Thursday, February 20, 2020
Debra K. Tolchinsky’s P'20 in-process documentary examines false memory and false internalized belief within criminal justice: an eyewitness misidentifies their assailant, a detective elicits a false but incriminating statement, and a suspect becomes convinced they committed a violent crime that they did not commit. Springboarding off her project, Tolchinsky, a documentarian and associate professor in the department of Radio-TV-Film at Northwestern University, will discuss how memory and belief can become contaminated in the process of a criminal investigation. She will also share her related New York Times Op-Doc, Contaminated Memories, and touch upon the ways documentary film itself acts as a contaminant.
Debra Tolchinsky P'20 is a documentary director/producer, as well as an associate professor at Northwestern University. Tolchinsky was the founding director of Northwestern's MFA in documentary media and is currently the associate chair of the department of Radio-TV-Film. Tolchinsky received an AB from USC's School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her films have screened nationally and internationally at venues such as the Sundance Film Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center, The Chicago International Film Festival, FIPAdoc, The Italy Innocence Project, and the Supreme Court Institute. In 2017, Tolchinsky garnered an Alice B. Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Fellowship; in 2018, she won a Kartemquin Partner Program Sage Fund grant, and in 2019 she was included on NewCity's Film 50: Chicago's Screen Gems. Most recently, the New York Times released her short documentary, Contaminated Memories, via Op-Docs. Tolchinsky's in-process feature, True Memories and Other Falsehoods, is currently in development with Kartemquin Films.
Content warning: This talk will include a detailed account of a sexual assault.