Senior Year follows the lives and stories of 15 kids through their last year at Fairfax High School, the most diverse high school in Los Angeles and a microcosm for an emerging culture in urban America that crosses, blurs and merges ethnic boundaries. Because of their closeness in age –and a 45-week production schedule– the filmmakers and students developed close, ongoing relationships that translate into an entertaining, informative and challenging series. Senior Year follows the ups and downs of this pivotal year in these and other students’ lives, with all the humor and drama that inevitably accompanies living on the fulcrum between teenage life and the adult world they face.
“The Band,” David Zeiger’s second film, aired on the PBS award winning series P.O.V. in June of 1998. The film, a tribute to his son’s generation, has screened at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam and the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles, and was awarded “Best Documentary” and “Best of Show” at the Central Florida Film Festival and a Bronze Apple at the National Educational Film and Video Competition. The film recently aired on the French/German network La Sept ARTE.
David Zeiger’s first film, “Displaced in the New South,” produced and directed with Eric Mofford, aired in the United States on PBS, including the Through the Lens series, in 1996 – and on The Discovery Channel International in 1997. That film, which looks at life in and around Atlanta from the point of view of Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants, is the only film to be awarded a Regional Designation Award from the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad. Festival screenings include the Chicago Latino, Cine Acción Latino, South by Southwest and San Francisco Asian American Film Festival. It has also aired internationally on NBC-Asia and SBS-TV in Australia, and received awards from the Latin American Studies Association and National Educational Film and Video Competition. “Displaced in the New South” was the inspiration for the Indigo Girls’ single “Shame on You”, featured on their 1997 release “Shaming of the Sun.” David Zeiger was awarded the Atlanta Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts in 1997 for his work and was named “Best Filmmaker in Atlanta” that same year by Atlanta’s entertainment weekly, “Creative Loafing.”
Award-winning writer Aaron Zarrow worked as Associate Producer for Executive Producer Steven Spielberg on “The Last Days,” the 1998 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature.
Mr. Zarrow began his career in Boston at WGBH’s documentary series “NOVA,” and subsequently at Interlock Media, a nonprofit production and training organization. Upon returning to his hometown of Los Angeles, he joined Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, where he co-wrote their promotional “Behind-the-Scenes” video hosted by Ben Kingsley, and coordinated their two-time Emmy Award, CableACE, and Peabody Award -winning documentary “Survivors of the Holocaust,” which aired on Turner Networks in the US & globally on CNN.
In 1997, Mr. Zarrow supervised the post-production of “The Lost Children of Berlin,” a documentary produced by the Shoah Foundation in association with actress/producer Sally Field’s Fogwood Films. Narrated and hosted by Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, the program aired on A & E and the BBC. He co-edited the companion book for “The Last Days,” which is currently in bookstores in America and the UK with European editions available in German, French and Hungarian.
Eric S. Mofford
After ten years of writing and directing in Atlanta, Georgia, Eric S. Mofford moved to Los Angeles in 1994. The award winning writer has directed and produced projects for Disney Interactive, Saban Entertainment, The Discovery Channel, A & E Networks, PBS, and the United Way. He has worked as an Assistant Director in television and on over 30 feature films. Mr. Mofford has taught numerous media workshops and been a panelist on funding councils and film festival seminars. He is a proud member of the DGA. More information available at www.ericmofford.com.
After taking a year off from UCLA’s prestigious MFA Production Program to serve as Unit Director/ Videographer on the PBS series “Senior Year,” Jerry Henry went on to work for famed documentary filmmaker Mel Stuart as a Unit Director/Videographer on “Voices,” (a poignant look at African Americans and their roles in the family structure, their communities and society). This past summer, he shot a documentary for “Urgent Africa” in Kenya that chronicles the opening of an aids clinic for orphans with HIV/AIDS. He is currently preparing to shoot his MFA thesis that will explore the realms of digital filmmaking and digital special effects.
Brian Harris Krinsky
Brian Harris Krinsky began working in 1993 at the foreign news desks of ABC News and the Associated Press in Moscow, Russia where he produced news stories for international broadcasts. In 1998, he received a MFA in the director’s program from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television. At USC, he was selected to direct the documentary short, “The Perfect Candidates,” which looks at three individuals maneuvering through the Los Angeles Police Department’s recruitment process. In the summer of 1998, Krinsky returned to Russia to work on “Bezprizorniki (The Undesirables),” a documentary profiling homeless children in Russia, which garnered a student Emmy in 2001, 2nd place at the College Academy TV Awards 2000 and screened at the Cannes 2000 film festival, AFI 2000 film festival and Slamdance 2000 film festival.
He has also written and produced numerous one-hour documentaries on subjects ranging from nuclear smuggling to the New Orleans Mafia. Most recently, Krinsky wrote and produced “The Ultimate 10… Explosions” for The Learning Channel. In addition, Krinsky has written numerous feature length screenplays.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Maria Murillo started making films at San Francisco’s Film Arts Foundation. She returned to her native Los Angeles to attend the prestigious MFA program for Directors at UCLA’s School of Film and Television. After working as Unit Director and Videographer on “Senior Year”, Ms. Murillo continues to make both narrative and documentary films and is currently in post production on “Baile del Diavolo (Dance of the Devil)”, a feature documentary film that examines the creative process of the Diavolo Dance Theater under its Artistic Director, Jacques Heim. At the same time, Ms. Murillo is in pre-production with her short film “Near So Far”, the story of a woman journeying to the afterlife and the sister and legacy she leaves behind. Ms. Murillo has been the recipient of numerous awards for her films, “period.”, “Un Sueno de Michoacan (A Dream of Michoacan)” and “Baile del Diavolo” including the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund and The Jim Morrison Award among others. Her work has been seen in festivals, on television and in cultural institutions, internationally.
Dawn Suggs received a B.A. with Honors from Brown University. Her work on the film “I Never Danced the Way Girls Were Supposed To” (PBS) garnered her the Special Merit Award from the Black Media Consortium in 1992. Afterwards, Dawn joined UCLA’s MFA Film program, where she produced “She Left the Script Behind,” a critique of representations of Black women in western film. The following summer, she produced and directed a safe sex video for The AIDS Prevention Team in Los Angeles and went on to direct the multiple award-winning “Firefly” (1996). Dawn is putting the finishing touches on “Family Riffs,” her feature documentary portraying the struggles and triumphs of an African American family in the Midwest, with grants from the Colin Higgins Foundation, Frameline, The Pacific Pioneer Fund, The Donnet Foundation, Astrea, the Institute of American Cultures and others. Her latest work, “Punk Out,” is a narrative feature in pre-production which she penned and looks forward to directing.
Rachel Wapnick produced and directed the award winning documentary “My Friend Jenny: Portrait of an Addict”. Rachel currently studies documentary at UCLA’s department of film and television, where she was recently awarded a grant to complete her senior thesis. Rachel loves her cats and her sister and is ecstatic to tell stories through documentary.
Ken Ravitz and Judy Orel Ravitz
Judy & Ken Ravitz head Outreach Extensions, (OE) a national consulting firm which specializes in creating innovative educational and community outreach campaigns for the communications industry. Winner of the 1999 PBS Eddie Award for “best parent & teacher information on a kid’s site,” Media Award for Urban Outreach Model by CPB, PBS Advertising Award for Hispanic Heritage, the PTOA Outreach Award for Black History Moments, PBS Outreach Promotion Award as well as numerous community and educational awards, OE continues to design and implement customized award-winning initiatives. Prior to founding OE in 1992, Judy was Outreach Director at KCET/Los Angeles public television, and as a sociology professor, she also consulted on a number of television and film projects. Ken was an elementary school teacher and learning disability specialist. The Ravitz team brings both academic and community-based experience to the community empowerment-media campaigns OE represents. Both graduated from Fairfax High School and wondered what and who they would become as adults.
Created, Directed and Produced by
Unit Directors / Videographers
Brian Harris Krinsky
Maria Teresa Murillo
Rachel Tessa Wapnick
Editor (Eps. 1-2)
Co-Editors (Eps. 3-13)
Associate Editor (Ep 1&2)
Time Lapse Photography
Sound Editor & Re-Recording Mixer
Sound Editor (Eps. 5-13)
Re-Recording Mixer (Eps. 5-13)
Laser Pacific Media Corporation
Production Office Assistant
Ken Ravitz & Judy Ravitz
Original Music Score
Reg E. Gaines & Bill Lee
The Hush Project
Title Song “Sueos en Realidad”
Amy B. Management
Title Song Video Producer
Title Song Director of Photography
Jimmy Jib Operator
Young Sun Kim
KCET Production Executive
KCET Executive in Charge
Artists Network of Refuse and Resist
Very Special Thanks to:
The Students, Faculty, Staff, and Families of Fairfax High School
This program was produced by Displaced Films which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2002 Displaced Films
All Rights Reserved
Produced in Association with Fiscal Sponsor Greenway Arts Alliance
Presented in Association with KCET Hollywood
DVD copies for this program are currently unavailable.