calm, cool, and collected (as always!) Photo by Catherine Orr

Special thank you to the Center for Documentary Studies for making this collaboration such a pleasure. Happy 25 years CDS!