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May 1, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Long Story Short

Co-presented by The Standby Program. With Natalie Bookchin & Jill Godmilow.

Long Story Short explores the rise of poverty and income inequality in the US, using tools of the sharing economy to amplify the voices of those most displaced and dispossessed by it. While individuals filmed in separate spaces appear in isolation, trapped within their own video frames, mirroring the isolating aspects of the media forms it appropriates, words flow across the screen like a musical ensemble. This choral voice moves across a social body of common experiences and variations on shared themes, as narrators momentarily join together, and then splinter part. Through this process, shared experiences and commonalities among strangers are highlighted, instigating unexpected links, and stipulating connections between and among strangers, revealing that poverty, much like social media, is viral, iterative, part of a web of connected experiences.

It is through this modular and polyphonic compilation of short image fragments, condensed from a potentially limitless archive that Long Story Short aims to reveal patterns without using abstractions, establishing links within and across the many small, singular, and short stories that in their collectivity make up the ‘big picture’, yet without subordinating the small and the singular to the collective composition. In their conjunction, these many small frames of images and fragments of voices create something larger, and more akin to the social, than either each of the voices alone. In this way, Long Story Short offers a glimpse of a different notion of the social and the collective, distinct from that of social media, which appeals to the most precious of human values, that is solidarity and compassion, with all its possibilities and potential still to be realized.


– Cinéma du réel Grand Prize

– Second Prize, “Documentary Feature” 2016 Athens International Film +

Video Festival.

World premiered at Museum of Modern Art Doc Fortnight 2016


bookchinNatalie Bookchin is an artist whose work explores some of the far-reaching consequences of the digital on a range of spheres including aesthetics, labor, leisure, and political speech.

Her media works have received national and international acclaim and are exhibited and screened widely, including at LACMA, PS1, Mass MOCA, the Walker Art Center, the Pompidou Centre, MOCA Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum, the Tate, and Creative Time.

She has received numerous awards including from Creative Capital, California Arts Council, the Guggenheim, the Durfee Foundation, the Rockefeller, California Community Foundation, Daniel Langlois Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, a MacArthur Foundation Film Grant, and most recently a NYSCA Individual Artist award among others.

Bookchin was on the faculty of the Photography & Media Program at CalArts in Los Angeles from 1998–2015, chair and co-chair of the program for seven years. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is a professor of Media and Associate Chair in the Visual Arts Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.




THE STANDBY PROGRAM, INC. is a non-profit media arts service organization founded in 1983. Standby’s mission is to foster the creation and preservation of media art work by democratizing access to media technology, providing technical information and consultation, and creating resources which advance the development of the field as a whole. Standby provides artists and independent makers access to state-of-the-art media services at affordable rates. Standby is an innovative program that allows the arts community access to the resources of the private sector. The program operates out of several top-rated media post-production studios located in New York City. These facilities drastically discount their rates for Standby clients by as much as 25 -85% off list prices.


May 1, 2016
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

Summer Documentary Labs

Be challenged. Get inspired. Move your project forward leaps and bounds.  Join a select group of emerging filmmakers to think through every aspect of your work-in-progress in this tightly structured program.

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Work with UnionDocs

We’re hiring! Positions open for Director of Development, Grants
& Finance Manager, and Line Producer for our Carceral Screens & The Abolitionist Imagination Collaborative Studio.

Cop shows, prison films, and true crime docs have a long history of glorifying the criminal justice system, naturalizing its inherent violence, and narrowing the imaginative possibilities for abolition. 

In a new iteration of our Collaborative Studio, co-designed with esteemed experimental filmmaker Christopher Harris, we invite a collective to examine, contextualize and dismantle scripts of the carceral state from the archives of popular culture.