Call for Applications for Summer 2018: Robert Flaherty Film Seminar



The Five College Film Council is now accepting applications for the 2018 5C Flaherty Program, a week-long summer program for Five College students in partnership with the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Applications are due February 19, 2018. Details below. 

What is the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar?
With a storied history dating back to 1955, the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar (aka “The Flaherty Seminar”) is an annual, week-long seminar devoted to non-fiction film and media. The Flaherty Seminar brings together filmmakers, artists, curators, media professionals, film students, teachers, and enthusiasts for a curated program of films in an intimate, immersive environment. Participants gather for a communal experience that includes housing, meals, social hours, and special events. Each day of the seminar is organized around at least three screening sessions followed by discussion.

When does the Flaherty Seminar take place?
The 2018 Flaherty Seminar will be held June 16-22, 2018 at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. For details on this year’s theme and programmer, see (go to Flaherty Seminar tab). Further information about the Flaherty Seminar and its history can also be found on this site.

What is the 5C Flaherty Program?
The 5C Flaherty Program, now in its second year, aims to foster learning and networking opportunities for students from constituencies that are underrepresented in leadership positions in film and media. We are currently seeking applicants who are interested in attending the 2018 Flaherty Seminar. One student will be selected from each of the five campuses and this 5C cohort will participate in a week-long guided program during the Flaherty Seminar coordinated by a faculty mentor. This year’s 5C faculty mentor will be Josh Guilford, Assistant Professor of English in Film and Media Studies at Amherst.

The student selected to attend from each campus will have the 5C Flaherty Program fee—which covers registration fees for the Seminar, accommodations and meals for the week, and special Five College programming—paid by the 5C Flaherty Program. Student participants will be responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the Seminar. Applying students should be prepared to pay a portion of the travel expenses, but assistance will be available.

The goal of this guided program—qualitatively different from an internship or work experience—is to cultivate learning and networking opportunities for students from constituencies that are underrepresented in leadership positions in film and media, including women, LGBTQ persons, ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, students with financial need, and undocumented students. In choosing an Amherst College student to attend, our selection committee will give particular consideration to applicants who confront multiple barriers to professional advancement in this field.

Preference will be given to FAMS majors and to students who have completed at least one critical studies and one production class in film and media. Students should check with their advisor or FAMS professors if they have any questions about the courses they’ve taken. This program is best suited for students who will be entering their third and fourth year in Fall 2018; returning students in these years will be considered over graduating seniors and first year students.

Students selected to be part of the 5C Flaherty Program cohort will be required to:
(A) Attend a half-day orientation in Spring 2018, in which they will meet fellow participants and learn more about the Flaherty Seminar and what will be expected of them there.
(B) Arrive at Colgate University by 2PM on June 16, 2018 and stay for the full duration of the Seminar, which concludes at noon on June 22, 2018.
(C) Participate in a guided program of daily lunch and dinner conversations with attending media professionals and filmmakers during the seminar. Additionally, they may be asked to serve as liaisons to next year’s participants and other interested students with a Film/Media focus during the following school year.

What we are looking for:
We are searching for applicants who have demonstrated passion and inclination for creative and critical work in film and media, with a special interest in nonfiction, and who can integrate themselves respectfully into non-academic venues for discussing nonfiction film and filmmaking. Applicants should demonstrate that they have taken some time to acquaint themselves with the structure and history of the Flaherty Film Seminar; on this note JinJin Xu, an Amherst alum who participated in 2017, would be happy to answer your questions via email ( or Skype. Applicants should effectively convey reasons why they would like to attend the Seminar and also how they feel they can contribute to the event. All Seminar attendees are encouraged to participate in discussions and the overall discourse, and we want to know what you can add.

How can Amherst Students Apply?
In a separate document, please create your application with the following sections, and submit it via email to Heather Grimes (ADC for FAMS Program) at by February 19, 2018. Notifications will be sent out soon after the deadline.

SECTION 1: Name, college, year, email address, home address

SECTION 2 (200 words or less):
Please tell us a little bit about some of the experiences that have shaped your sense of yourself and/or your community as marginalized in relation to the film and media industry. Please feel free to address issues of access, representation, mentorship, or any other obstacles to professional advancement that you may have encountered.

SECTION 3 (500 words or less):
Please write a short statement about why you are applying to the 5C Flaherty Program and why
you would be a good candidate for the program, addressing:
(A) What are your relevant interests in and experiences with film and media, both academic and
otherwise? What work do you hope to do in the future, related to these fields?
(B) How will participating in the 2017 Flaherty Seminar contribute to your personal and
professional goals in and beyond college?
(C) What skills/experience will you bring that can contribute to discussions and community at the

SECTION 4 (under 1 page):
Please supply a 1-page resume that includes evidence of any achievements or experiences related to film and media (eg: coursework, films, community projects, etc.)