Sheila Curran Bernard

Sheila Curran Bernard
Master Classes
Documentary Storytelling
Visiting Lecturer and Adviser (2017)

Sheila Curran Bernard is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer and filmmaker with credits on nearly 50 hours of broadcast and theatrical programming. She produced, directed and wrote two films for the acclaimed civil rights history, Eyes on the Prize, and co-produced two films for the PBS series The Ring of Truth, featuring the work of astrophysicist and educator Philip Morrison and executive produced by Michael Ambrosino, creator of Nova. She was the series writer for the six-hour prime time series I’ll Make Me a World, and writer of the four-hour prime time series School: The Story of American Public Education.

More recently, Bernard wrote the feature documentary Slavery by Another Name, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas A. Blackmon. Also currently in distribution are two projects on which she consulted: Jerusalem, filmed for IMAX and giant screen theaters; and Inside Story, a science-based dramatic feature produced by Discovery Learning Alliance and Quizzical Pictures, with a consortium of government and non-government agencies, as the centerpiece of a media-based HIV/AIDS education endeavor targeting sub-Saharan Africa. She was a script consultant on the IMAX film Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France, an exploration of the human brain.

Bernard is the author of Documentary Storytelling, a pioneering work on the use of dramatic storytelling tools to strengthen nonfiction media. Now in its fourth edition, the book has been translated into Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Polish and Japanese. With Kenn Rabin, she is also the author of Archival Storytelling, a look at the challenges media makers face in finding and licensing third-party visuals and music. She has led master classes in documentary storytelling in Poland, Norway, Belgium, and the United States. She’s been a juror for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Sheffield DocFest, Camerimage, and others, and has reviewed funding proposals for agencies including the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has been honored with residencies at the MacDowell Colony for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In 2016, she was awarded a prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Playwriting/Screenwriting, as well as its Geri Ashur Screenwriting Award.

Bernard holds a B.S. in Communication, magna cum laude, from Boston University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. In 2005, she spent a semester as the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies at Princeton University. Since 2008 she's been a faculty member at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she is an associate professor in the Department of History and the Documentary Studies Program and director of the Graduate Program in Public History. She is a recipient of the University’s President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities and the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2016-17).


Call for Application to the 2021-2023 (tenth) edition is closed.

The next call will open in October 2021.

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DOC NOMADS Erasmus Mundus Masters Course is aimed to students from all over the world with a BA degree in Film Studies, in Arts or in Media Communication studies.

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The DOC NOMADS EMMC has three full partners and enjoys the backing of 19 European and non-European associated members.

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