Filmmaker Carrie Lozano Named Commencement Keynote

March 26, 2024

Carrie Lozano

Award-winning documentary filmmaker and media executive Carrie Lozano (’05) will speak at Berkeley Journalism’s 2024 Commencement on Saturday, May 11, at North Gate Hall in Berkeley, Calif.

Lozano, an alum and former instructor of documentary filmmaking at the school, is now the president and CEO of ITVS, which co-produces independent films for PBS and produces the acclaimed series “Independent Lens.”

“Carrie is a role model in so many ways,” said Dean Geeta Anand. “She’s not only a pioneering filmmaker, she’s a bridge builder who supports, inspires and lifts up fellow journalists to produce groundbreaking work. We’re so grateful she is willing to share her wisdom as we send off our extraordinary students.”

Lozano expressed her deep excitement to celebrate the Class of 2024.

“It’s an honor! I’m pinching myself. Who me? And also, oh oh, I have a deadline! I love nonfiction storytelling in all its forms, and I love the J-School and its alumni, those that came before and after my class,” Lozano said.

“They constantly amaze me. Berkeley graduates are not just incredible reporters, but they break ground and innovate and seed new ideas,” she said.

Berkeley Journalism’s ceremony will also feature Professor Jennifer Redfearn, Lecturer Jenn Kahn and student speakers Jeremiah Rhodes and Tarini Mehta.

Lozano has spent two decades making her own films and paving the way for fellow filmmakers. She directed the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film and Artist Programs, which serves hundreds of filmmakers annually. She previously launched and directed the International Documentary Association’s (IDA’s) Enterprise Documentary Fund, which provides funding and professional development, and led BAVC Media’s MediaMaker Fellowship.

Carrie Lozano pictured with her documentary film students on commencement day in front of the North Gate at UC Berkeley.

Lozano produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Weather Underground,” in 2004, about a group of former student radicals who used violent tactics in the struggle against racism and the Vietnam War during the 1970s. Alum Sam Green (’93) was the producer/director.

Lozano’s 2016 documentary “The Ballad of Fred Hersch,” is a portrait of an acclaimed jazz musician who was the first to come out as gay and HIV-positive in the early 1990s.

She’s also a teacher, who lectured in Berkeley Journalism’s documentary program. She continues to be deeply involved with the school, serving on the school’s Advisory Board and mentoring students and alums.

This year, Lozano won UC Berkeley’s the Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award.

Upon winning the award, Lozano said: “I almost can’t process this, but I feel it is my opportunity to say thank you to the university. Were it not for Berkeley, we would not be having this conversation. It really did change the course of my life.”

Carrie Lozano pictured with her mentor Jon Else in the courtyard of North Gate Hall.

Lozano was the first in her family to go to a university. She came to Berkeley as an undergraduate and later chose Berkeley Journalism over other leading programs for her master’s degree. She said studying under renowned filmmaker Jon Else, who directed Berkeley Journalism’s storied documentary film program for nearly two decades, was “the gift of a lifetime.”

What insights will Lozano share with students who are about to enter the field?

“Journalism is not for the faint of heart, but the big hearted,” she said. “I hope to remind graduates it’s worth it, even in its toughest moments.”


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