DMS Student Showcase 2021

DMS 342 Intermediate Documentary Workshop

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Intermediate Documentary is an intensive workshop in nonfiction film production, with an emphasis on both hands-on practice of documentary filmmaking and in-depth study of the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Production projects helpedstudents develop conceptual and technicalproficiency, including knowledge of the development, production, and post production ofnonfiction films. Readings, writing assignments, and class presentations will deepen students’understanding of nonfiction filmmaking and storytelling.

The students worked very hard this semester and impressed the teacher with their commitment and passion. There was nearly 100% attendance in this class. Furthermore, with the exception of one or two technical bumps or people feeling ill, everyone kept their cameras on. Chats were lively, engaged and supportive. Kudos to everyone, and congratulations on surviving pandemic pedagogy!

Tom Goia



This film explores the passionate nature of the Buffalo Bills fan base. Not only does this documentary try to showcase what the team means to each and every follower, it also highlights the aspect of community and togetherness that is brought out through watching football, and the connections it can create within individuals. Mafia follows both my father and brother, showcasing their love for the team and their roots, as well as the ever-growing personal connection, made through watching a professional football team located in Buffalo, NY.

Yilin Song


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This is a film about smell, and the inspiration of the film comes from my understanding of taste. The movie starts with a common smell, which is a very common idea, and it is also a preparation for the rest of the story. The reference to parasites turns the film on its head, thereby shifting the audience's attention to the smell of people. Smell is a very ordinary, ordinary thing. This smell can be emitted from organic life or inorganic in life. Every dish has its own smell, every bottle of perfume has its own smell, and every person has his own smell. It doesn't have to be the smell of sweat, or the smell of clothing, but it can also be the smell of a person coming from the inside out. Confident, sly, kind, nice, handsome, ugly. These adjectives can all be used to describe a person's smell. Smell is a very common thing; it can be used as a topic for people to discuss. Smell is a kind of belief and goal. People observe each other to see whether there is a smell they like on each other and whether there is a smell they need to chase. Smell can also be a double-edged sword, just as the rich always dress appropriately and generously and the clothes of people without money are always not so decent. My own idea was to have three or four interviewers, and they might all be people who other people thought had a very different personality and smell. However, due to time constraints, I failed to make an appointment with them.

Paige Bulera

who is jum?

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WHO IS JUM? Is a short film portrait documentary that focuses on an eighteen year old girl, Jenna Spratz(JUM) who is moving to New York City to begin a new chapter in her life. At sixteen she established her first brand titled JUM, where she made and sold one of a kind articles of clothing. JUM’s most recent brand and clothing line drop was titled Bonehead where she creates and sells graphic art on clothing. This film shows a deep and vulnerable side of a young aspiring artist and business woman on a journey to find herself by moving away from home. Home for JUM was Buffalo, a fishbowl. Home for JUM now is NYC, a sea of opportunity. Opportunity for school, fashion, art, friends, and happiness.

Hamadi Mganga

The journey

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“TheJourney” is a documentary about several Somali Bantus retelling their storyfrom Somalia to the United States. These include Nurta Abdullahi, and Majuma Muya. They talk about the trauma and pain they endured in Somalia, as well as the tribulations during migration. This documentary also explores the experiential differences in the Somali Bantu among different generations. Abdullahi Mganga, Nurta’s Son, provides a perspective from a younger generation, one untouched by the trauma of persecution and war. The documentary narrows in on their particular experiences, but they are representative of the experiences of the Somali Bantus at large.

Tristan Gellatly


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“Paper” is an observational documentary that follows a lifecycle of papers in a small American household. Rather than focus on the people that use paper, this film aims to follow papers as vessels that are transformed and used in different ways. Over the course of a single weekend, the small family uses and recycles paper, changing its purpose until it ends up at its final destination. But even this is not the end.

Scott Border


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For my final film project I wanted to make a film about me, my four best friends, and the absolutely wild journey we’ve been a part of for well over the last decade. I’ve always wanted to make a film about our story andit's something that we all talked about often but, I had no idea on how to tell that story without simply just sitting down and spilling it out over hours of storytelling. I had to find a way to tell our story in a way that makes sense from an outsider's perspective. And I believe my friends did an excellent job of doing that when I asked them to do an interview for my film. I used a combination of photos, interview footage, original b-roll, as well as archival footage of us to help enhance that background knowledge and give the viewer much more to go off of rather than just our words.

Jiacheng Ying

Elderly is Flower

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We always talk about youthis flower, however, different flowers open in different seasons and time periods. Sometimes, flowers also bloom at dusk, just like these old people in this documentary. At this age, the most romantic thing they do is to slowly tell us their lives and stories.

Yinqian Hu

Do as the vocals do

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The Lantern Festival, as the name suggests, is a festival of lanterns On this festival, every household will light up lanterns. This is a custom that has been passed down for hundreds of years in China. Every year on this day of the Lantern Festival, people light lanterns to pray for safety and happiness in the year. Tangyuan is also an essential food for this festival. Because the pronunciation of glutinous rice balls in Chinese is the same as the pronunciation of reunion, people will eat glutinous rice balls on this day to pray for family reunion. This film, shot in Suzhou, China, takes the audience to one of the oldest and most festive places in Suzhou. This is an old street with a history of buying years, and people will gather here to celebrate the festival on this day.

Jamison Namingha

Hell or high water

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In March of the year 2020, the performing art venues of Buffalo, NY were forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Buffalo is known for its enormous live music community, but without stages, pubs and concert halls, most of theseartists have to find a way to keep their music alive during these hard times. In the film, two members of a local folk music group, YellowJack, tell the story of their band's progression through the pandemic.

Kyler Barney


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SUSTAIN is a short film describing the negative environmental impact of the fashion industry. The audience observes a discussion between friends about the “Fast Fashion” business model, and its role in increasing global pollution and overconsumption. The film uses a combination of studio interviews and colorful graphics to depict the very real consequences of our modern shopping habits. This film aims to spread awareness about the issue of sustainability within the fashion industry and promote conscious consumerism.

Olivia Paolini

Playing outside

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Playing Outside is a documentary short film that explores how people cope with loneliness and mortality through the cultivation of personal spaces and possessions. Delving into the worlds of two subjects in their 20’s, we learn their views on what defines loneliness and what comforts them. Each portrait serves as a reflective look at aging, why we keep things, and the importance possessions may hold for our sanity. These two perspectives boil down to one commonality; things don’t last forever.

Nick Criscitello

the making of red murder

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An amatuer filmmaker down on his luck struggles to make his entry film for his dream film school.

2021 DMS Courses

  • DMS 418/518 Landscape Projections
    “Landscape Projections” is an advanced special topics course exploring landscape as a medium, predominantly through the lens of time-based media. “Projections” implies cinematic presentation, but we expand this idea of projection (from Latin projectio(n-), from proicere ‘throw forth’), exploring ideas around forecasts, mappings, visions, and transmission, as we consider a wide range of artists and filmmakers re-envisioning both the natural and manufactured landscape through cinematic geographies and spatial practices.
  • DMS 598 Project Supervision
    Graduate Student Project Supervision taught by Margaret Rhee
  • DMS 103 Basic Video (Section 2)
    This course provides an introduction to the technical and aesthetic practice of video production and post-production, with a critical eye to both form and content. Through lectures, readings, exercises, and projects, as well as screenings of historical and contemporary film and video work, students will gain an understanding of film and video language and explore conceptual strategies for the development of creative approaches to digital video making.
  • DMS 201 Green Media
    This course analyzes fictional and documentary media that investigate our relationship to nature: climate change, pollution, environmental justice, wildlife extinction. The course interprets the word media broadly to include film, games, social media, media-art, big data visualization, simulation and sensing. It examines the consciousness-raising power of film, media and journalism; traces the ecological impact of our obsession with the latest media device; and ponders the relationship between our feelings about our changing planet (denial, engagement, optimism, hopelessness) and our actions.
  • DMS 534 Media Archaeology
    In this theory/practice seminar, students will interrogate the strain of scholarly and artistic practices concerned with the cultural and material histories of media technology known as media archaeology.
  • DMS 474 Media Theories and Approaches
    Media theory investigates the technoculturaloperation of media, including media technologies and social practices. The basic question media theory must ask is “what is media?” If something is identified as media, is it always media or only under certain circumstances? For example, paint is a mediumwhen used for a painting, but what about on a wall or in a can? Air is a medium for sound and music, but what about when the world is silent? Fiber optic cables, wifi signals, and the internal operations of a computer delivering a film on a laptop are media, but so is the film. How do they relate? Conversely, what is not media?
  • DMS 213 Immigration & Film (Section 2)
    This course offers an introduction to South Korean drama and cinema with attention to
    Korean culture and history, TV/cinema/visual cultural analysis, and within the contexts Korean cultural global reach also understood as Hallyu or the Korean Wave. Students will study South Korean drama and film through thematics such as historical development, aesthetics, genre, auteur theory, stardom, subtitling, and the politics of distribution.
  • DMS 341: Intermediate Video
    This course took place in the fall of 2020 and was an intensive workshop in fiction film production, with an emphasis on both hands-on practice of fiction filmmaking and in-depth study of the art of fiction filmmaking. 
  • DMS 480 Social Media & Networks (Section 1)
    In this online course, we will learn about, critique, and create social media and networks theory. Through media theory and case studies, we will analyze social media and networks; through online discussion, we will develop our ideas; and finally, through creation we will implement our learning into action. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding and will be able to critically read, analyze, and write about social media from a variety of perspectives. Along with rigorous reading and writing, students will engage through creative making and collective presentations. In doing so, we adhere to learning through creating.
  • DMS 448 Games, Gender & Culture
    DMS 448: Games, Gender And Culture provides a comprehensive investigation of the emerging field of Games Studies, the critical analysis of games and interactive environments made possible by the computer. We will address different theoretical perspectivesthat view games and gaming as historical, social, cultural. aesthetic, technical, performative, and cognitive phenomenon. 
  • DMS 103 Basic Video (Section 1)
    Basic Video is a beginner level production class on the uses of digital video, moving image, and media as a medium of artistic expression and communication. There is a mixture of history, theory, artistic practice, technique, analysis, and there is a distinctive focus on learning while making.
  • DMS 302 Experimental Moving Image
    “Experimental Moving Image” is an intermediate level undergraduate production class introducing students to alternative approaches to the moving image, from abstraction and collage, personal documentary and hybrid narratives, to stop-motion and video installation, across single and multiple screens.
  • DMS 462/562 Game Design
    DMS 462 is a production course that allows students to explore the fabulous and sometimes frightening world of Game Design. Games are all around us in modern culture, ranging from video games to board and card games to sports to politics (Game of Thrones, anyone?) and beyond. 
  • DMS 435/535 Scriptwriting
    In this production workshop students concentrate on writing and editing script elements for all kinds of media including film, video, game, installation, AR, VR location- or web-based projects. The course explores traditional and experimental methods for generating and structuring text for any genre of fictional, documentary or hybrid work. Scripts include original writing, interviews, collaged or found fragments - which may be performed, heard or displayed in the final piece.
  • DMS 606 Sound and Space
    In this course, students interested in learning more about music and sound, and sound’s relationship with and existence ins pace, have been experimenting with creating virtual spaces. (This was particularly germane since the class took place over Zoom, an entirely virtual space.) We have analyzed how sound behaves in real spaces, both natural and human-built, with the goal of understanding how these spaces influence sound, and human perception. 
  • DMS 441 Advanced Video Production
    This production course is designed to build on and further students’ conceptual and technical skills in video production. Through a combination of in-class workshops and exercises, assigned projects, and close attention to visual, creative motion picture ideation, students will strive to produce thoughtful, personally meaningful, technically proficient videos. 
  • DMS 342 Intermediate Documentary Workshop
    Intermediate Documentary is an intensive workshop in nonfiction film production, with an emphasis on both hands-on practice of documentary filmmaking and in-depth study of the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Production projects helpedstudents develop conceptual and technicalproficiency, including knowledge of the development, production, and post production ofnonfiction films. Readings, writing assignments, and class presentations will deepen students’understanding of nonfiction filmmaking and storytelling.