Dan Koehler ’12 receives elondocs Emerging Documentarian Award

The Elon alumnus and documentary filmmaker was honored on Oct. 18 during the screenings of two documentaries he helped create.

Connie Ledoux Book wasn’t the only person celebrated on Elon’s campus on Oct. 18.

Dan Koehler ’12 addresses audience members in Turner Theatre on Oct. 18. The Elon alumnus was presented with elondoc’s Emerging Documentarian Award, recognizing an Elon graduate excelling in the professional documentary field.
​On the same day the university hosted the inauguration ceremony for its ninth president, the elondocs production program also recognized one of its own: Dan Koehler ’12.

The Elon alumnus and documentary filmmaker was presented with the program’s Emerging Documentarian Award, recognizing an alumnus/alumna who has graduated in the last decade and is already excelling in the professional documentary field. The inaugural award was presented to Erin Barnett ’09 last fall.

In addition to an award ceremony, elondocs screened two documentaries Koehler helped create: “A House Without Snakes” and “American Carnage,” the third episode of “The Fourth Estate.” The latter is a docu-series about New York Times journalists chronicling the first year of the Trump administration. Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, the series captures some of the biggest stories of the year, ranging from Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser to the firing of James Comey as FBI director. Koehler is one of five credited editors on the docu-series.

Following the screenings, the Elon alumnus also participated in a Q&A session.

“We are so pleased to award Dan Koehler the elondocs Emerging Documentarian Award,” said Nicole Triche, associate professor in the School of Communications and elondocs faculty director. “Dan was an exemplary documentary student at Elon, and I was lucky to have him in class. He was awarded the Lumen Prize and the bronze Student Academy Award for his student films. While his work was lauded, he always remained humble and continued to strive to improve his filmmaking. This attitude and work ethic have served him well in his career where he now edits films for Academy-nominated documentarians in New York. He is a credit to Elon and to the School of Communications.”

Koehler (back row, far right) gathers with this year’s members of elondocs documentary program. 
​During his campus visit, Koehler spoke in four School of Communications classes and provided feedback to the school’s BFA and elondocs students on their current documentaries. “He is a model alumnus who shares his knowledge and experiences with our current students,” Triche added.

Since graduating in 2012, Koehler has been working extensively in documentary in New York. He also spent time in Botswana as a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow where he shot “A House Without Snakes.” The film is a coming-of-age story of two young Bushmen as they struggle to build their futures in the wake of their people’s relocation from their ancestral homeland. The film held its world premiere at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham.

Koehler’s recent works include co-editing the BAFTA-nominated documentary “City of Ghosts,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also edited “The Trade,” a doc-series that premiered at Sundance before airing on Showtime.

Following his Elon graduation, Koehler was part of the production team for “Point and Shoot,” an 88-minute documentary film directed by Marshall Curry that won best documentary at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

As an undergraduate student, Koehler directed, shoot and edited the award-winning short documentary “The Tobacco King,” which follows white Zimbabwean farmer George Botha’s efforts to cultivate a new life in Zambia after losing his home in Zimbabwe.

​Additionally, Koehler teamed with Liv Dubendorf ’12 to produce “Win or Lose,” a short documentary that was selected as the bronze winner in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards Documentary competition.