Malik Mitchell, a communications major at SUNY Cobleskill, was one of just 14 young filmmakers from across the country to spend four days in Albany this spring learning from award-winning documentary filmmakers Sam Pollard and Iva Radivojevic.
The program, NeXt Doc, was organized by Youth FX and the Carey Institute for Global Good, which hosted the workshops at its 100-acre historic estate in Rensselaerville, NY, in May. The students were immersed in the world of documentary filmmaking with master classes, formal workshops, Q+A opportunities, and breakout sessions designed to cultivate the next generation of non-fiction visual storytellers.
The retreat included a five-hour master class with Pollard (creator of 4 Little Girls, When the Levees Break, and Slavery by Another Name), and a lesson from Radivojevic (Evaporating Borders) about her organic visual style, cinematography, and storytelling.
“It was great to hear them speak and I felt like I learned a lot of good information about documentary and fictional filmmaking,” Malik said. “I can’t wait to use what I learned in my work.”
The Harlem native is planning to put his education to use in filmmaking and screenwriting after he graduates, he says. He’s inspired by filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and John Singleton. At SUNY Cobleskill, he’s been able to sharpen his skills in classes like Single Camera Production, Digital Imaging, Journalism, and Script Writing.
“Ever since I became a communications student, I felt like this school has opened up so many opportunities for me to showcase my creativity. I feel like I am prepared for my future and I can take many different career paths because of what I’ve learned here.”
— Malik Mitchell
Malik was particularly struck with Pollard’s lessons about editing at NeXt Doc, lessons he said will be in his mind every time he edits a new work, and Radivojevic’s short films and presentations.
“Iva Radivojevic’s class just made me want to create my own unique style of filmmaking,” he said.