Can we generate a public space for a better conversation around documentary film?
ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES, a UnionDocs Break ꩜ut co-curated with programmer Cíntia Gil, is a monthly sequence of interlocking events— online film programs and study groups, along with physical screenings and public dialogues— bringing a diverse, international audience on a journey to many places and new contexts, welcoming many different films, voices, ideas and visions. Along the way, it makes room for brave questions and candid responses to challenging documentary art, and invites the voices of the audience to the stage of a public dialogue.
This traveling project is an experiment in building an inclusive international community in partnership with some of the most exciting documentary events and spaces around the world. It will start online on the 30th of July, and then physically on the 9th of August at Dokufest, the wonderful festival in Prizren. After that, it will happen monthly — online and in places like Open City Documentary Festival (London), FICValdivia (Chile), RIDM (Montreal), TIDF (Taiwan), and others that will be announced later. We will screen singular films that open questions about the possibility of collective transformation, about forms and practices of togetherness, and speak to filmmakers and authors that bring those notions into the core of their own artistic interrogations. Read about the second program, IT HAS TO FEEL REAL, here.
It’s all about spiraling together, being generous with our differences, and finding a shared focus, through reading, listening and responding in small, self-organized groups that together form a larger collective experience that can exist both in the World Wide Web and in the embracing darkness of a nearby cinema.
Besim Sahatçiu’s 117 (1976) part of August ’22 UNDO Study Group with DokuFest
Sign Up! A few ways to join…
Open City [London]
Schedule [UTC -5]
William Greaves’ In the Company of Men (1969) part of August ’22 UNDO Study Group with Open City Docs
How it Works
If you are joining the Study Group, you’ll receive extra resources and context to help stoke new ideas and understandings
After watching and reviewing, we’ll gather together with the Study Group to share epiphanies, exchange knowledge, debate and contribute together to form a collective video essay. The group as a whole is invited to add their voices and perspectives to the public dialogue.
We’ll bring your ideas from the Study Group back to the invited artists and writers for a conversation that foregrounds your inquiries from the larger collective to explore these topics as a community.
What is a study group?
It’s a kind of grassroots book club, but for documentary art, focused on sharing ideas, urgent issues, and inventive approaches. We’ll stream cutting edge, powerful and poetic features and shorts, pulling out trenchant examples from deep in the archive or resonant works from recent years. It’s all about sparking discussion and deeper investigation, through reading, listening and responding in small, self-organized groups that together form a larger collective experience.
Co-Programmer, Cíntia Gil
Born in Portugal, Cíntia Gil is a film programmer. She studied at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (Lisbon Theatre and Film School) and holds a degree in Philosophy from the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto (Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Porto), where she has also taught seminars on aesthetics. She directed DocLisboa Film Festival from 2012-2019 and Sheffield Doc Fest from 2019-2021.
UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art
UnionDocs is a Center for Documentary Art that presents, produces, publishes, and educates. We lead a diverse community on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.
Everything can be accessed online! But if you are nearby we encourage you to attend screenings IRL on the ground with our partners, with many programs also available live at UnionDocs.
Each month there will be 3 moments of coming together: a Film Program, a Study Group, and a Dialogue and almost all can be attended on your own time and schedule. You can participate in one or all of these moments of convening. SIGN UP to choose your engagement.
Memberships have a 30 day trial so your first time participating is totally free. If you enjoy your experience, we ask you to pay $7/month for these three programs next time in addition to the other perks and work available to UNDO members. It’s a pretty great deal!
We all know how the work that challenges us most is sometimes the most difficult to watch on your own; that was pretty much the impetus for starting our little cinema. Not only is it hard to locate physically, the motivation and mental energy required to watch can be tough to muster without a shared commitment of attention. That’s why we are organizing this social way of watching together with lots of resources to help us approach the relevant questions and meaningful insights that these films have to offer.