IDA Conversation Series: Sheila Nevins

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Ray Stark Family Theatre (SCA)
900 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089

The International Documentary Association (IDA) and USC School of Cinematic Arts invite you and a guest to attend

IDA Conversation Series: Sheila Nevins (moderated by Rory Kennedy)

Join us for a very special edition of the IDA Conversation Series, co-presented by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, as we traverse the unwavering career of the legendary HBO Executive Producer Sheila Nevins. The afternoon event will feature a clips program and lively conversation with Academy Award® nominated and Emmy Award® winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, along with Sheila reading excerpts from her new book of essays “You Don’t Look Your Age … and Other Fairy Tales”.

As one of the most influential figures in the history of documentary filmmaking, Sheila Nevins has been at the helm of HBO Documentary Films for over three decades and has overseen the production of over 1,000 documentaries. In her iconic and eclectic career as the “Queen of Documentary” Sheila has received 32 Primetime Emmys®, 34 News and Documentary Emmys®, and 42 Peabody Awards for projects such as Taxicab ConfessionsThe Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert DurstGoing Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. During Sheila’s reign, HBO has gone on to win 26 Academy Awards® for groundbreaking films such as CitizenfourMusic By PrudenceBorn Into Brothels, and Educating Peter. With Sheila’s leadership, guidance, and “boring thermometer” HBO has not only produced one of the most impressive catalogues in documentary programming but has also served as a springboard in launching the careers of filmmakers across several genres.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to delve into the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories that illuminate both Sheila’s career and the art of documentary. Ample time for Q&A will be included in the program.


About the Guests

SHEILA NEVINS (President, HBO Documentary Films)

Sheila Nevins is president, HBO Documentary Films, for Home Box Office, responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax. She was named to this position in February 2004.

As an executive producer or producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 34 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards. During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries have gone on to win 26 Academy Awards®, the most recently of which was “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” in 2016. Other Oscar® winners include “Citizenfour” (2015), “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” (2015), “Saving Face” (2012), “Strangers No More” (2011), “Music By Prudence (2010), “Smile Pinki” (2009), “The Blood of Yingzhou District” (2007), “Born Into Brothels” (2005), “Chernobyl Heart” (2004), “Murder on a Sunday Morning” (2002), “King Gimp” (2000), “One Survivor Remembers” (1996), “I Am a Promise” (1994), “Educating Peter” (1993) and “You Don’t Have To Die” (1989). The series “Cinemax Reel Life” has featured a number of award-winning documentaries including “Big Mama,” winner of the 2001 Academy Award® for Best Short Subject, “The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years” (1999) and “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien,” an Oscar® winner in 1997.

Nevins has been honored with several prestigious career achievement awards including, most recently, the 2009 Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and was made an NYU Tisch School of the Arts Honoree. She is also the recipient of a 2008 Gotham Awards Tribute; a 2005 Emmy® Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the art of the documentary, the first time the National Television Academy awarded a Lifetime Achievement recognition to a documentarian; and a Personal Peabody in 1999 in recognition of her work and ongoing commitment to excellence. In 2003, Women in Film presented Nevins with a Lucy Award for her outstanding achievements in advancing documentary filmmaking. In 2002, the National Board of Review presented her with the Humanitarian Award for her contribution to the advancement of social reforms and the promotion of human welfare through film. In 2000, Nevins was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, and in 1998 she garnered the IDA Career Achievement Award and the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award for Outstanding Vision & Achievement.

Nevins was named vice president, Documentary and Family Programming in 1985; appointed senior vice president, Original Programming, in 1995; and promoted to executive vice president, Original Programming, in 1999. She has supervised the production of more than 1,000 documentary programs for HBO, and won the first George Foster Peabody Award ever presented to a cable program for “She’s Nobody’s Baby,” which was produced with Ms. Magazine.

Nevins is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nevins holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University School of Drama in Directing.


RORY KENNEDY (Academy Award®-nominated & Emmy Award-winning filmmaker)

One of the nation’s most prolific independent documentary filmmakers, Academy Award® nominated & Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Rory Kennedy has produced an impressive body of work confronting some of the world’s most pressing social concerns, including poverty, political corruption, domestic abuse, drug addiction, human rights, HIV/AIDS and mental illness. Winner of numerous awards, Kennedy has produced, directed and/ or written more than 30 celebrated documentaries and her films have appeared on HBO, PBS, lifetime Television, A&E, Court TV, The Oxygen Network and TLC. Her most recent project is Academy Award® nominated Last Days in Vietnam, which debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and went into wide theatrical release in the fall of 2014. She is best known for Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and more recently, Ethel, which chronicled the extraordinary life story of her mother Ethel Kennedy.


Check-In & Reservations

This event is free of charge. Doors will open at 12:30 P.M. All SCA events are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.



The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Ave. We recommend Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Event Type

Arts, Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus




Free with RSVP

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