Online Events

In response to the global pandemic, in May 2020 we began hosting filmmaker events online. The success of these early events has encouraged us to launch a running series that will continue through the Fall and Winter. While we regret that we cannot host our regular filmmaker events in our Watertown office, we are delighted that moving our events online means we can reach filmmakers and viewers around the world. We look forward to seeing you.


Immersive Sound Meets Visual Anthropology – Postponed

A discussion about Voices of the Rainforest with anthropologist Steven Feld, Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), Dennis Leonard (Skywalker Sound), Jeremiah Ra Richards (Voices co-director) and Bambi Schiefflin (NYU).

Stay tuned for more details.

Past Events

Free Screening and Virtual Discussion of My Rembetika Blues

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 2-3pm EST

DER partnered with the American Anthropological Association (AAA) for a free virtual discussion with filmmaker Mary Zournazi and Grammy-winner Christopher C. King about the film My Rembetika Blues. Weaving together different stories of music and migration, the film documents the history of rembetika music (also known as the Greek blues). Mary is not only an acclaimed filmmaker, but also a philosopher and author. She recently co-wrote a book with legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders. Christopher C. King has produced over 351 CD collections of folk music and published a book on the traditional folk music of northwest Greece, Lament from Epirus.

Watch the recording of the conversation

Mother Tongue Film Festival 2022 - Archival Legacies of the Yanomamö Series

2022 Mother Tongue Film Festival: Archival Legacies of the Yanomamö Series – Preservation, Digital Restoration, and Return

Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM EST

This two-part roundtable considers the complicated legacies of the Yanomamö Film Series (1969–1976), a groundbreaking ethnographic media project that expanded the boundaries of documentary. Distributed by Documentary Education Resources (DER) and archived in the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archive, the series emerged from a collaboration between anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon (1938–2019), filmmaker Tim Asch (1932–1994), and Yanomamö communities in southern Venezuela and northern Brazil.

The collaboration resulted in 110,000 feet of film and 21 films, including some of the most celebrated ethnographic films of the period: The Feast (1970), The Ax Fight (1975), and A Man Called “Bee” (1974). But this work was not without controversy as Chagnon’s mischaracterizations of the Yanomamö as the “Fierce People” has had ongoing impacts on communities, and scholars have called into question his ethics.

The first roundtable is focused on the technical and aesthetic issues underlying the processes of preservation and digital restoration. The second panel explores the value of these films for the Yanomamö and anthropologists interested in more equitable collaborations. Acknowledging the painful legacies of anthropology, these roundtables will provoke discussions about the value of historical works and the potential for redress and corrected narratives.

Part 1 – Preservation & Digital Restoration

Joshua Bell (Introduction—Recovering Voices, NMNH)
Alice Apley (Moderating—Documentary Educational Resources)
Pam Wintle (Emeritus, National Anthropological Archives)
Frank Aveni (Documentary Educational Resources)
Nic Brynolfson (Documentary Educational Resources)
Elías Mendoza Vivas (Documentary Educational Resources)

Part 2 – Return

Joshua Bell (Introduction, Recovering Voices, NMNH)
Alice Apley (Moderating, Documentary Education Resources)
Javier Carrera Rubio (University of Mayland, College Park and Research Associate, NMNH)
Hortensia Caballero (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas)
David Good (University of Guelph and The Good Project)

This program is co-presented by Documentary Educational Resources and the National Anthropological Archives.

Restoration of the Yanomamö Film Series was graciously funded by a National Film Preservation Foundation grant and individual donors.

Watch the recording of the roundtable

Mother Tongue Film Festival 2021 - Archivist as Storyteller

2021 Mother Tongue Film Festival Roundtable: Anthropologists as Storytellers

Friday, March 19, 2021, 2 PM

Roundtable discussion exploring the thirty-year collaboration between anthropologists and filmmakers Lina Fruzzetti (Brown University) and Ákos Östör (Wesleyan University), spanning numerous publications and six films. Moderated by Alice Apley (Executive Director, Documentary Education Resources) and joined by Pam Wintle (senior film archivist, Human Studies Film Archive), this roundtable will focus on Fruzzetti and Östör’s important body of work, and the trajectory and craft of their filmmaking and storytelling as anthropologists.

This program is co-presented by Documentary Educational Resources and the National Anthropological Archives.

Watch the recording of the discussion.

The Healer and the Psychiatrist - Panel Discussion Flyer

The Healer and the Psychiatrist: Online Screening and Discussion with Mike Poltorak
Thursday December 10, 4pm EST

Join us for an online discussion about The Healer and the Psychiatrist, a new film about the treatment of mental health issues in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Join Filmmaker Mike Poltorak and a panel of experts to discuss the film.  Topics will include filmmaking about mental health issues, the intimacy of healing, and the film’s place in the anthropology of the Pacific. Panelists include: Patricia Fifita (Oregon State), Jessica Hardin (Rochester Institute of Technology) and Mike Poltorak (filmmaker, anthropologist); Robert Lemelson (moderator).  The film can be viewed online during the Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival. 

Presented in collaboration with the Society for Visual Anthropology.

Watch the recording of the discussion.


Patricia FiftaPatricia Fifita
As a Tongan native and professor at Oregon State, Patricia’s career spans medical and environmental anthropology and indigenous research methodologies and analytics, working toward collaborative and community based participatory work in the Pacific Islands.

Jessica HardinJessica Hardin
Jessica is an Australian cultural and medical anthropologist who is interested in how the intersection of medicine and religion shapes lived experiences of chronic illness and how that intersection leads to structural inequalities in everyday life.

Robert LemelsonRobert Lemelson (Moderator)
Robert Lemelson is a research anthropologist at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and an adjunct professor of anthropology, both at UCLA. In 2007, he founded Elemental Productions, an ethnographic documentary film production company dedicated to producing films focusing on culture, psychology, and personal experience.

Dr Mike PoltorakMike Poltorak (Director)
Dr. Mike Poltorak is a Medical Anthropologist and documentary filmmaker who has researched traditional healing, mental health and social health in Tonga since 1998. He won national, faculty and student prizes for teaching visual anthropology at the University of Kent and has filmed, directed and produced four documentaries, all of which emerge from long periods of involvement with various communities.

Teaching Anthropology with Film with Alice Apley and Jenny Cool 
December 2, 2020
The workshop provides an overview of the origins and history of anthropological filmmaking for the classroom, and provides practical information on accessing and using films in teaching. We will address questions such as – How do I find the right film for my class? What film formats are available for online teaching? What’s the difference between a Digital Site License and Streaming? What tools and resources are available for teaching with films? This workshop is being offered as part of the 2020 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting and is sponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology & General Anthropology Division.


Alice ApleyAlice Apley
Executive Director
Documentary Educational Resources

Jenny CoolJenny Cool
University of Southern California

September 22, 2020
The workshop examines the planning and implementation of Activized’s impact campaign run by Boston-based impact producer Marga Varea, founder of Twin Seas Media. Find out how the campaign was designed and executed; what decisions were made along the way to accomplish the intended impact; what obstacles they encountered and how the campaign adjusted during COVID-19. Take a look inside the mechanisms of impact producing and how it has profoundly changed the documentary distribution landscape.  Presented in collaboration with Women in Film & Video New England.

Marga VareaMarga Varea is the founder of Twin Seas Media, an impact distribution boutique agency working with documentary films and film festivals. Past and recent projects include Traces of the Trade, dir. Katrina Browne (official SUNDANCE selection and PBS/POV), Rebel, dir. Maria Agui Carter (PBS), 1913 Seeds of Conflict, dir. Ben Loeterman (PBS), I Know a Man… Ashley Bryan, dir. Richard Kane, J. Fred Woell: An American Vision, dir. Richard Kane, and Activized, dir. Eric Stange.

July 28, 2020
What is impact producing? Are all films suitable for impact campaigns?  This conversation was led by filmmaker Margo Guernsey (Councilwoman), Maria Judice (Writer, Director, Impact Producer and Founder of Indigo Films) and Marga Varea (Founder and Impact Producer of Twin Seas Media). Presented in collaboration with Women in Film and Video New England.

Watch a recording of the discussion


Margo Guernsey
Time Travel Productions, LLC

Maria Judice
Impact Producer,
Indigo Impact

Marga Varea
Founder, Twin Seas Media

May 26, 2020
We had a comprehensive discussion about distribution, which explored possibilities for getting your documentary on public TV, the challenges for the film festival circuit,and opportunities for educational distribution. Experts from the field who elevated the discussion included DER’s Executive Director, Alice Apley, WGBH’s Director of Programming, Ron Bachman, BlackStar Film Festival’s Artistic Director & CEO, Maori Karmael Holmes, and filmmaker and former LEF Foundation Program Director, Sara Archambault.  Presented in collaboration with Women in Film & Video New England.

Watch a recording of the discussion


Alice Apley Executive Director, DER

Sarah Archambault Creative Producer, Former Program Director, LEF Foundation

Ron Bachman Senior Director of Programming, WGBH

Maori Karmael Holmes
Founder & CEO, BlackStar Film Festival


Still looking for something to do during quarantine?  Check out our streamable films.