Previous Clohesy Film Series Visitors

The William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series brings the world's most distinguished documentary filmmakers to the campus of the University of Northern Iowa.  Filmmakers spend several days in Cedar Falls lecturing, interacting with students and screening films.

The Documentary Filmmakers

Abigail Disney

April 2017: Abigail Disney 

Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. Disney hosted screenings of The Armor of Light and Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

Disney’s longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell  (winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, Women, War & Peace.  Her executive producing and producing credits include Fork Films supported films 1971Citizen KochFamily AffairHot Girls WantedThe Invisible War (2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Feature), Return, and Sun Come Up (2011 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short).

Her most recent projects include Fork Films original productions The Trials of Spring, which she executive produced, and The Armor of Light, her directorial debut. Disney is also the founder and president of Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that uses media and live events to highlight the stories of women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities. 


dawn porter

October 2015: Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, hosted screenings of Gideon's Army and Spies of the Mississippi. Gideon's Army won the American Bar Association's 2014 Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts and also received the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film, which follows three young public defenders in the Deep South who are trying to make “justice for all” a reality, was an official selection in the prestigious U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Spies of the Mississippi unveils a powerful secret, state-funded spy agency answering directly to the Governor that attempted to undermine the work of the Mississippi Freedom Summer coalition in 1964 to register black people to vote.

Before her filmmaking career, Porter graduated from Swarthmore College and Georgetown Law Center. She practiced law for five years before holding positions at ABC News and A&E Television Networks.

For more information, see this feature story.

Lucy Walker headshot

September 2014:  Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is a British film director who twice has been nominated for an Academy Award. She hosted screenings of feature documentaries The Crash Reel (2013) and Waste Land (2010), and short films, notably The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and The Lion's Mouth Opens (2014).

Walker's films have also been nominated for seven Emmys, an Independent Spirit and a Gotham Award and have won over eighty other film awards. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary, Short Subjects. Waste Land was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary, Feature.

Walker grew up in London, England, and graduated from Oxford University before winning a Fulbright scholarship to attend the Graduate Film Program at NYU. She began her career by directing theatre and musical theater, winning awards at Oxford for her productions, and while living in New York she also had a career as a DJ. For more information, see this feature story.

marshall curry

October 2012:  Marshall Curry

Curry, a two-time Academy Award nominee, hosted a screening of 2012 Academy Award nominee for best documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation. The film tells the story of a radical environmentalist who faced life in prison for burning two Oregon timber facilities. It won the Sundance Film Festival award for Best Documentary Editing, and was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award.

Curry also hosted screenings of the Academy Award nominated documentary Street Fight and Racing Dreams. Street Fight won the Audience Awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, AFI/Discovery SilverDocs Festival, and Hot Docs Festival. It also received the Jury Prize for Best International Documentary at Hot Docs and was nominated for a Writer's Guild of America Award. Racing Dreams follows two boys and a girl who dream of one day racing in NASCAR. The film won numerous awards including the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival Award for Best Documentary.

For more information, see this feature story.

alice elliott

October 2011: Alice Elliott

Elliott screened her Academy Award-nominated film The Collector of Bedford Street in the Lang Hall Auditorium followed by a Q&A session with Elliott. The Collector of Bedford Street was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002. The Collector of Bedford Streetis a 34-minute documentary about Alice's neighbor, Larry Selman, a community activist and a fundraiser who has an intellectual disability. It was screened over 70 film festivals, was shown on the cable channel Cinemax, and won 18 awards.


Elliott also hosted a screening of Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy at the Center for Multicultural Education.  As part of their ongoing activist efforts to demystify disability, Diana and Kathy invited Alice into their home over a period of five years to create their film, Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy.  The documentary was screened in a number of film festivals, and was shown on PBS in 2009.

For more information, see this feature story.