Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Oct 30, 2015 at 12:00 am – Nov 1, 2015 at 12:00 am

BRANDED DOCUMENTARIES: An Intensive 3-day Seminar on Creative Content


An Intensive 3-day Seminar on Creative Content

From DamNation – photo by Ben Knight

This seminar is a theoretical and practical intensive course designed for documentary filmmakers and media artists looking to develop their skill sets in the emerging field of branded content. Branded videos are on the rise! Clients are looking to engage with their customers through creative collaborations. Filmmakers are using this new form of patronage to finance their own works.

Designed by UnionDocs in partnership with Mathilde Walker-Billaud, the seminar will explore new business models in the media and entertainment industry. It will offer technical tools and strategies for working with clients while developing and maintaining a creative voice.

This seminar will bring together five guest instructors who are thinkers and practitioners from different disciplines: producers, marketers and strategists, entrepreneurs and filmmakers. The goal is to expose a small group (the audience is limited to 14 students) to a broad range of creative approaches to branded documentary, including audience engagement, online and cultural marketing, branded and creative content, fundraising strategy, digital innovation and film production/distribution.

Film producer, entrepreneur and writer Brian Newman will lead the seminar.


When: Friday, October 30th to Sunday, November 1st, 10:00am – 5pm

Where: UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Who is eligible?

Open to the public. We are looking for producers, marketers and filmmakers interested in branded content. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in films and a project idea (if you have one), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required.

Please note: Participants *will not* be producing a piece during the week. Focus is on discussion. The goal is also to develop your personal project conceptually.



Please note that the service charge is waived if payment is made via check.

Checks can be made out to UnionDocs and mailed to 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

Technology Requirements:

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

Each day will explore one topic with one or two guest instructors:

Friday – The filmmaker as an artist-entrepreneur

The first day of the seminar looks in-depth at the ways we produce and distribute films today. How best to use both the internet and the film industry at the same time? How innovative is the branded documentary model?


AM: Brian Newman

PM: Kenyatta Cheese

Saturday – New strategies for brands

The second day of the intensive focuses on content and cultural marketing. How do the brands implement successful marketing campaign and generate audience engagement with the help of artists and filmmakers?


AM: Adam Katz

PM: Karol Martesko-Fenster (cinelan.com)

Sunday – The final cut

The third day explores the creative execution of branded content. What is the impact of brands on the process?


AM: Trish Dalton

PM: Final presentation, critique and discussion of individual projects

 Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:

10:00a    Warm up, inspiring references, exercises and film training.

10:30a    Presentation by guest speaker

11:45a    Discussion

12:30p    Share / Discussion / Exercise

1:00p      Lunch (on your own)

2:00p      Presentation by guest speaker

3:15p      Discussion

4:00p      Workshop Exercise and Critique

5:00p      End


daltonTrish Dalton is an independent director/producer, currently working on projects at her production company Lucky Cat Pictures. Her first feature, ONE NIGHT STAND, directed with Elisabeth Sperling, was released theatrically in over 450 theaters in North America by Fathom and  Front Row events. The film also aired on OVATION in the spring of 2013. It won the audience award from Newfest and was called  “Engaging” by Hollywood Reporter, “Joyous and heartfelt” by Indiewire, and “wonderfully hilarious” by LA Times.

Her short documentary, SOUTHMOST U.S.A., about Brownsville, Texas, a community separated by the US/Mexican border fence, premiered in film festivals in 2013.  It has won awards from USA film Festival, Cine las Americas, and Worldfest-Houston.

Thanks to generous support from New York State Council on the Arts, Trish recently completed BORDERING ON TREASON, a personal retrospective of America’s war with Iraq told though the eyes of photojournalist, Lorna Tychostup.

Trish began her film career in 1999, when she moved from Toronto to New York to study film at New York University. While there, she volunteered and worked for a number of film collectives and organizations, including: The 5th Night, Paper Tiger TV, United Nations Global Action Project, Reel Sweet Betty, DCTV, and the Indy Media Center. In 2001, Trish formed ‘Ohms Media Collective’ along with other socially conscious filmmakers to combine her love of storytelling with her dedication to social activism.  She launched the ongoing “Park Slope Coop Screening series” in 2004, showcasing Brooklyn documentaries. Trish is an active member of NYWIFT, IFP, Shooting People, and is sponsored by Women Make Movies.

Many of her documentaries have been used as tools for social change.  For example, BREAKING THE SILENCE, was made in collaboration with Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), as an advocacy tool for the organization to share the voices of commercially sexually exploited youth for legal and financial aid.  Similarly, FARM SANCTUARY, was made in collaboration with the organization upstate New York that rescues animals in danger, was used to raise awareness about animal cruelty.

In addition to making documentaries, Trish has been directing and producing commercial, branded, and educational content for a wide range of International organizations and companies, including: Capital One Spark, Amazon, Kashi, Danskin, About.com, Beiersdorf, Pepsi, Nike, illy, Cole Haan, Cossette, and IDEO.   She also production managed the National Geographic television series, ‘Fight Science’.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DhkjDTvWWE”]


Brian Newman is the founder of Sub-Genre, a consulting company focusing on developing and implementing new business models for film and new media. Current clients include: Patagonia, developing film strategies, including distribution and marketing for the feature documentaryDamNation; Sundance Institute on a film data project; and several filmmakers on fundraising, distribution and marketing.

Brian is also the producer of Love & Taxes a narrative feature in post from Jake and Josh Kornbluth, and executive producer, Shored Up a documentary feature by Ben Kalina. Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, president of Renew Media and executive director of IMAGE Film & Video. Brian is chair of the board of Rooftop Films, and serves on the board of Muse Film & Television. He authored “Inventing the Future of the Arts: Seven Digital Trends that Present Challenges and Opportunities for Success in the Cultural Sector” for the book 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. He was born in North Carolina and has an MA in Film Studies from Emory University.



Kenyatta Cheese

Kenyatta Cheese is a professional internet enthusiast best known for co-creating the web series and internet meme database Know Your Meme. He built interesting things at Rocketboom, Unmediated, the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, Screensaversgroup, and Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Nowadays he is Creative Director at Everybody at Once, a consultancy dedicated to audience development for media, entertainment, and sports.



unnamedAdam Katz, President and Co-Founder of Imprint Projects, a creative agency that develops innovative brand platforms for marketing and communications.

Adam is a brand consultant, cultural programmer and entrepreneur. He strives to develop new business models that encourage arts patronage and community engagement.  In addition to his brand campaign portfolio (Google Play, Levi’s, Moog Music Sonos, Virgin), Adam’s professional background includes work in art museums, contemporary galleries and non-profit arts organizations.  Adam holds a degree in Art Semiotics from Brown University. He has organized and led countless workshops and classes, including stints managing The Public School in Los Angeles and New York.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKWNl0ZsH_U”]

Martesko-FensterKarol Martesko-Fenster
is an Austrian-born American entrepreneur and media industry innovator with broad motion picture, broadcast, publishing, event, and Internet backgrounds and his career spans over two decades including leadership in the American independent film industry.

He is a special consultant on Kevin Kerslake’s AS I AM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DJ AM, Avi Lewis’ THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING and Jon Long’s THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM and the producer of Thomas Wirthensohn’s 2015 DOCNYC Grand Jury Award winning HOMME LESS. Karol is an Executive Producer on Amy Benson’s DRAWING THE TIGER, Daniel McCabe’s THIS IS CONGO, Phil Cox’s THE LOVE HOTEL and THE BENGALI DETECTIVE, Noel Dernesch & Moritz Springer’s 2013 Zurich Film Festival Audience Award winning JOURNEY TO JAH, Havana Marking’s SMASH & GRAB: THE STORY OF THE PINK PANTHERS, James Allen Smith’s FLOORED, and Dean Budnick’s WETLANDS PRESERVED.  He was the Production Executive on Emmett Malloy’s 2013 Grammy Award winning BIG EASY EXPRESS and Harry Belafonte’s 2012 NAACP Image Award winning SING YOUR SONG and Executive Producer of Danfung Dennis’s 2012 Academy Award Nominee HELL AND BACK AGAIN.

Karol is a Managing Partner of Cinelan and Thought Engine | Media Group and collaborates closely with Abramorama and Gull Gotham.  Hewas the President of Film & Media for Michael Cohl’s S2BN Entertainment Corporation, SVP of Film & Animation at Babel Networks, and Head of Film at Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures. He has produced over 25 television and satellite broadcast music programs and he co-founded FILMMAKER Magazine, RES Magazine, and the media content enterprises indiewire.com, hackateerventures.com,conditionone.com and cinelan.com.

Way back when Karol was a Coordinating Producer for PBS & WNET’s Great Performances Music Division and Market Director for the breakout 1989 Independent Feature Film Market and in 1990, as the Executive Director of the IFP, he restructured the organization and co-initiated the inaugural Gotham Awards.

[su_vimeo url=”https://www.vimeo.com/107520721″]


Workshop Policies:

Registration & Cancellation To register for a workshop, participants must pay in full via PayPal. After the registration deadline of October 13th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be cancelled. Participants will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, participants are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.


Oct 30, 2015 at 12:00 am
Nov 1, 2015 at 12:00 am

Support UnionDocs’ next phase and new building by becoming a member

Peek in the window of our bustling building in NYC and tune into the ideas and energy bubbling up from the UNDO Center.

Tune into cutting-edge, powerful and poetic documentary programs and connect to conversations with the artists and thinkers passing through.

Now available at the Apple Store.



Unlimited access to all of our monthly offerings for the price of two espressos.



Keep it simple and save. Unlimited access to our sweet offerings for a reduced, annual fee and receive some added benefits.



In the neighborhood, a working artist, student or senior? This membership is for you. Fill out a quick form for a discount code to an annual membership.



Get all of the benefits of the Annual UNDO Membership plus an annual subscription to UnionDocs Editions, a set of publications, merchandise or special objects.

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

UnionDocs is hiring. 

Join the UnionDocs team.

Pod Pod 2023 Group 02

Pod Pod is now accepting applications.
Apply today!

Calling all AUDIO MAKERS looking for a bit of motivation, peer support, collective production and a dose of inspiration for your personal project —  join us for 3 months this Fall!