Department of Communication Studies

The Clohesy Documentary Film Series

Clohesy Film Series Logo

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

lucy walker

Rescheduled for Sept. 29-30, 2014:  Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is a British film director who has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. Her films include feature documentaries The Crash Reel (2013), Waste Land (2010), Countdown to Zero (2010), Blindsight (2006), Devil's Playground (2002) and short films, notably The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011) and The Lion's Mouth Opens (2014). Her films have also been nominated for seven Emmys, an Independent Spirit and a Gotham Award and have won over eighty other film awards.

Lucy 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.

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 Street is 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.



William and Stephanie Clohesy


At the inaugural screening of the William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series on Oct. 24, 2011, series director David O'Shields introduced the Clohesy's with these comments:

It’s been my desire for a long time to create a documentary film series here at the university and to bring America’s most prominent, most important filmmakers to our community to talk and screen their work.Stephanie and Bill Clohesy

With the support and assistance of Dr. Chris Martin and the Communication Studies department, we have created this film series and named it in honor of my dear friends Bill and Stephanie Clohesy.  

Bill and Stephanie came into my life in the spring of 1996.  Since that time, they have honored me with their hospitability, their kindness, their generosity -- and their love.  Bill and Stephanie have supported my work as a filmmaker with advice, the sharing of keen wisdom and even by opening their respective checkbooks on multiple occasions.  Their friendship and generosity has impacted my life in ways they may not understand, but I would not be here tonight, continuing my pursuit of documentary filmmaking in this community, if not for that friendship.  The Clohesy’s have shown me by example, that one can live in a small Midwestern college town and live a life of the mind in pursuit of excellence and outcome on the national stage.

Bill Clohesy is a prominent and internationally respected philosopher -- a world-class scholar here at UNI.  Stephanie Clohesy is a scholar in her own right, a fierce and prominent advocate for social justice, equality and women’s rights.  She runs a very successful philanthropic consultation business here in Cedar Falls; her client list reads like a Who’s Who of American movers and shakers. 

Bill and Stephanie give generously of their time and treasure supporting all manner of causes here in the Cedar Valley and beyond.  They are both responsible for a thousand acts of kindness and good deeds.  And as my friend Ann Eastman has remarked, “they do it when no one is looking.”

All of us who live and work in Iowa are leading richer, more rewarding lives because of the Clohesy’s.  And the recognition we offer tonight is long overdue.  It is my sincere hope that the William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series continues on well into the future as a vibrant testament to these two remarkable human beings.   Thank you Bill and Stephanie.


The series is sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa Department of Communication Studies, the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, numerous Friends of the Series, and directed by Documentary Filmmaker-in-Residence and Adjunct Instructor David O’Shields.