Beth Levison

BA, Middlebury College. An Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Levison has worked in film and television for more than two decades and is the founder of Hazel Pictures, LLC. She is also a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA), a former producing faculty member with the School of Visual Arts MFA program in social documentary film, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Levison is a producer of The Martha Mitchell Effect, a 40-minute film that premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and will launch on Netflix in June 2022. She is also the director—alongside cinematographer Jerry Risius—and producer of Storm Lake, which was nominated for a 2021 Peabody Award, shortlisted by the International Documentary Association as one of the best films of the year, and broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens series. Levison has produced many other award-winning, feature-length documentaries, including: Women in Blue, Made in Boise, Personal Statement, The Trials of Spring, and Lemon—which she also codirected. Prior to her work in independent film, she was a producer for HBO, the Sundance Channel, and THIRTEEN/WNET’s “EGG the arts show,” which received a 2002 Peabody Award, four 2002 National Emmy Awards, and five 2001 New York Emmy Awards. Levison is an author of Best Practices in Documentary Crediting, published by the Documentary Producers Alliance, and Documentary Producers Alliance Unveils Crediting Guidelines. She has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism; the Sundance Collab; Hunter College, Integrated Media Arts MFA program; Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Lab; and An-Najah National University, Nablus, West Bank. SLC, 2022–

Undergraduate Courses 2022-2023

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Producing for Film and Television

Open, Large seminar—Fall

In film, while significant attention is inevitably paid to the director and his/her vision, the actualization of any project—whether it be documentary, fiction, or hybrid—rests in the ability of the producer to realize and even enhance a director’s vision all the way from development through distribution. The job of the producer is to support a project’s creative direction and to make the project happen on schedule, on budget, within legal compliance, and toward the desired educational, distribution, impact, or even commercial goals of the film. The producer’s job is also to ensure a production environment that is informed and dictated by inclusive, safe, and ethical practices. In an ideal scenario, the director and producer work hand-in-hand, constantly weighing creative concerns against producing realities. Producing for Film and Television is a foundational course, designed to ground students in the fundamentals of the producing craft. The course will be organized around a semester-long project—the execution of a proposal (treatment, rough schedule, and budget) for a short film. In this way, students will experience firsthand the role of the producer through the development stage of a project—from the germ of an idea to its research, development, and final proposal presentation and pitch. While students will experience producing firsthand as it relates to their own project, instruction will extend the applicability of lessons learned to best filmmaking practices and include recent and current examples or conversations underway in the US film industry. Watching, screening, and analyzing films from a producing lens will be an ongoing aspect of the course. Although the “hard skills” of producing are the core of this class—budgeting, scheduling, and fundraising—the softer skills of producing in terms of team building, clear communications, and time management will be ongoing themes, as will issues of accountability, inclusion, safety, and representation. Ultimately, the producer is accountable to many people: the subjects of your film and the people with whom you work, including funders, executive producers, distributors, and others. An understanding of a whole panoply of skills are paramount to the role of producer, to your success in this class, and to your future as a filmmaker if that is your focus. This class is being taught in person on the College campus. Conferences will be held in small groups.

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