Fellows Friday News: David Felix Sutcliffe Wins Emmy Award, Fatu Gayflor and Tokay Tomah Star in New Documentary, Remembering Elaine Hoffman Watts

27 Oct 2017


Fatu Gayflor, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Tiona Nekkia McClodden, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Elaine Hoffman Watts in concert. Photo by James Wasserman.


David Felix Suttcliffe. Photo by Adachi Pimentel.


Tokay Tomah, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Julia Bloch at Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Matthew Mitchell, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

This month’s Pew Fellows news sees national awards for filmmaking and nonfiction writing, new music and film releases, and we remember the late klezmer musician Elaine Hoffman Watts.

National Awards

Filmmaker David Felix Sutcliffe’s (2017) film (T)ERROR, the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation, won the “Outstanding Investigative Documentary” award from the 38th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Read more>>

Author Jay Kirk (2005) received a 2017 Creative Nonfiction Grant from the Whiting Awards to complete his book Avoid the Day, which the foundation describes as “a courageous experiment in hypersubjectivity.” Read more>>

New Works in Music, Film, Exhibitions

Liberian vocalists Fatu Gayflor (2014) and Tokay Tomah (2016) are featured in the new documentary Because of the War, produced by the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The film follows members of the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change as they use music to strengthen immigrant communities in Philadelphia. Read more>>

Filmmaker and visual artist Tiona McClodden (2016) has work on view in two exhibitions: the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia’s group exhibition Speech/Acts (through December 23); and KILO Iba Se 99 at Exposition Gemeente in Amsterdam (through November 17). Read more>>

Musician and composer Bhob Rainey (2013) released his first solo electronic album From null lands led, starrily on October 2 through the label Anòmia. Read more>>

On October 10, poet Julia Bloch (2017) led a panel discussion on race, aesthetics, and form, held in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia’s Speech/Acts exhibition. Read more>>

In The News

The Wall Street Journal reviewed composer Matthew Mitchell’s (2012) new jazz album A Pouting Grimace, writing that Mitchell “makes some of the most interesting and complex music on the New York jazz scene." Read more>>

Theater artist Dito van Reigersberg (2002) is currently starring in 1812 Production’s one-man show Buyer & Cellar. In a review, The Philadelphia Inquirer called van Reigersberg’s performance “utterly compelling.” Read more>>

The New York Times’ T Magazine invited visual artist Alex Da Corte (2012) to create an artwork in under one hour using only newspapers, tape, scissors, glue, and black spray paint. Watch the video>>

Visual artist Leroy Johnson (2014) was featured on WHYY’s television show “Articulate with Jim Cotter,” where he discussed his decades-long artistic practice and recent commission for the Philadelphia International Airport. Watch the video>>


Elaine Hoffman Watts in concert. Photo by James Wasserman.

In Memoriam

Elaine Hoffman Watts (2000) passed away on September 25. A celebrated percussionist and treasured mentor, Watts was known for bringing an authentic and refined approach to klezmer, a centuries-old form of Eastern European Jewish folk music. The first female percussionist to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1954, Watts performed with the New Orleans Symphony and Delaware Symphony, before returning to the Philadelphia area to build a sixty-year career as an instructor, klezmer timpanist, and classical drummer. She was the recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award. We extend our condolences to Elaine’s family, friends, and colleagues. Read Watts' obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer>>