The MIT Open Documentary Lab is pleased to announce its new fellows for the academic year 2014-2015.  This distinguished group of documentary storytellers and experts will be in residence at MIT to experiment with new techniques and technologies and explore new ways to tell stories, and create social impact. The goal of the residency is to give a community of documentary storytellers and researchers the time and space in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment to further their own practice and shape the storytelling practices of the future.  Meet this year’s new fellows:


Raney_Aronson_Headshot_1212Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath is the Deputy Executive Producer of the iconic PBS public affairs series, FRONTLINE. Much of her work involves reimagining long-form documentary filmmaking and developing cross-platform journalism partnerships with premiere news outlets. Before managing FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath produced several notable FRONTLINE films including News WarThe Last Abortion Clinic, and The Jesus Factor. Prior to FRONTLINE, she worked at ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC.


Lara Baladi portrait 05-14Lara Baladi

Lara Baladi is an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary artist. She was born in Beirut, raised in Cairo and Paris, and educated in London. She has lived in Egypt since 1997. Baladi applies archives, investigations of myths, and personal narratives to a range of mediums including architectural and video installations. Baladi publishes and exhibits worldwide. Her works are part of a number of institutional and private collections. She has been a board member of the Arab Image Foundation since its creation in 1997. During the 2011 Egyptian uprising, Baladi co-founded two media initiatives, Radio Tahrir and Tahrir Cinema, which served as public platforms to build and share an archive on and for the revolution. Today, much of Baladi’s work revolves around and stems from this archive.


Halsey Burgund photoHalsey Burgund

After getting a degree in geophysics, designing and building furniture, and working in the high tech industry, Halsey Burgund is now a sound artist and musician. He works primarily with spoken voices in combination with traditional and electronic instruments in both audio installations and musical performances.  Recently, his work has focused on contributory location-based audio installations for which he developed Roundware, a distributed platform for collecting, organizing, and re-presenting media via smartphones and the web.


Dufresne photo - smallDavid Dufresne

David Dufresne is an award-winning independent writer and filmmaker. Fort McMoney, his latest interactive game documentary, produced by ONF/Arte, was a finalist at the SXSW festival 2014, won several international awards, and was acclaimed by the New York Times as the “marriage of the film and the video game.”  In 2010, he authored and co-directed Prison Valley with Philippe Brault (Upian/Arte), which won the World Press Photo 2011 (Best interactive non-linear work) and Visa pour l’image 2010 (Best web documentary, France). David Dufresne has also published a dozen investigation books. He lives in Montreal.


Tina Gharavi photoTina Gharavi

Tina Gharavi is a BAFTA-nominated filmmaker, initially trained as a painter. She is noted for innovative cross-platform work and has garnered the attention of the film industry through her acclaimed feature, I Am Nasrine. Sir Ben Kingsley called it “a life enhancing film… An important and much needed film.” Fearless in her approach to storytelling, her work has been selected for Sundance, broadcast globally and her installations exhibited at museums around the world. Her focus has consistently been risk-taking, imaginative (often about the nature of storytelling), and global in its perspective. She is currently in development with Film4 UK on her second feature film, provisionally entitled, The Good Iranian.


Kathy Im photoKathy Im

Kathy Im is Director of the Media, Culture and Special Initiatives program at the MacArthur Foundation where she is responsible for the Foundation’s support of nonprofit investigative and explanatory reporting, social issue documentary film production, and innovation in public interest media.  Under Im’s leadership, MacArthur has been a key partner in supporting the development of digital technologies and platforms at some of the most prominent nonprofit journalism and documentary institutions in the nation.  She has guided the Foundation’s growing investments in nonfiction transmedia projects which are creating new possibilities for social issue content to reach and engage audiences.


Thorsten Trimpop photo

Thorsten Trimpop

Thorsten Trimpop is a filmmaker from Germany currently based in Cambridge, MA. He is completing work on his new documentary film, The New Normal, a human-scale portrait of a small town in Japan’s nuclear exclusion zone. His first feature film, The Irrational Remains, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006 and won numerous awards. His work interweaves elements from fictional and documentary film traditions. He currently teaches filmmaking and film studies at Massachusetts College of Art and Boston University.  At MIT he will be working on a digital storytelling project that touches on issues of empire, ecology, and the human obsession with beauty.


Our full class, including returning fellows, can be viewed here.