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DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts teams with HBO and ‘Vice’ for visiting artists event

March 3 program to feature ‘Vice’ documentary, panel discussion

CHICAGO -- A new HBO “Vice” documentary, “Trans Youth,” which follows the story of transgender children, their families and doctors as they ponder the medical transition process before puberty begins, will make its Chicago premiere at DePaul University as part of the Visiting Artists Series hosted by the School of Cinematic Arts and the Master of Fine Arts in Documentary.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is set for 5:30 p.m. March 3 at DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media theater, 247 S. State St. Lower Level.

Entering its fifth season on HBO in 2017, “Vice” is an Emmy-winning documentary series produced by Vice founder Shane Smith. It covers the world and hits on areas of interest such as culture, science, technology and politics.

The 30-minute documentary “Trans Youth” is hosted by Emmy-nominated correspondent Gianna Toboni. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with five-time Emmy winner and supervising producer of “Vice” Beverly Chase and JP Olsen, an HBO production executive, moderated by Susanne Suffredin, a producer, director and editor who teaches at the School of Cinematic Arts.

Bringing HBO and “Vice” to the DePaul campus is the brainchild of Brian Zahm, a producer, director and screenwriter who teaches at the university. He pitched DePaul’s Vincentian mission to HBO and “Vice” when inviting them to Chicago.

“One of the powers of documentaries is that they give a voice to people who might not necessarily have one,” said Zahm. “’Vice’ does a great job of bringing different social causes and concerns to light. ‘Trans Youth’ is a timely and politically sensitive issue as well. ‘Vice’ doing something on transgender youth and the realities of what these children have to go through, the decisions they have to make, is important.”

Olsen is a production executive for HBO. He oversees the “Vice” documentary series and “Vice News Tonight.” Prior to HBO, he worked as a writer and director with The New York Times and PBS. He is also the co-author of the book, “The Narcotic Farm.” Olsen is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Columbia University, where he’s an adjunct professor.

“I believe it’s one of the best documentaries that HBO’s ‘Vice’ has ever done and that’s part of the reason I’m excited to show it at DePaul,” said Olsen. “It’s an outstanding example of really good filmmaking about a difficult and controversial subject. ‘Vice’ gives a voice to people and subjects that typically are marginalized. At the same time, I believe it does it in a way that is open-minded and tries to look at the subject from different points of view.”

Chase is the supervising producer for “Vice.” Before coming to “Vice” in 2015, she worked for NBC News where her work received the 2014 DuPont Award, five national Emmys, three Murrow awards and a Peabody Award. Chase is a graduate of Boston University.

DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts Visiting Artists Series was founded in 2008 as an educational and community outreach program with the goal of bringing innovative practitioners and industry leaders to campus. More information is at

The DePaul Master of Fine Arts in Documentary was created in 2015 to provide aspiring documentary filmmakers with a program that integrates knowledge of documentary history, styles and traditions, research and development, and varied approaches to storytelling and production with the technological aspects that develop strong production values, effective post-production, and the ability to take creative work to its audiences. More information is at


Brian Zahm

Media Contact:
Russell Dorn