Giovanna Chesler

Giovanna Chesler

Giovanna Chesler

Associate Professor

documentary film, fiction film directing, transmedia, social issue media production

Giovanna Chesler is Associate Professor and Program Director of Film and Video Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Professor Chesler directs documentary and narrative films addressing themes of the body, sexuality, and gender. Their films have been exhibited at over 120 film festivals worldwide and in museums and gallery spaces including Anthology Film Archives, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum, New Orleans International Film Festival, Outfest, Frameline, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, and more. Their new short fiction films include The Pick Up (2018, 10 min) about a teenager who learns more about her mother on a car ride home that is currently screening at film festivals and Java (2017, 11 min) about an artist’s obsession with a coffee addict. Recently, Chesler worked as Associate Producer and Co-Editor on Zeinabu irene Davis' feature documentary Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from UCLA which was awarded Best Diaspora Documentary at the African Academy Awards and Best Documentary – Jury and Audience at Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia. Giovanna produced the POV / ITVS funded documentary feature Out in the Night (dorosh-walther, 2015) which won fifteen awards and launched the United Nations’ Free + Equal film campaign in 70 countries. As a Producer, Chesler was selected to participate in the Film Independent Artist Development Program Fast Track and has been recognized by Women In Film and Video-DC as one of 30 women directors to watch.

Their scholarship focuses on sound, documentary and community engaged learning. They teach courses in fiction directing and screenwriting and transmedia and interactive storytelling

They earned an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State (Most Distinguished Graduate) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in Anthropology (with Highest Distinction) and a minor in Women’s Studies.

Grants and Fellowships

Jury Award, Best Documentary - Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Audience Award, Best Documentary - Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Audience Award, Best Documentary - ReelQ Pittsburgh Film Festival
Jury Prize, Special Jury Prize Courage in Storytelling, ImageOut Rochester

Courses Taught

COMM 399: Transmedia and Social Change (offered in Fall 2014)
COMM 366: Visual Communication
COMM 655: Theories of Visual Communicaiton

Recent Presentations

Virginia Film Festival, screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, November 2014
Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, October 2014
New Orleans Film Festival screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, October 2014
Word Rock and Sword, screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, September 2014
Envision,
United Nations screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, July 2014
Outfest, Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, July 2014
Los Angeles International Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Frameline, San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Deerfield Progressive Forum, Deerfield Beach, FL with OUT IN THE NIGHT, March 2014
Chair, STEM+Culture at STEM+Women conference, GMU, March 2014
Transgender representation in Orange is the New Black, GMU, March 2014
Docs in Progress Decade of Docs, Feb 2014

In the Media

"Professor's Film Examines Infamous New York Crime Case" George Mason University News, June 30 2014

 "Bold Doc Explores Black Lesbians' Right to Self-Defense" IndieWire, June 17 2014

"A Few Potential Oscar Contenders from the LA Film Festival" LA Magazine June 2014

"Out in the Night: The Case of the New Jersey 4" Pop Matters June 19 2014