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UnionDocs: Documentary Shooting and Directing

Documentary filmmakers produce and shoot in a wide variety of locations under many different practical, financial, technical and legal constraints. What kind of equipment do you need? Who do you need on your production team? How do you deal with emergencies during shooting, and how do you pick out a camera and DP? Should you be thinking of archival material in advance? 

Upcoming In-Person Workshop Dates

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Location: TBD

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Kauffman_150Ross Kauffman
 is the director, producer, cinematographer, and coeditor of Born into Brothels, winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary and more than 40 other awards, including one for best documentary from the National Board of Review and the Sundance Film Festival 2004 documentary Audience Award. He also executive-produced In a Dream, shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Kaufmann’s latest feature E-Team (co-directed by Kate Chevigny) had it’s World Premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Cinematography Award in the U.S. Documentary category.

MalikaZouhaliWorrall_headshot_300_NEWMalika Zouhali-Worrall is the co-director and producer of Call Me Kuchu, which depicts the last year in the life of the first openly gay man in Uganda, David Kato. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary and the Cinema Fairbindet Prize. It has since won 18 more awards—including Best International Feature at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Malika one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Most recently she co-directed a series of short documentaries for Human Rights Watch.

HEINZERLING_150Zachary Heinzerling’s debut feature, Cutie and the Boxer, was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. The film received three 2014 Cinema Eye Honors, for Outstanding Debut Feature, Outstanding Original Score, and Outstanding Visual Effects. Zachary was the recipient of the 2013 International Documentary Association’s Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award, which recognizes the achievements of a filmmaker who has made a significant impact at the beginning of his or her career in documentary film. Most recently he directed Self-Titled, a five-part web series for Beyoncé Knowles-Carters newest album.

For more information on the presenters, visit UnionDocs.org

A nuts-and-bolts professional development series designed for the beginning or intermediate documentary filmmaker, Documentary Fundamentals @ UnionDocs is a six-week course culminating in a certificate of completion. Registrants can also attend individual sessions. This curriculum developed out of our experience hearing what fundamentals documentarians need to understand to plan, produce, and release an independent documentary today.

Hosted by the Cutie and the Boxer (2013) team, Documentary Fundamentals is essential learning for the documentary filmmaker, covering business basics, fundraising and financing, production and post-production strategies, transmedia campaigns, sales and distribution models.  Each session features guest speakers sharing tips and secrets of the trade, with an emphasis on real-life case studies and best practices.  Full guest speaker list to be announced.

Documentary Fundamentals is designed for beginning or intermediate filmmakers with projects in any stage of development or production (even the daydreaming stage!).  Sessions combine formal presentations with extensive time for in-depth discussions with participants.

Registrants completing all six sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion, and will have special opportunities to promote their projects within the UnionDocs network.  Specific guests and topics are subject to change. Doors will open at 7:15 and we will being each session promptly at 7:30pm.

Cutie and the Boxer
A reflection on love, sacrifice, and the creative spirit, this candid New York documentary explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of renowned “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife Noriko. As a rowdy, confrontational young artist in Tokyo, Ushio seemed destined for fame, but he is met with little commercial success after he moves to New York City in 1969, seeking international recognition. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio—abandoning her education to become the unruly artist’s wife and assistant. Over the course of their marriage, their roles shifted. Now 80, Ushio still struggles to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art—a series of drawings entitled “Cutie,” depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.

4/27 | Planning Your Documentary – featuring producer Tom Davis (SeeThink) and attorney Karen Shatzkin, hosted by Producer Sierra Pettengill.

5/4 | Financing Your Documentary – featuring José Rodriguez (Tribeca Film Institute), John T. Trigonis (Indiegogo) and CPA Fred Siegel, hosted by Producer Sierra Pettengill.

5/16 | Directing and Shooting Your Documentary – featuring Oscar-winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman, award-winning filmmaker Malika Zouhali-Worrall, hosted by Director Zachary Heinzerling.

NOTE: This session will be hosted by AbelCine in Manhattan (609 Greenwhich Street)

5/18 | Editing Your Documentary – featuring editor David Teague (The Brooklyn Vitagraph Company), Will Cox (Final Frame), hosted by Director Zachary Heinzerling.

6/1 | Graphics, Music, and Your Transmedia Campaign – featuring graphic designer Teddy Blanks (CHIPS) and musician T. Griffin,  hosted by Director Zachary Heinzerling

NOTE: At 5pm before this session Macktez will present a special free planning bootcamp workshop as a supplement to the series, featuring Noah Landow and Reed Payne.

6/8 | Releasing Your Documentary – featuring programmer Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop Films), hosted by Producer Sierra Pettengill.