Producer Sara Archambault Joins Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, Heading New Initiative On “Documentary Film In The Public Interest”

EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning documentary producer and film programmer Sara Archambault is joining the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. As the newly-named Documentary Film Project Manager, Archambault will oversee a new initiative on documentary film in the public interest.

“The initiative will engage with scholars, filmmakers, journalists, and industry leaders around the major questions facing the documentary film industry today,” according to a release announcing Archambault’s appointment, “and will include activities such as fellowships, screenings, convenings, and new prizes.”

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Archambault’s most recent producing credits include Riotsville, U.S.A. and A Decent Home, both from 2022, as well as the upcoming Richland. She previously spent a decade as the program director of the LEF Foundation in Cambridge, Mass., and nine years as founder/programmer of the Brattle Theatre’s The DocYard film series. In 2019, the Boston Society of Film Critics awarded her a special commendation for her “tremendous contributions to Boston’s film community.”

Among her other accomplishments, Archambault is a 2020 Impact Partners Producing Fellow, a 2013 Sundance Creative Producers Lab Fellow and was named the 2020 SF DocFest Vanguard Awardee. She is an active member of the Documentary Producers Alliance and a board member of The Flaherty.

“Sara’s deep knowledge of the documentary film space from many angles makes her the perfect person to help build the infrastructure of this new endeavor at the Shorenstein Center,” said center director Nancy Gibbs, who envisioned and initiated the project.

“We have seen such massive change in the documentary film industry over just the past 10 years,” Archambault said in a statement. “From the vast expansion of the form’s popularity to major shifts in our documentary support organizations, even changes to how these films are financed, crafted and seen – everyone has been feeling the shift in real time with limited space and resources for reflection, study, and thinking together about building intentional ways forward. It feels like a perfect moment to be at a place as rigorous and thoughtful as the Shorenstein Center to support this work.”

The Shorenstein Center was stablished in 1986 to study the intersections of the press and politics and bring working journalists to the Kennedy School. The center “has broadened its mission over the past decade to study the challenges, threats, and opportunities in the modern information ecosystem. With this strategic focus in mind, the Shorenstein Center is now expanding its work to examine issues facing documentary film’s practice, industry, and role in civic life in this moment of growing engagement with the form.”

In addition to leading the Shorenstein Center, Nancy Gibbs is the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is the former editor in chief of Time magazine. 

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