Standford Film Lab

The Stanford Film Lab aims to provide students with the means, peer support and equipment to realize their documentary filmmaking dreams. We offer a space in which students can screen their work and we serve as a link between independent filmmakers in the Bay Area and students on the Stanford campus. We hope to complement any film studies courses in theory, history, rhetoric or production offered here on campus. Most of all, the SFL stresses the collective aspects of the art of filmmaking and provides a network for students interested in pursuing the documentary tradition.
We are supported by the PWR Program and the Stanford Writing Center. PWR2 students especially, are encouraged to parlay their multi-media class projects into larger real-world documentary projects. Our overall mission is to serve the Stanford undergraduate community by providing a dynamic creative space in which students can continue to develop and extend learning beyond the classroom with the use of digital video technology and new video streaming capabilities on campus.

Visit the Student Blog 


Here we invite our guest filmmakers and artists to write a few words about the medium of documentary film:

“If film has the ability to change people’s hearts and minds, then documentary filmmaking is truly a powerful weapon because it deals with reality.  Although I antically made ‘Piece By Piece’ for graffiti writers, I quickly realized that the movie has a far greater impact on those that know nothing about graffiti.  If people walk away from a film with a new insight or motivation to learn more about the subject matter, then I feel like documentary has done its job.”

-Nic Hill, director of “Piece by Piece”
“You really don’t know where you are in life until you sit down for a tete-a-tete with a group- bordering-on-a-crowd of undergrads who live as Gods; as young, healthy minds and bodies in an Eden of voluptuous woods and thick, clean air where their lives are housed in palatial structures. At the end of my visit to Palo Alto, I felt as any mortal would who had danced in such surroundings and lived to tell of it — damn lucky…
My visit included a seated-Q and A session in the afternoon and a screening of the film “The Cruise” in the evening that was followed by a standing-Q and A with the crowd of kids who had just watched it.  The themes covered in both sessions were varied dances around the fires of disillusionment’s purposes, illuminating mundane, and uniting discontent with joy.  There was five tons of laughter…
Many of the students were poets, others were cinephiles, and I’m sure many other specialties were represented in the room that I didn’t have the chance to discover. I’m not sure exactly what we all shared but I am sure we all shared something.”
-Timothy Speed Levitch, “The Cruise”

Director Scott Herndon

Board of Directors

Andrea Lunsford – Director, Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Philippe Denis, Dreamworks Animation

Kristi M. Wilson – Soka University

Tomas F. Crowder-Taraborrelli – Soka University

Sangeeta Mediratta – Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Laura Ruberto – Director, Humanities Program, Berkeley City College

Donna Hunter – Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Joel Burgess – Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Student Board

Will Rogers

Charlie Mintz

Elise Lopez

Board of Advisors

Jasmina Bojic – Director, United Nations Association Film Festival

Annelise Wunderlich – Filmmaker, Producer, Independent Television Service, San Francisco

Carlos Castresana – Court Magistrate, Spain, Co-author of the case against General Augusto Pinochet, Visiting Professor at USF

Ken Hutz – Director, Un Mundo Non-Profit Organization for Sustainability, Honduras

Roland Hsu – Senior Associate Director Undergraduate Advising Programs

Corrine Arraez – Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Marilenis Olivera – Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Galen Davis – Introduction to the Humanities Program

Rob Wessling, Associate Director, Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

Film Lab News (2006-2008)

Outgoing Film Lab Directors Kristi Wilson and Tomas Crowder wish to thank everyone for their support over the last couple of years and to welcome Scott Herndon as the new Director, as well as Donna Hunter, Sangeeta Mediratta and Joel Burges as the faculty board members. On board as new Student Directors are Charlie Mintz and Elise Lopez. Will Rogers, as always, is the glue that holds us all together.

Kristi and Tomas’ final Film Lab Event (an August 6th screening of “The Take” ) will be part of a film series co-sponsored by the ICA and CREES (Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies) . Read the poster below for more details:

We here at the Film Lab are proud to welcome Philippe Denis of Dreamworks Animation to our Board of Directors. Welcome Philippe! Read more about his work at the IMDB link:



The Film Lab & Cross Cultural Rhetoric have received a Curricular Innovation Grant from the Stanford Institute for Creativity in the Arts for “The Stanford Mulitmedia Literacy Project.”



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The Film Lab presents:

The Weather Underground (film screening followed by Q & A with director, Sam Green) Thurs., January 31, 6-9 p.m. — Educ 128 (Cubberley)

In the 1960s and 1970s, the polarization of the political situation of the USA was becoming acute with the Vietnam War abroad and civil rights at home being but the most obvious issues. For the youth political movement, the seemingly ineffectual methods of peaceful protest and resistance led to the rise of an idealistic faction that want a more extreme approach that the Establishment could not ignore. This faction, called the Weather Underground, attempted to team up with the Black Panthers to violently confront the US government that started with street riots and escalating to bombing government targets. Thorough archival footage and interviews of the veterans of both sides of this conflict, this film covers the resistance movement’s campaign of selective violence through this period until changing times and disillusionment brought it to an end while the FBI used unethical and illegal methods to hasten it. Synopsis by Kenneth Chisholm (

The Film Lab and Cross Cultural Rhetoric present:
Wed., Feb. 6th (6-8 p.m.) , film screening
The Take (2004)
In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act – the take – has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale. With The Take, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century.
The Film Lab presents: “Genocide and Documentary Film”
Monday, Feb. 4 (noon-12:50), Meyer 184
Lecture by Tomas Crowder-Taraborrelli
Dr. Crowder-Taraborrelli is a Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford and has produced a couple of documentary films.He is currently working on a co-edited book project entitled Film and Genocide.