There’s a story you want to tell.
There’s an image you need to record.
You found a seed for a documentary.
Ready to dive in?
This is where you start.
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The UnionDocs Summer Documentary Intensive is a 5-week program for a select group of emerging filmmakers from the US and abroad. Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the program explores contemporary approaches to documentary film, offers a stronger understanding of the best practices and business of production, and helps to develop the foundation of your independent project.
The program consists of screenings, seminar discussions, professional development sessions, critique, mentorship, many guest artist and industry professionals master classes and weekly visits to relevant sites around New York City. The Summer Documentary Intensive exposes participants to a diverse set of creative documentary practices from around the world, encouraging experimentation and discovery. In many ways, it is a condensed version of the guidance available to fellows in our Collaborative Studio. Drawing inspiration from the worlds of art, anthropology and activism, it should not be mistaken for an industrial, journalistic, or traditional documentary training. In an article in The New York Times, film scholar Scott MacDonald, remarked, “UnionDocs has a healthy sense that the older definitions of what constitutes ‘experimental’ cinema and what constitutes ‘documentary’ are up for grabs.”
Twelve to fourteen applicants are selected for the program on the basis of their past experience and the strength of a current documentary proposal or concept. Previous work in documentary is not required, but a demonstrated commitment to independent creative work is necessary. Through the Intensive, participants work to develop their ideas, formulate practical plans, learn technical skills, and assemble a package of descriptive materials that will help them pursue further support for their project. Mentorship as well as critique by instructors, participants, and guests artists cultivate the proposals in safe yet serious environment.
We bring together an exciting international group, and this peer interaction is a big asset to the program. Up to six participants will have the option to stay in the UnionDocs residency, an affordable and convenient housing option for international or out of town guests. Regular readings and assignments for seminars stimulate creativity, open discussion and debate, and offer a common set of references for the group. Participants will engage in writing a treatment and fundraising proposal for their project and edit a sample trailer to begin seeking potential funders and producers. A formal pitching session and a proposal evaluation are the final results of the five week experience.
The Brooklyn Rail summed it up with the title of their feature article: “UnionDocs Brings Auteurs Together”. For some, participation in the program may lead to the development and completion of a documentary. For others, it may lead to independent projects, collaborations or strengthened careers within the industry. For all, it is an unparalleled immersion in the expansive field of documentary art.
|Monday – Thursday||10am – 5pm||Seminars, meetings, and screenings.|
The Summer Documentary Intensive is a five-week program with full day commitments Monday-Thursday. In addition to the meeting schedule above, expect five independent hours each week of work towards proposal writing or trailer editing and five hours of assigned watching and reading. Outings in the city on Fridays are half-days.
|Monday||Film Screening, Seminar.||Professional Development Session|
|Tuesday||Film Screening, Guest Masterclass||Professional Development Session|
|Wednesday||Film Screening, Seminar.||Professional Development Session|
|Thursday||Film Screening, Guest Masterclass||Professional Development Session|
Application Fee $15
Program fees are $2800, payable in two parts:
These fees have been set up to be as a low as possible, while also providing for a meaningful experience in a well-organized environment. UnionDocs is a small independent non-profit organization that has grown from grassroots. We do not have an endowment, nor institutional affiliation, so we rely on these fees to help with the program’s operating costs. We strive to deliver a lot more for participants than they would expect to get paying for a single course at university.
$300 / week includes common charges (electricity, heating, gas, water and high speed internet as well as bi-monthly cleaning).
A deposit of $300 required at time of contract to be refunded upon move-out.
All requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director of UnionDocs. The refund policy for participants enrolled in the Summer Intensive is as follows: