2015 Kopkind/CID Film Seminars “Campers” head to Vermont!

Kopkind_CID Film Camp












Hard to believe, but this is our 10th summer holding our Kopkind/CID Film Seminars in Vermont!  We have another great week planned and it includes a group of filmmakers producing an exciting mix of work.

We’ll be kicking off our week with a screening of Nancy Kates brilliant documentary REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG.  Nancy attended our very first camp when the film was still a dream.  We are thrilled to be able to present the finished, highly awarded documentary with Nancy present.

We also want to give a tremendous shout of thanks to our SPONSOR of the Kopkind/CID Film Seminars–Casey Callister and Garden Thieves Pictures.  Casey attended camp a few years ago and has been tremendously generous in his support for “camp”.  Thank you Casey!

As this is our 10th anniversary, I also want to give a personal thanks to everyone at Kopkind and Tree Frog Farm for all of the grace and beauty and generosity of spirit that each of you bring to making this camp so meaningful for everyone who attends…..every time I arrive there I feel like I am “home”. Thank you for all you do for so many filmmakers!

And as I write this, our filmmakers are beginning their travels toward Vermont from all over the country…..here is Kopkind Film Camp 2015:

Meet the Filmmakers:

Katherine “Kat” Cheairs is a filmmaker, multimedia artist and educator. Kat made her first documentary in Ghana in the summer of 1997 as a student at Tufts University. Her current projects include a multimedia video documentary installation about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on black and Latino families and a multimedia project about the history of black magicians. Ms. Cheairs believes her work is part of oral storytelling traditions that place value on the passing down of knowledge, myth and memory through participatory interactive engagement. Kat is from Atlanta, GA and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Ben Pender-Cudlip is a director and cinematographer of documentary films in Boston, Massachusetts. His work has appeared on public television and at film festivals internationally. He is currently directing DAWNLAND, a feature documentary about Native American children in Maine who grew up in non-Native foster and adoptive homes.


Helen De Michiel is a writer/director, producer, and author whose work includes film, television, media installation and new media. Her films in circulation include “Turn Here Sweet Corn,” “Tarantella,” “The Gender Chip Project” and “Lunch Love Community.” At Twin Cities Public Television she produced innovative arts series, “Alive From Off Center,” and “The Independents.” She has designed several participatory community and youth media projects for museums and organizations. She writes about issues in public media and the arts, including “Open Space Documentary,” a recent essay in the BFI anthology of new writings, The Documentary Film Book. From 1996 – 2010 Helen served as the National, and then Co-Director for NAMAC. From 2002-2007 she served on the Board of Directors for The George F. Peabody Awards for Electronic Media. From 2011-13, she designed and taught a blended online course in participatory media at the University of Oregon. In 2016, she joins University of Colorado’s Department of Critical Media Practices. Her most recently completed project, “Lunch Love Community” (2015) is a transmedia documentary in twelve episodes exploring how Berkeley advocates and educators tackle food reform and food justice in the schools and in the neighborhoods. She is currently writing a book exploring core creative values that the media arts offer for participatory digital culture.


Cyn Lubow is an award-winning poet, psychotherapist and queer parent of two college-aged sons. While she made her first film in 8th grade, the current iteration of her filmmaking career began four years ago. Her first film (as writer, director and editor) was a narrative short, called The Fifth Stage of Labor, which screened at five festivals.  The film explores the complex emotions of a single lesbian mom losing her only son as he leaves home for college. Cyn is currently working on a feature documentary that looks at the non-binary nature of gender through the eyes of masculine-identified pregnant people. A short version of the doc was selected by CineSLAM and by Translations to screen at their festivals. This winter she plans to retire from psychotherapy and devote her time to filmmaking.


Torrie Rosenzweig began working in the entertainment industry as a union camera assistant and also was the cinematographer on the short documentary, David Mamet and The Atlantic Theater Company. Rosenzweig moved out of production and into development and producing and worked as an Associate Producer on two Cagney and Lacey reunion specials for CBS and then researched and associate produced on several PBS documentaries and biopics for TNT, ESPN, and The Disney Channel with EMK productions. In 1995 Rosenzweig went to 20th Century Fox / Van Ness Films to produce and direct several episodes of Biography for A&E. Some of her credits on Biography include, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Ida Lupino, Andy Griffith, Shirley Temple and Bill Bojangles Robinson.  She directed, produced and co-wrote her first documentary feature film, Smoke and Mirrors which won several awards on the festival circuit in 2000, including being named a shortlist finalist for Best Documentary for the 2000 Academy Awards. In 2002 she segment produced Fifty Years of Late Night on NBC for Executive Producers Lorne Michael and Andrew Solt. In 2003 she made her first narrative short film, Wishing Time with Seymour Cassel and Natasha Gregson Wagner. After finishing a TV doc special, “Just the Facts” for Fox, she began working on her next documentary, Tick Tock.   In addition to her film and television work, Rosenzweig is the Director of Talent Development and an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles.


Tal Skloot’s feature length documentary film ‘Freeway Philharmonic’ (2010: 56 minutes) was broadcast nationally on PBS and toured the globe as part of the U.S. State Department/IDA sponsored American Documentary Showcase, showing worldwide in film festivals in Ecuador, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Turkey, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Tal recently produced and directed a web series on SF Bay Area artists and musicians funded by The National Endowment for the Arts. Tal is also a skilled editor with a credit list of twenty feature length documentaries and narrative films that have won multiple Emmy awards, been broadcast nationally on PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS and appeared in numerous national and international film festivals. Tal is a graduate of the American Film Institute and is an adjunct faculty member of the Diablo Valley College film and broadcast arts department.

Martha Swetzoff
has a background in media production that includes experimental works, interface design for non-linear editing, interactive design, projection design for theater, including the original production of The Laramie Project, and her own short and long form films. One of these hour long films, Theme: Murder, about the unsolved murder of her father under the cloud of suspicion of being a “gay” murder, won awards domestically and abroad. Martha has taught at Harvard, UCLA and currently, the Rhode Island School of Design. Her current film in production is a focused look into the culture and community of Steampunk and its devotees.  Learn more about Martha’s film Theme: Murderhttp://www.newday.com/films/ThemeMurder.html


Keil Troisi: After teenage years spent making movies in rural Pennsylvania with friends and family, Keil studied film at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He worked for several development departments, then provided screenplay proofreading, coverage, and ghostwriting through his company Scriptproof. In 2011 he made several short documentaries in the service of union struggles, PSAs for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, and several short films involving creative activism related to Occupy Wall Street. Since 2012 he has worked with the Yes Men as the media director of their nonprofit, and for the past three years he has been Associate Producer and a primary camera operator of their new film, The Yes Men Are Revolting – which is releasing this week; if it’s at a theater near you, come to a screening!  He recently completed Human Resources, a feature supernatural-thriller with social-justice themes: when a headstrong young woman lands a new job as an executive assistant, she discovers that the skyscraper she works in is haunted by victims of the corporation’s cutthroat pursuit of profit. Unable to ignore injustices embodied by the disembodied, she sets out to reveal the truth and stop her bosses before their seemingly benign business operations kill again.


Monica Wise: Born and raised on a farm in Ventura County California, Monica Wise is a film producer, shooter and editor for clients including HBO, Redbull, Skylight Pictures, Intercultural Productions, The Center, and Posture Magazine. She has worked as an associate producer for award-winning documentary filmmakers Pamela Yates (Director of “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator”), and Xenia Grubstein (“Pussy Riot: A Punk Rock Prayer” Producer). In 2013, Monica traveled throughout the U.S. with the Intercultural Productions founder Alex Gomez to shoot an educational documentary for The Human Rights Campaign on religion and LGBT rights. For over two years, she worked as the content curator and outreach strategist for the Toolbox.org, a digital platform created by Peter Gabriel to empower social movements to use digital tools. Monica co-founded Mood Ring Productions with Danielle Schwab in 2013, which produces videos about inspiring artists and progressive entrepreneurs. Monica’s passion for social justice and media was sparked by spending summers with her mother’s family in Colombia, and working alongside farm workers in California. She went on to organize food service workers, study Latin American Studies and Film at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and media and social movements at the School of Authentic Journalism in Mexico City. She is committed to using film to connect personal and social struggles and inspire creative and more passionate ways of living.


Jim Wolpaw: An Academy Award nominee for his documentary “Keats and His Nightingale: A Blind Date” (1985), Jim Wolpaw, is a veteran filmmaker known for innovative approaches in considering artists and issues in the arts. In addition to “Keats”, his films include “Cobra Snake for a Necktie” (Showtime, 1980), a portrait of rock and roll legend Bo Diddley; “Loaded Gun: Life, and Death, and Dickinson-“ (PBS, 2003, INPUT, 2004), a quirky look at the poet Emily Dickinson that was chosen by The Library Journal for its list of “Best Poetry Films”; and “First Face: The Buck Starts Here”  (2011), a ‘biography’ of the dollar bill portrait of George Washington. He also wrote and directed the feature comedy “Complex World” (1992, Hemdale). He has taught film production and scriptwriting at Emerson College, the University of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

garden thieves logo A special thanks to our Sponsor!  Learn all about their work HERE!




About Kopkind Filmmakers Retreat

Annie Berman of WIFV/NE reflects on her 2010 experience: documentaries.org
Radical Relaxation from NAMAC by JoAnn Wypijewski: namac.org


Prior participants of the seminars:

2014 Kopkind/CID Seminar filmmakers: Alex Halkin, Bill Lichtenstein, Roberto Mighty, Derek Burrows, Lydia Harris, Scott Ryan, Lisa D’Apolito, Indrani Kopal, Tracy Heather Strain,  Melissa Langer, Michaela O’Brien

2013 Casey Callister, Laurel Chiten, Lisa Leeman, Andrea Meyerson, Meaghan Murphy, Maureen McNamara, David Pavlovsky, Vandana Sood-Gittings, Robin Truesdale, Irene Zabytko

2012 Jenny Alexander, Helen DiMichel, Alexandra DeGonzalez, Maryanne Galvin, Bob Nesson, Michael Rossi, Emmy Scharlatt, David Tames, Bruce Weaver, Lise Zumwalt  Read 2012 participants bios HERE

2011 Jesse Freeston, David A. Goldenberg, Jonathan Goldman, Lily Keber, Jan Krawitz, Pearl J Park, Marilyn Pennell, Karen Schoucair, Martha Swetzoff. http://documentaries.org/newsevents/kopkind-2011-filmmakers/

2010 Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider (San Francisco), James Demo (Boston), Susan Rivo (Boston), Annie Berman (New York), Ben Actenberg (Boston), Jesse Achtenberg (Washington DC), Gabriela Bohm (Los Angeles), Andrea Torrice (Cincinnati), Woody Bovota (Cape Cod)

2009 Dean Hamer (Washington, DC), Ann Bennett (NY, New York), Brett Story (Montreal, Canada), Sharon Arkin (Tucson, AZ), Sanford Lewis (Amherst, MA), Matt Gossage (Austin, TX), Kavita Pillay (Cambridge, MA), Betsy Kalin (Los Angeles, CA), Joan Mandell (Detroit, MI)

2008 Erin Sisk, Heather Kapplow, Betsy Kalin, Lynn Cadwallader, Terry Holzgreen, Daniella Broitman, Grace Shulner, Sarah Hesterman, Benedicte Naudin

2007 Nancy Kelly, Savanna Washington, Jonathan Skurnick, Karen Everett, Jim Wolpaw, Nancy Kates, Bennett Singer, Natalie Lardner, Carlyn Saltman and Tim McCarthy.

2006 Joel Katz , Nancy Kates, Robbie Leppzer, Alexandra de Gonzalez, Emily Kunstler, Deb Ellis, Eli Moore, Jenifer Kaplan, Rebecca Snedeker and Savanna Washington.