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MFA in Film

Magdalene Brandeis Invited to White House for Film Festival Screening and Awards Program

MFA in Film Associate Director was a juror for March on Washington Film Festival

brandeis at film festival
Magdalene Brandeis (third from right) is joined att the March on Washington Film Festival awards ceremony by (left to right): Opal Hope Bennett, Jeff Lieberman, Grand Prize winner Amy Wright, Robert Raben (of festival sponsor The Raben Group) and Tony West.

Southampton, NY, July 14, 2016—Magdalene Brandeis, associate director of the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film program offered in association with Killer Films, has been invited to The White House in Washington, D.C. for a special March on Washington Film Festival awards ceremony and screening on Wednesday, July 20. Brandeis served as a juror in the Festival's inaugural Student & Emerging Filmmaker Competition this year.

Founded in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the Festival includes 10 days of film screenings, discussions with filmmakers and producers, and panels on the groundbreaking activism of the 1960s, as well as a focus on the movement's current work towards progress and equality.

For this first year of the Student & Emerging Filmmaker Competition, 75 filmmakers submitted projects responding to the question: "What's your civil right?"

The films showcased diverse and powerful young voices addressing a range of issues, including criminal justice reform, immigration, racial justice, sexuality and gender identity, activism, and religion.

Jurors selected 12 finalists from both student and emerging filmmakers in the categories of narrative and documentary films for a public screening event scheduled on Saturday, July 16, as part of this year's Festival, now permanently based in Washington, D.C.

From these finalists, jurors will name winners and runners-up of the competition and those films will receive a special screening as part of the awards ceremony Brandeis will attend at the White House on July 20.

magdalene brandeis
Magdalene Brandeis (right) with MFA in Film director and Killer Films founder Christine Vachon.

"I was grateful when circumstances brought Magdalene to our jury," said Opal Bennett, the Programming Consultant for the Festival who designed and managed the Student & Emerging Film Competition.

"I'd attended an Open House at Stony Brook Manhattan, with guest speaker Effie Brown, at the height of the conversations on race generated by 'Project Greenlight,'" she continued, "and I know that the Stony Brook/ Killer Films MFA shares March on Washington Film Festival's mandate, so it was a great pleasure when Magdalene was available to participate as a juror."

Brandeis, who served as one of three jurors in the Student division of the competition, was a natural fit for the position based on her professional and personal experience.

"Early in my career I produced an episode on African-American filmmakers for AMC, spanning from Oscar Micheaux, who was born in 1884 and produced 44 films, to Spike Lee, and on to the present era," Brandeis noted this week. "The historic birth and growth of film within the confines of the economic, cultural and mobility restrictions placed on African-Americans—and the relationship of all this to civil rights, freedom of speech and civil liberties—has always fascinated me."

white house invitation
RSVP confirmation from The White House.

She added that while she is in D.C. she is hoping to recruit new MFA in Film students from the connections she has made to "the fine filmmakers who served on the jury with me as well as those who submitted films for competition."

In addition to her responsibilities as associate director of the MFA in Film program offered in association with Killer Films, Magdalene Brandeis is a producer and a novelist. After cutting her teeth in feature film development at various motion picture studios, she went on to translate and adapt French films, and produced television series and pilots for ABC, AMC, Bravo, and MTV. She also served as the executive director of the non-profit The Bridge Program. She holds a BA from Antioch University Los Angeles, and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton.

Winners and film summaries are available here.

For more information about the March on Washington Film Festival, visit its website at marchonwashingtonfilmfestival.org. For more information about the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film program, visit the program's website at stonybrook.edu/film.