Terri Sarris

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Terri Sarris

Senior Lecturer
Associate Chair

Office Location(s): 6433 North Quad
Office Hours: Fall 2015: Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.;
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m-12:00 p.m.;
and by appointment
Phone: 734.764.5388
Make an advising appointment
Terri Sarris' Web Page

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Department of Dance, School of Music, Theater, and Dance
  • Fields of Study
    • Television production
    • Screendance (Dance on Camera)
    • Documentary production, theory, and history
    • Experimental film and video production, theory, and history
    • Narrative and experimental narrative screenwriting
    • Media education and outreach
  • About

    Terri Sarris has been an award-winning media artist and educator for the past two decades. Her creative work often focuses on the lives of artists. Buzzards Steal Your Picnic, her documentary profile of Frank Pahl (a Detroit composer and creator of self-playing musical automatons whom Nate Cavalieri of the Detroit Metro Times described as "a one-man quirk force....with the passion of a melodically-obsessed Willy Wonka"), was awarded "Best Michigan Film" at both the 2007 Detroit International Documentary Festival and the 2008 Ann Arbor Film Festival. The Radiant Sun, her documentary portrait of the Michigan modernist textile designer Ruth Adler Schnee, screened at the Palazzo Mocenigo in Venice, Italy, during the Venice Bienalle in spring 2011 and at the “Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America” symposium at Cranbrook, June 2013. Terri is currently at work on several short films shot on Super 8 and 16mm.

    Sarris has also been involved in outreach initiatives centered on media literacy and production and was selected by the UM National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) as a faculty fellow for 2007-08 in connection with UM alum Sultan Sharrief, a community practitioner at the Center. Sarris and Sharrief developed the "EFEX Project" (Encouraging the Filmmaking Experience), which began in Spring 2006 as a spring course in community filmmaking and with the summer production of the feature film Bilal's Stand, written and directed by Sharrief. Bilal's Stand, which she co-produced, was one of eight films selected for screening in the <NEXT> category at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. The film was awarded a “Crystal Heart” Award at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and has screened nationally an internationally both at festivals and in connection with outreach events centered on higher education.

    Sarris has served as a juror and film moderator at the Traverse City Film Festival and in 2013 was a guest curator for the Echo Park Film Center’s “Marvelous Movie Mondays” on-line series. She is also a member of "Little Bang Theory," a musical trio that plays film scores and original music on toys. “LBT” performed an original toy score with Benshi Kataoka Ichiro to Ozu’s silent masterpiece I Was Born, But…, at the Michigan Theater in Fall 2012 and as the opening event of the Detroit Film Theater’s 2013 season. LBT will be accompanying an evening of Ladislaw Starewich animations at the Detroit Film Theater and at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, in late 2013.

    Recent Courses Taught

    SAC 290: Introduction to Television, Video, and Film Production

    SAC 302: Television Studio Production 1

    SAC 402: Situation Comedy: “From Studio Multi-Camera to Single-Camera Comedy Verite”

    SAC 404: Collaborations In Media Production: Screendance

    SAC 423: Television Sketch Comedy

  • Education
    • MA, University of Michigan, 1983
    • BS, Michigan State University, 1978
  • Awards
    • Crystal Heart Award – Bilal’s Stand – Heartland Film Festival (2010)
    • Sundance Film Festival - Bilal’s Stand selected for the category of low and no budget feature films (2010)
    • Cynosure Screenwriting Contest Quarterfinalist (2010)
    • Best Michigan Film - Buzzards Steal Your Picnic - Ann Arbor Film Festival (2008)
    • Best Michigan Film - Buzzards Steal Your Picnic - Detroit Docs International Film Festival (2007)
  • Grants
    • Graham Foundation Grant (2012)
    • Institute for Research on Women and Gender Finishing Grant (2012)
    • Center For Research on Learning and Teaching Professional Development Grants (2012)
  • Selected Publications:
  • Creative Works