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First Sight: 2020 Award-Winning Shorts from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism

Saturday, Jul 24, 2021 at 4:30 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Introduced by filmmaker Robert Greene

Jury award–winning student films from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism, originally presented at the Stronger Than Fiction Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. Jurors: Lana Wilson, Bennett Elliott, Eric Hynes. All New York premieres


Dir. Daniel Christian. 2020, 28 mins. In this evocative mosaic portrait of people who work in or adjacent to the tourist industry in Natchez, Mississippi, the viewer is guided through antebellum homes by women in hoop skirts, into abandoned swamp churches, high school football games, impromptu blues concerts, and hot summer nights, witnessing the varying degrees to which both black and white characters interact with the region’s past. Winner of the Stronger Than Fiction 2020 Jury Prize for Best Film.

Thoughts and Prayers

Dir. Sarah Sabatke. 2020, 15 mins. Filmed during the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, Thoughts and Prayers follows journalists and survivors as they reflect on the trauma they witnessed two decades earlier, until, three days before the anniversary, a new threat puts the community on high alert. Special Jury Prize for Best Director. 

Diary of a Teenage Zealot

Dir. Megan Liz Smith. 2020, 14 mins. 

A diaristic self-portrait of a young woman’s ongoing crisis of faith, this film combines material gathered both during and after her involvement in the Assemblies of God Church, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, and witnesses her struggle to reconcile her spiritual crisis with the love she has for her family and friends. Special Jury Prize for Best Editing.  

Tecopa Lost

Dir. Danny Mac Stayton. 2020, 43 mins. A small town in the middle of the Mojave Desert just outside of Death Valley, Tecopa is a place people usually drive right through on their way to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. But for those who’ve chosen to make it home, Tecopa is an oddball paradise, an oasis of hot springs, cloudless skies, and wizened charmers. Special Jury Prize for Best Nonfiction Collaboration

Tickets: $15 / $11 seniors & students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / $7 MoMI members. Order online.

After your purchase (limit 4 tickets per order), an electronic ticket will be sent via email to facilitate contactless check-in; seating will be assigned upon arrival on a first-come, first-seated basis. Learn more here.