'Driving the Green Book' Selected for Film Independent's Docuseries Workshop

Angeline Dimambro
October 08, 2021

Driving the Green Book, a documentary project produced by alumni Mike De Caro '12 and Saro Varjabedian '13, was selected to participate in Film Independent's Docuseries Intensive workshop.

Driving the Green Book follows an author and his young students as they take an enlightening road trip across America looking for locations once listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book while also discovering new spaces and facets of Black culture.

Serving as producer alongside De Caro and Varjabedian on the project is Alvin Hall, a broadcaster, author, and educator. Hall’s podcast series, Driving the Green Book, won an Ambie Award for Best History Podcast of 2021.

De Caro, Varjabedian, and Hall are among the 21 participants selected by Film Independent’s Artist Development for the 2021 Docuseries Intensive. This year also marks the second annual iteration of the initiative. The workshop includes a three-day remote workshop that gives the selected filmmakers the tools and access needed to develop and present their nonfiction series to potential collaborators. Among the 2021 Docuseries Intensive creative advisors and guest speakers is Columbia University Professor and Creative Producing Concentration Head Maureen A. Ryan (Dick Johnson is DeadBecomingMan on Wire).

The Docuseries Intensive is supported by Founding Sponsor CNN Original Series, the brand behind such award-winning nonfiction series as Anthony Bourdain: Parts UnknownUnited Shades of America, and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. Each filmmaking team will also receive a $3,500 stipend courtesy of CNN Original Series.

“Building on the success of last year’s program, we have selected ten diverse and talented teams bringing their specific points of view to a wide range of subjects,” says Daniel Cardone, Artist Development Associate, “From African American healthcare and police corruption, to economic inequity and the ongoing shockwaves of the AIDS epidemic.”

After graduating in History at the University of Rome, Mike De Caro embraced cinema and came to America where he studied Film at Columbia University. He directed and produced several narrative and documentary projects that had the privilege to screen in prestigious festivals like SXSW, Slamdance, Telluride, Aspen and more. Today, De Caro leads New Heritage Films, a production company and arts organization based in Harlem focused on making projects about the empowerment of minorities and overcoming socioeconomic injustice in America.

Saro Varjabedian is an award-winning filmmaker. As a cinematographer, he has photographed several feature films and documentaries, including Me To Play, which screened at the 2021 Slamdance film festival. In 2018, he was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 2018 Lebanese Movie Awards for his work on The Traveler. As a director, he has directed five short films, a feature film, and a TV pilot. His first narrative feature, Respite, is currently available on most VOD platforms. Varjabedian is a Columbia MFA graduate and has taught cinematography and directing at New York Film Academy.