New York Film Academy
1-800-611-FILM  |  1-212-674-4300
New York Film Academy About Us


Documentary Filmmaking

Please Note: NYFA Documentary Programs are housed within the Filmmaking Department

Andrea Swift Andrea Swift
Chair of Filmmaking

With over 20 years of filmmaking experience, Swift served as executive producer and director of PBS’ Emmy-nominated documentary magazine series, “In the Life.” Her films have screened at the United Nations Earth Summit and honored by festivals around the world, including Berlin International Film Festival and Sundance’s Environmental Film Festival. She has created content for AMC, History, WE, the NY Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and Clearview Cinemas; and has written for and directed top talent including Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Oscar nominees Laura Linney, Patricia Clarkson and Lesley Gore, and Tony Award winners Alan Cumming, Harvey Fierstein, Denis O’Hare and Cherry Jones. Currently, Swift focuses on writing, story producing, and creative producing on a variety of documentary projects including “The Crossing Borders Project,” a featured program of National Geographic’s education wing. MFA, Columbia University.

Bob Eisenhardt Bob Eisenhardt
Advanced Thesis Editing

Bob Eisenhardt is an Academy Award nominee, three-time Emmy Award winner and recipient of the coveted “Eddie,” or American Cinema Editors Award. He has edited over 60 films, which have garnered another two Academy Award nominations, three more Emmys, a Peabody Award, three Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award nominations, and even a Grammy nomination. “Meru” won the Audience Award at Sundance (2015) and was shortlisted for the 2016 Oscar. HBO’s “Everything is Copy” premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and earned another two Emmy nominations. “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. “Jerusalem,” “Meru,” “Valentino: The Last Emperor” and “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing” are among the highest earning documentaries of all time. Other editing credits include “Wagner’s Dream” and “Living Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” which was also shortlisted for the Oscar. Bob shares a director’s credit, an Emmy Award, IDA Award and a DGA Award with legendary documentarian Albert Maysles.

Claudia Raschke Claudia Raschke

Cinematographer Claudia Raschke’s work has been nominated for Academy Awards four times, won a Peabody, a DuPont, and a National Board of Review Award. Among her many notable award-winning films are: “Particle Fever” (Bond/Netflix), Oscar-nominated “God is the bigger Elvis” (HBO), Peabody Award-winning “Black Magic” (ESPN), Oscar shortlisted “Mad Hot Ballroom” (Paramount), “The Freedom To Marry” (Argot Pictures), “Miss You Can Do It” (HBO), Oscar-nominated “My Architect” (add’l DP), Oscar-nominated “Small Wonder” (add’l DP), Oscar-nominated “Sister Rose’s Passion” (add’l DP), and indie features like “Kiss Me Guido,” “The Last Good Time” and “Frame of Mind”. Recent feature documentary work includes “Atomic Homefront” (HBO), “Notorious RBG” (CNN), and “The Shannon Projects” for 2018 release. Two of her films, “Mad Hot Ballroom” and “My Architect” are among the highest earning docs of all time.

Marcia Mulé Marcia Mulé
Unscripted TV Unit

Two-time Emmy Award winner Marcia Mulé is president of Marcia Mulé Productions, Inc., where she is currently developing new series concepts for cable, web and OTT. She also works as a development consultant for companies including My Entertainment, Nkonoki Entertainment Group and digital company Hooplaha, Only Good News. Best known for co-creating “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” Mulé co-founded Picture This Television, where she created the hit series “Celebrity Poker Showdown” for Bravo and worked with a multitude of networks including Lifetime, Oxygen, MTV, HGTV, Food Network, WeTV, Logo, PBS, and Buena Vista. She was also head of programming at True Entertainment, an Endemol company, where she oversaw Bravo’s ratings blockbuster “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” for two seasons, launched Logo’s hit docu-series, “The A-List: New York” and oversaw “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?” for the Style Network. She also served as head of programming for Engel Entertainment, where she helped get Animal Planet’s “North Woods Law,” off the ground and developed “Untying The Knot” for Bravo.

Maxine Trump Maxine Trump
Documentary Craft, Writing, Producing

Maxine Trump has directed both short and long-form documentaries for TV networks including TNT, Sundance Channel, BBC and Discovery. She worked for the BBC in London for seven years as a development executive for scripted comedy before emigrating to the U.S., working as a TV commercial director and producer for eight years. She won BDA awards for her work on numerous commercial and branded entertainment projects for clients such as AMC, National Geographic, PBS, BBC America, Animal Planet, Comedy Central, American Cancer Society, L'Oreal and Oreos. Trump is on the selection committee for DOC NYC and Nantucket Film Festival; a Manhattan chapter leader of the non-profit film group Filmshop; and the author of the documentary guide "A Documentary Roadmap" (Focal Press 2017). Her film "Musicwood" was a New York Times Critics' Pick, and "To Kid Or Not To Kid" is due for release in 2018. She lives in Brooklyn and continues to direct her own feature documentaries as well as producing and editing for feature documentary clients. MFA, London Metropolitan University.

Philip Shane Philip Shane
Editing, Documentary Craft

Philip Shane is an award-winning documentary producer, director and editor with over 25 years of experience. His film “Being Elmo” won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. In a decade at ABC News, Shane edited programs including Ted Kopple's “Tip of the Spear” (DuPont Award) and “Martin Luther King” (Emmy, Outstanding Historical Program). His short film collaboration with Peter Jennings, “Witness to History,” has become a part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum. Philip edited “Dancing in Jaffa” (Tribeca; Best Editing at DocAviv); produced, directed and edited “Einstein” (History Channel); and edited many films about performing artists, including “Wingspan” (with Paul & McCartney and director Alistair Donald), “The Beatles Revolution” (ABC), “Carly Simon” (Lifetime), “Bruce Springsteen” (Disney) and “The Boston Symphony” (NHK).

Philip Shane Caitlin Burns
Virtual Reality/360 Video Unit

As a transmedia producer for over 15 years, Burns has developed storyworlds and sustainable multiplatform strategies for franchises ranging from global blockbuster feature films, award-winning television shows, AAA console games, 360° video and virtual reality. She also works with international brands and organizations to use new media technologies to reach audiences and create impact. She currently serves as vice chair of the Producers’ Guild of America’s New Media Council. Beyond fiction, Burns has consulted and developed projects with brands, institutions and governments to inspire communities to action, connecting opinions and engagement to real world impact, profitability and sustainable growth. Past clients include “Pirates of the Caribbean”; Disney’s “Fairies” “Descendants” and “Tron Legacy”; James Cameron’s “Avatar” for Fox’ “Halo” for Microsoft; “Happiness Factory” for The Coca-Cola Company; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Nickelodeon; and “Transformers” for Hasbro. Other clients include Showtime, Pepperidge Farm, Diageo, Reebok and UNICEF Kid Power.

Piero Basso, A.I.C. Piero Basso, A.I.C.

As a cinematographer with more than 20 years of experience and as an active member of the Italian Association of Cinematographers (A.I.C.), Piero has shot 15 feature films and major TV series while working on projects from documentaries to short films. His movies have been honored in Venice (Competition), Cannes (Semaine de la Critique), Locarno (Competition), Turin, Huesca, Busan, Clermont-Ferrant, Oberhausen and numerous other festivals all over the world. Recently, he wrapped production on a 12-episode television series directed by Marco Risi and produced by RAI as well as the feature film “Una Famiglia,” directed by Sebastiano Riso, which competed at the prestigious Venice Film Festival 2017.

Jessica Wolfson Jessica Wolfson

Jessica Wolfson has directed and produced many critically-acclaimed documentary films and series. In recent years she produced “Sacred” (IDFA, DOC NYC, Tokyo International Film Festival); “Revenge of the Mekons” with Fred Armisen and Jonathan Franzen (“Top 10 films of 2014” by Village Voice); “A Girl and a Gun”; “Next Year Jerusalem” and “Crazy Sexy Cancer” (SXSW, aired on TLC and OWN). She has created award-winning media content for ESPN, MTV, Conde Nast, NYU, Canon and many nonprofit organizations. At IFC TV Original Programming, she developed and produced documentaries including “This Film is Not Yet Rated” by Kirby Dick (Sundance, SXSW, Seattle International Film Festival); “Wanderlust” by Academy Award nominees Bob Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman; “The Bridge” by Eric Steele; “Greg the Bunny”; and Emmy-nominated “Dinner for Five” with Jon Favreau. Jessica directed and produced Netflix’s award-winning and critically acclaimed “Radio Unnameable” (Cine Golden Eagle, Full Frame, Silver Docs, "Top 10 Films of 2012" by the New York Daily News). Jessica is a consulting producer and mentor for filmmakers through the IFP and Tribeca Film Institute, and is currently in production for Discovery Channel.

Lizzie Gottlieb Lizzie Gottlieb
Directing (6 Week Workshop)

Lizzie Gottlieb has been directing film and theater in New York for the past 20 years. Her documentary “Today's Man” aired on PBS (Independent Lens) and at festivals and conferences all over the world. “Romeo Romeo” also aired on PBS (America ReFramed) and won the 2017 NLGJA award for Excellence in Documentary. Lizzie is currently at work on a film about Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his 50-year argument and relationship with his editor, Bob Gottlieb, as they work towards completing a final book. She founded and ran an off-Broadway theater company that developed and produced new plays. As a director, Lizzie has worked with actors including Peter Dinklage, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Amy Ryan, Michael Ian Black, Justin Kirk, Francie Swift, Josh Hamilton, and Sara Ramirez.

Kristen Nutile Kristen Nutile
Documentary Craft, Editing

Kristen Nutile is an independent filmmaker and editor based in New York City. Kristen has directed 11 films which have shown all over the world, including festivals such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Kristen collaborated with legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles and producer Tanja Meding on “Sally Gross - The Pleasure of Stillness.” The film premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS. As an editor, Kristen has worked on a number of award- winning documentaries, including “The Bullish Farmer,” “Deep Run,” “Unfinished Spaces,” and “Every Day is a Holiday.” MS, Biology from San Francisco State University; MFA, Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.

Melissa Hibbard Melissa Hibbard

Director/producer Melissa Hibbard co-founded the production company Fictionville Studio. Her films have premiered at Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and IDFA film festivals, won numerous international awards, and been televised on international networks including PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, DR2, and Al Jazeera. Recently, she served as editorial director on an illustrated translation and adaptation of a Persian mythology called “Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings,” which The Wall Street Journal lauded as a “masterpiece.” Currently, she is producing a theater piece titled “Feathers of Fire,” a live animation-like shadow play that is touring around the world.

Dorottya Mathe Dorottya Mathe

Dorottya Mathé is a New York-based producer with nearly two decades of experience in the television and film industry. She has produced a wide-range of films, including the slow-motion video installation “Portraits in Dramatic Time” featuring Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, and Holly Hunter, commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival; “Pardon Us for Living but the Graveyard is Full,” a rock-documentary on the Fleshtones; “The Independents” with Richard Kind, George Wendt, James Naughton and Tony-award winner Kelli O’Hara; “Sing for Hope: Pop-Up Pianos,” a documentary about New York City’s largest public art project; psychological thriller, “Impossible Monsters” featuring Santino Fontana; and, recently, supervised production on “Furlough,” a female-driven comedy starring Melissa Leo, Whoopi Goldberg and Anna Paquin.

Maria Stanisheva Maria Stanisheva

Maria Stanisheva is a film director/producer and founder of ANIMADOCS, an independent production house that specializes in animation and documentary projects. With over 10 years of experience, Stanisheva has worked on feature films, TV and online series, independent and commissioned shorts, and she has been named a Berlinale Talent by the highly selective Berlin International Film Festival. Her animated documentary “Father” was screened at over 120 film festivals and received 28 awards, including the Golden Dove for Animated Film at DOK Leipzig Festival. ANIMADOCS’ work has been featured in the New York Times, The Independent, and Euronews, among others. Maria’s animated docs for Human Rights Watch have been featured on CNN and BBC.

Ronald Kopp Ronald Kopp
Documentary Cinema Studies

Ron Kopp has been a regularly featured film commentator for NPR, the “Dr. Video” columnist for, and the Film Programmer for the Paramount Center for the Arts. He is currently in post-production on a short fiction film, “The Resurrection Love Song.” His feature-length version of Jeff Cohen's play "The Soap Myth" has been broadcast on PBS. Both “The Soap Myth” and his documentary “I Will Refuse to Bubble” are distributed by Digital Theatre. Ron joined the faculty of the New York Film Academy in 2010. He teaches Documentary Cinema Studies and hosts master classes with visiting filmmakers.

Xiaoxiao Chen Xiaoxiao Chen
AVID, Premiere, Editing, After Effects, Photoshop

Xiaoxiao Chen is a New York-based freelance editor working on feature films, art exhibitions, installations, and commercials. Her clients include such giants as Apple, New Balance, and New York Fashion Week. She edited “A Celebration is a Celebration is a Celebration,” an Official Selection of Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival. Her short film “Lost” premiered in a special screening at Hollywood’s famous Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Kate Kirtz Kate Kirtz

Kate Kirtz is a writer, director, story consultant and teacher with an MFA from the Columbia University graduate film program, where her screenplay was honored as a Faculty Selects Script. Kirtz produced and directed documentary feature “Jane,” which screened at the Sundance, Edinburgh, and New York Film Festivals; was broadcast on PBS and internationally; received NEA, Paul Robeson and ITVS grants; and won the Silver Apple Award for Best Educational Video at the National Educational Media Festival, among many other awards. Kirtz worked in film distribution for Women Make Movies, where she ran campaigns for “A Healthy Baby Girl” and a number of other documentary films. Her many story consulting clients include “Swim Little Fish Swim,” which premiered at SXSW, screened at Rotterdam, São Paulo, and other festivals, had a worldwide theatrical release, and sold to HBO Europe, Netflix, ITunes, YouTube, and Hulu. Kirtz also consulted for feature documentary “Renée,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and screened at HotDocs, Los Angeles, and Frameline Film Festivals, before showing on ESPN.

Dionysius Vlachos Dionysius Vlachos

MFA in Sound Design, Savannah College of Art and Design. Vlachos began his career in broadcasting for, producing videos and live segments for clients including FOX News, ABC, Bloomberg, and Al Jazeera. He has experience working in audio post-production with film, animation, video game, documentary, commercial, and VR content. He is currently directing a fantasy animation.

Davide Berardi Davide Berardi

Davide Berardi started his career in northern Italy as a live sound engineer. He produced and engineered music in the studio for other artists, and then moved to New York City to work as a composer and sound designer for independent filmmakers. Berardi’s work has been featured in commercials for BMW, Verizon, JCPenney, and Crayola.

Arsenio Assin Arsenio Assin

Arsenio G. Assin received his BFA from City College of New York's Picker Institute in Film and Media Studies. He worked for several years in New York’s film industry, ranging from music videos, documentaries, commercials, industrials, ENG, and independent shorts and features. It was during this time that he explored the different departments, working as a grip, sound, electrician, AC, and eventually DOP. He has worked from bigger productions, such as an AC for the New York crew of “Eyes Wide Shut,” to smaller productions of independent companies, such as Troma Entertainment.

Amanda Brzezowski Amanda Brzezowski
Program Coordinator, Documentary Department

Amanda Brzezowski received her MA in Film Studies from Columbia University. She presented her thesis dissertation at multidisciplinary conferences held at Emory University in Atlanta and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. While at Columbia, Amanda interned for POV, the longest-running documentary series on PBS. She screened documentaries in consideration for the series and helped coordinate the annual Editorial Committee Meeting, where PBS programmers and independent filmmakers discuss and select the final films for broadcast on the series. Since graduating, Amanda has been screening documentary films in consideration for POV, Tribeca Film Festival, and Camden International Film Festival. Amanda has also created short documentaries for local nonprofits and events to help raise money for community programs supporting children, seniors and cancer survivors.


New York Film Academy Disclaimer
New York Film Academy Disclaimer