Eric Patrick’s Retrocognition, an animated collage of photographs and audio fragments from WWII-era radio dramas, has accumulated considerable recognition and praise in the film world, including Best Experimental Film at the Humboldt Film Festival, the Da Vinci Film Festival, the IFS Independent Filmmakers Showcase, and the Tolfa Short Film Festival in Italy; the Pablo Koontz Best Experimental Technique Award at Humboldt Film Festival; the Aloha Accolade Award at the Honolulu Film Awards; the New View Award for Best Experimental Film at the River Bend Film Festival; the Royal Reel Award in Animation at the Canada International Film Festival; Best Animated Film at the Victoria Independent Film Festival and the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival; Best of Festival for Animated Short at the Richmond Film Festival; 1st Place in Animation at the Twin Rivers Media Festival; and the Jury Special Recognition Award at the Cinema at the Edge.

Exhibit by faculty member Ozge Samanci

An exhibit by faculty member Ozge Samanci, Word 6- An Architecture of Multi-Modal Poetry/Text, was presented at Columbia College Chicago this winter. In the exhibit, “writers of all genres explore the strangeness of dwelling in a foreign space by examining poetry and text as part of a greater structure.” Samanci’s interactive installation Sneaky Time was invited to Athens, Greece, for the New Media Festival and was exhibited at the Media Arts Biennial in Wrocla, Poland, in May. Samanci was also invited to contribute to Infinite Corpse, a collaborative comics project involving leading comics artists.

Fast Talk

Fast Talk, the documentary on college debate by Debra Tolchinsky, was named Best Documentary at the LA Femme International Film Festival (2011) and the Iowa Film Festival (2012) and Best Feature Documentary at Chagrin Documentary Film Festival (2013), in addition to garnering a Golden Reel Award from the Nevada Film Festival, an Award of Excellence and an Award of Merit (for editing) from the Indie Fest, an Accolade Award, and awards from the Los Angeles Cinema Festival.

MFA in Documentary Media


Leveraging Northwestern's strength in interdisciplinary collaboration, our two-year MFA in Documentary Media is founded on the following four principles, many of which also guide Northwestern’s highly successful Writing for the Screen and Stage MFA Program.


What "actual" stories do I want to tell? How can I realize my vision?


What skills and techniques are necessary to take my idea from inception through production and final distribution?

Playwright/television writer Zina Camblin joining the faculty

Zina Camblin, completed the playwrighting program at The Juilliard School under Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang, as a part of the Juilliard Playwrighting Fellowship. While at Juilliard, she received the Lecomte du Nouy Prize for playwrighting. Her play, “ And Her Hair Went With Her,” was selected as part of Lincoln Centers Directors Lab play reading series. The play was optioned for a New York production when it caught the attention of actress Whoopi Goldberg. In addition, “ And Her Hair Went With Her,” had successful readings at The Culture Project, and the Tribeca Theater Festival, and has been produced by regional theaters around the country including, The Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, New Jersey Repertory Theater, Horizon Theater in Atlanta, The Fountain Theater in Los Angeles, and the Unicorn Theater in Kansas City. Past productions and workshops of her other work include: Memoirs to Live/ Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Bedroom Stories/ Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts, in San Francisco, Life’s a Drag/ UC San Diego, and Bunni and Clyde/The Know Theater. She has also completed several commissioned projects for various universities and theaters. As a consultant for NYU’s Creative Arts Team, she helped to create several interactive theatre scripts for young audiences and as an assistant writer, editor, and researcher for the Tectonic Theater Project, she helped devise two of their productions; “The Jonestown Project,” and “I Think I like Girls.” Her television credits include development projects with both NBC, Warner Bros, and Sheen/Estevez Productions, and being on the writing staff of the cable show, “Let’s Stay Together,” produced by Queen Latifah.

Jen Spyra joining the writing staff of Late late night with Stephen Colbert

Very proud that our alumna, Jen Spyra (MFA '12), has been tapped to be a staff writer for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Q&A with Playwright and Actor Wallace Shawn

On October 25th 2014, the MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage hosted a Q&A with playwright & actor Wallace Shawn. The event was co-sponsored by the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Pictured from left: Thomas Bradshaw, Wallace Shawn, David Tolchinsky, Zayd Dohrn, Bill Bleich and Brett Neveu.

Guest artist Wallace Shawn with some of our MFAs.


Core Faculty member Rebecca Gilman received the Joseph Jefferson (Jeff) Award for best new work for her play Luna Gale.