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Mar 16, 2018 at 10:00 am – Mar 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

The ‘I’ does not exist alone: EXPANDED PERSONAL FILMMAKING

This workshop will be led by Yance Ford

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

Please sign up for the waitlist below to receive updates regarding any openings or similar future opportunities.

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“The ‘I’ does not exist alone, but always with ‘another.'” – Jean-Luc Nancy

Documentary, as an art-form, has long been held to standards that rely on a journalistic commitment to objectivity. Personal filmmaking betrays this facade, challenging the common notion of records, archive, truth, and memory to expand the definition of documentary in groundbreaking, productive and even socially impactful ways. A necessary shift in public discourse has allowed artists, writers and scholars to foreground personal experience as something of value. Centering this subjectivity reminds us that the I does not exist alone: reframing narratives from new angles, making room to question history as it has been told, and allowing us to hear the stories that are often sidelined.

This weekend intensive explores personal documentary in all its forms: from mining the archive for an overlooked truth to a playful self-examination into the depths of narcissism and everything in-between. How can first-person filmmaking bring the “I” to everyone? Lead instructor Yance Ford, with guests Ja’Tovia Gary, Caveh Zahedi and Remy Weber will explore these themes through lectures, group discussions, short exercises and work-in-progress critique.

This workshop will be across three days; please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule.

This workshop was originally created and led in December 2015 by Cecilia Aldarondo (Memories of a Penitent Heart).


Open to everyone. We are looking for filmmakers, media artists, writers, professors, and producers.

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 filmmaking practice 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 are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Focus is on discussions, observation and storytelling. The goal is to develop your project conceptually.

$295 early bird registration by January 8th, 2018 at 5PM.

$350 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until January 8th. After January 8th, the fee is non-refundable.

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.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of January 8th, 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 canceled. Students 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, students 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.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, March 16 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Yance Ford

PM: Work-in-Progress Feedback

Saturday, March 17th – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Ja’Tovia Gary

PM: Caveh Zahedi

Sunday, March 18 – 10:00a - 3:00p

AM: Lynne Sachs

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


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training.


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Yance Ford is a Sundance Institute Fellow, a Creative Capital Grantee and featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A graduate of Hamilton College and the Production Workshop at Third World Newsreel, he is a former series producer of the PBS anthology series POV.  The Root 100 recently named Ford among the most influential African Americans of 2017 and in December the International Documentary Association will present him with their Emerging Filmmaker Award

Ja’Tovia Gary is a filmmaker and visual artist originally from Dallas, Texas, currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She is the recipient of the Sundance Documentary Fund Production Grant and the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant. Gary participated in the Terra Foundation of American Art 2016 summer artist fellowship and is the 2017 artist in residence at the Jacob Burns Film Center. She earned her MFA in Social Documentary Filmmaking from a private for profit college in New York City. Her work has screened at festivals, cinemas, and institutions worldwide including Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, The Whitney Museum, Anthology Film Archives, Atlanta Film Festival, the Schomburg Center, MoMa PS1, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, New Orleans Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and elsewhere. Recently, Gary was recently named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Filmmaking by Filmmaker Magazine.

Caveh Zahedi’s films include A Little Stiff (1991), I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Anymore (1994), In The Bathtub of the World (2001), I Am A Sex Addict (2006), and The Sheik and I (2012).  He is the writer and director of The Show About The Show (2016-2018), and is currently also working on a TV show called How To Overthrow The US Government.

Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project.  Her five essay films took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Recently, after 25 years of making experimental documentaries, Sachs learned something that turned her filmmaking upside down. While working on Your Day is My Night (2013) in NYC’s Chinatown, she saw that her subjects were performing for her rather than revealing something completely honest about their lives. The process of recording guaranteed that some aspect of the project would be artificial. This moved Sachs toward a new type of filmmaking — she invited her subjects to become her collaborators — to work with her to make the film about their lives.

Sachs has made over 25 films, supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts.  Her films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and other venues nationally and internationally.

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Mar 16, 2018 at 10:00 am
Mar 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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