The Documentary Center
805 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

Phone: (202) 994-6787
Fax: (202) 994-5806
gwdocs@gwu.edu


Film Projects

The Documentary Center not only teaches documentary film production, but we also produce award-winning, non-fiction films for national and international audiences.  Among them are: 

4TH & GOAL

Follow Bret, Deqawn, Gibril, Albert, Tim and Randy in their six-year quest to make to the apex of American sports: the NFL.

4TH & GOAL is the epic tale of six young men in their quest to join the most elite club in professional athletics: the NFL.

Shot over six years, we first meet Deqawn, Albert, Gibril, Tim, Randy, and Bret at the famed junior college football program at City College in San Francisco. We follow them through the 2003 championship season to the top D1 collegiate teams in the nation and into their encounter with world of professional football.

What their individual fates reveal is as much a prophetic tale of brotherhood, family and the harsh realities of growing up as it is about excelling on 100 yards of turf.

 

THE MATADOR

“Barbaric, Elegant, Primitive, Erotic, Revolting, Thrilling...More drama than most blockbusters!” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“A thrilling look at Spain's most passionate art. OLE!” – Jeffrey Lyons, NBC/Reel Talk

“Truly a Great Film!” – Firstshowing.net

For more information, visit The Matador Film Website

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF SWEET POTATO PIE AND HOW IT BECAME A FLYING SAUCER

In the tradition of ‘Chocolat’ comes ‘Sweet Potato Pie.’ Here is the true story of Pearl Mallory who works as a cook at the St. Mary's Court Retirement Home in Washington, DC.

Hailing from rural Virginia, Pearl is one of eight children borne of the sons and daughters of slaves.

Now, by the age of 82, she has lived nearly her entire life in kitchens cooking for senior citizens. But Pearl's cuisine is not the traditional beige and grey offerings normally found in the institutional walls of old people's homes. Her specialty — Sweet Potato Pie. Mixed into the sweet cream, orange fruit, and exotic spices of Pearl's concoction is her inextricable connection with her tangled Southern roots and with her unyielding devotion to the Lord.

She creates an irresistible and magical potion. With it's rich perfume, earthy taste, and silken lustre, Pearl's Sweet Potato Pie inspires the most extraordinary and unexpected effect on the normally sober and otherwise staid residents of St. Mary's Home. ‘Sweet Potato Pie’ is all the evidence you need to know that ‘You are what you eat.’

 

THE OPEN ROAD: AMERICA'S LOOK AT AGING

This 60-minute film explores the lives and work of a multitude of individuals, at various stages of retirement, and reveals the manner in which they have shaped the critical "third stage" of life.

The Open Road was the centerpiece of 35 town hall meetings around the nation as communities have begun to plan for the retirement of America's Baby Boom. The film was also screened for the Senate Select Committee on Aging as well as during the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

The Open Road aired on public broadcasting nation-wide beginning in Feb. 2005 and is available on DVD from First Run Features.

The Open Road was made possible by a grant by the Atlantic Philanthropies and was presented in collaboration with "RespectAbility," a consortium of 20 national not-for-profit organizations that spearheaded the outreach and community dialogues and activities.

To purchase a copy of The Open Road: America's Look at Aging, visit First Run Features.

 

THE BALLAD OF BERING STRAIT

Completed in 2002, is The Ballad of Bering Strait, a feature-length documentary film following seven Russian teenagers in their quest to become country music stars.

The film was shot in hi-definition in Russia and the United States. The film documents Bering Strait's arrival in Nashville upon signing a recording contract with Arista Records and follows the band on a two and a half year journey to the American stage. Ballad is a 98 minute cultural fusion film that explores what it really means to come of age in America.

The Ballad of Bering Strait has been signed by Emerging Pictures and is represented by EP President, Ira Deutchman.

Seavey nominated for Emmy Award - Best Director

 

A PARALYZING FEAR: THE STORYOF POLIO IN AMERICA

A Paralyzing Fear completed in 1998, was a four year effort made possible by grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals totaling $1.3 million.

This 90 minute film narrated by Olympia Dukakis examines the impact of epidemic disease on society seen through the rise of the great polio epidemics of the 1940's and 1950's.

The film was released theatrically at the prestigious Film Forum in New York City. A Paralyzing Fear's broadcast premiere on was accompanied by Conquering Fear: Epidemic Disease Today, a Documentary Center-produced studio program which examines the current efforts to combat epidemic disease around the world.

Conquering Fear and A Paralyzing Fear aired as a two-hour time block on PBS on October 5, 1998. A Paralyzing Fear has been the recipient of numerous awards including:

  • Emmy Award for Best Research in a News or Documentary Program, 1999
  • Emmy Nominations for Best Editing, Best Music, 1999
  • Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year, 1999
  • Gold Medal, International Cindy Competition, 2000
  • Axiem Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television Documentary, 1999
  • Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Achievement in Educational Filmmaking, 1998
  • Golden Hugo for Outstanding Achievement in History and Biography, 1998
  • International Monitor Award for Best Editing of a documentary film, 1998

 

THE BATTLE OF THE ALAMO

The Center was also the production entity for the Discovery Channel special The Battle of the Alamo.

This one hour documentary explores the events of the 13 day siege and of the subsequent creation of the myth of the Alamo. The film marks the first time in the century-long history of the Alamo in which cameras were allowed to shoot within the walls of the Texas shrine.

The film received critical acclaim for its innovation in dramatically depicting events from the pre-photographic era. The film was directed by Oscar winning filmmaker, Paul Wagner, and was produced and co-directed by Nina Gilden Seavey. Reuben Aaronson acted as the Director of Photography and Skip Sorrell completed the sound design, musical composition and mix. The film received the International Monitor Award for Best Sound Design.

  • The film has been rerun many times on the Discovery Channel and is available on home video.