Faculty and Staff
Core faculty teach courses and act as advisors to the MFA Documentary Film students, following their development throughout the two years.
Jamie Meltzer’s documentary films have been broadcast nationally on PBS and screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. Huntsville Station, a short documentary film that recently premiered at 2020 Berlinale, observes the scene outside a small bus station, where parolees wait on their ride home from prison. The film was recently featured as a New York Times Op-Docs. True Conviction (Independent Lens), a co-production of ITVS and the recipient of a Sundance Institute grant and a MacArthur grant, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it received a Special Jury Mention in the Best Documentary Feature category.
2012 MacArthur “Genius” fellow and two-time recipient of the Sundance Documentary Directing Award for El General in 2009 and Users in 2021, Natalia Almada's directing credits include Todo lo demás (New York Film Festival 2016), El Velador (Cannes 2011), Al Otro Lado (Tribeca 2005) and All Water has a Perfect Memory (Sundance 2002). She lives in Mexico City and San Francisco.
Keča's documentaries have screened at leading film festivals, including the Berlinale, IDFA, and HotDocs, while his video installations have been exhibited at venues like the Venice Biennale of Architecture and the Whitechapel Gallery. His latest feature documentary Museum of the Revolution premiered at IDFA 2021 and is currently touring festivals and theaters. Keča produced and edited the archival feature Flotel Europa (Berlinale 2015 - Tagesspiegel Award) and directed highly acclaimed medium-length films A Letter to Dad (IDFA 2011) and Mirage (Jihlava IDFF 2012 - Best Central and Eastern European Documentary). He is a graduate of Ateliers Varan and the NFTS, and a Sundance Institute grantee.
Based in California, Mexican director Rodrigo Reyes makes films inspired by the complex intersection of migration, history, violence and resilience. He has received the support of The Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), Sundance and Tribeca Institutes, ITVS, California Humanities, Latino Public Broadcasting and more. Rodrigo's work has been featured on PBS and Netflix, and he is a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital Award, the SF Indie Fest Non-Fiction Vanguard Award, and the Rainin Fellowship, and in 2021, he was awarded the William Greaves Fund by Firelight Media, and named one of the "40 Under 40" by DOC NYC. In 2020, his film 499 won Best Cinematography at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as the Special Jury Award at Hot Docs. Rodrigo is on the Board for the Video Consortium, and is the Co-Director of the Mediamaker Fellowship with BAVC Media. His latest film, Sansón and Me, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022.
Elivia's work has been featured on the Atlantic and PBS, screened at festivals including AFI DOCS, DOC NYC and Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and has been shortlisted for the student BAFTA awards. After graduating from New York University, she worked on Emmy and Academy Award winning television series and feature documentaries for Al Jazeera, National Geographic, HBO and PBS. Most recently, Elivia was a Co-Producer on Natalia Almada’s latest feature film Users, which won the Directing Award for Documentary at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is a graduate of Stanford University’s Documentary Film MFA program, and a recipient of the 2022 ITVS Documentary Development Fellowship through the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Tijana's moving image work includes nonfiction films, and film and video installations which utilize landscape as a framework through which to observe and question our relationship to history, place and the natural world. Tijana’s work has screened at film festivals and exhibition venues internationally including True/False, Images, Ann Arbor, Anthology Film Archives and Dok Leipzig among others. She has received support from institutions including SFFILM, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the University Film and Video Association. Tijana is a graduate of the Documentary Film & Video MFA program at Stanford University and the Documentary Certificate Program at The New School in New York. She is based in Oakland, California where she works as a freelance cinematographer and a lecturer at Stanford University and San Francisco State University.
Luke Lorentzen is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and a graduate of Stanford University's department of Art and Art History. His most recent film, Midnight Family, tells the story of a family-run ambulance business in Mexico City. The film has won over 35 awards from film festivals and organizations around the world including a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Editing from the International Documentary Association, and the Golden Frog for Best Documentary from Camerimage. Midnight Family was shortlisted for the 2020 Best Documentary Oscar and was a New York Times ‘Critics’ Pick’. Luke’s other work as a director and cinematographer includes the Netflix original series, Last Chance U, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary. With Kellen Quinn, Luke is a co-founder of Hedgehog Films.
Film & Media Studies Staff
Film & Media Studies Technical Manager
Joel Rakowski is a visual artist and experimental filmmaker based in the SF Bay area. He holds an MA in Media Arts and Studies from Wayne State University and has been working with film programs across the United States since 2011. His art has premiered at Ann Arbor Film Fest, on NPR, the Fader, PBS and any public access channel he can find. Joel is always striving to help student artists become more efficient and focused so they can enjoy the process and find more time to refine and create.
Film & Media Studies Technologist
Christopher Nguyen is a Bay Area Cinematographer/Filmmaker who has also worked in Chicago, LA, and San Diego. He went to UC San Diego for pre-med for the first 3 years then later changed majors to Visual Arts - Media (Video and Digital Cinema Emphasis). It was a very experimental art program where he learned from professors/filmmakers (Babette Mangolte and Jean-Pierre Gorrin) who worked with Jean-Luc Godard during the French New Wave movement. Then he moved to Chicago for a Directing program MFA, but realized he wanted to solely be a Cinematographer. While in Chicago, he had the opportunity to learn from Cinematographers who shot for Shameless, Chicago Fire, PD. Then he went to LA to work at the AFI Conservatory in the Grip and Lighting House and crewed on many of the MFA student's film sets. Finally, he came back to the Bay Area and taught filmmaking and ran the TV/Radio/Sports Broadcast Station at a local private high school. Most recently, he was a Video Producer for several private high schools/grade schools in the Bay Area creating admissions and marketing content for them. As the Film & Media Studies Technologist, he is excited to be back in an academic setting and being surrounded by and assisting student filmmakers and artists again.
Kristine Samuelson is the Edward Clark Crossett Emerita Professor of Humanistic Studies and has taught in the Documentary Film and Video Program for over thirty years. She is also a documentary essayist; her films (made in collaboration with John Haptas) include TOKYO WAKA, BARN DANCE, THE DAYS AND THE HOURS, RIDING THE TIGER, THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, EMPIRE OF THE MOON, and WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME. These works have been screened at festivals throughout the world, from Sundance and San Francisco to London, Mannheim, Sao Paolo, India, Australia, and South Korea. They have appeared on PBS and cable television and at museums including New York MOMA. TOKYO WAKA had a recent theatrical run at the Film Forum in New York. Professor Samuelson was nominated for two Academy Awards in the Documentary Short category: for ARTHUR AND LILLIE, and for her latest film, LIFE OVERTAKES ME. Samuelson is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her work has been supported by artist fellowships from the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Victoria College of Art in Melbourne, the US-Japan Friendship Commission, and the California Arts Council.
Jan Krawitz taught in the MFA Program in Documentary Film at Stanford for 34 years. Her films have screened at festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including Sundance, the New York Film Festival, Visions du Réel, Edinburgh, AFI Docs, London, Sydney International Film Festival, Full Frame, and SXSW (South by Southwest). Her documentaries explore eclectic topics. Perfect Strangers follows an altruistic kidney donor on an unpredictable, four-year journey of twists and turns. It was shown at a number of film festivals and in two successive years on the PBS series America Reframed. Jan's previous film, Big Enough, poignantly reveals the emotional and physical challenges faced by several dwarfs as they attempt to live in an average-sized world. The participants in Big Enough first appeared in Little People, which Jan co-directed 20 years earlier. Big Enough was broadcast on the national PBS series P.O.V., internationally in eighteen countries, and in the European Parliament. Little People was a national Emmy Award nominee in the category of Outstanding Individual Documentary and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Jan's short documentaries, Mirror Mirror, In Harm’s Way, and Drive-in Blues have been in educational distribution for many years and received large audiences on national PBS. Her experimental film, Styx is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. She has had retrospectives of her films at the Portland Art Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Rice Media Center, the Austin Film Society, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Jan was awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, Docs in Progress, and at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy, was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and is currently a voting member of the Documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the Karl Franzens University of Graz in Austria in 2022.