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Feb 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm – Feb 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm


This workshop will be led by Yance Ford

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After many decades on the fringe of documentary, personal filmmaking is now muddying the waters of the genre in exciting ways, and up-ending documentary’s sacred tenets of truth-telling and objectivity. Despite persistent cultural prejudices against personal work, we can also see an equally powerful fascination with private lives and intimate subjects.

This weekend intensive draws on a growing, complex landscape of personal films, beginning from the premise that there is no single way to tell a personal story. We will spend two days unpacking a multitude of possible approaches to personal filmmaking, and tackling crucial questions around this thorny cousin of documentary film. Does ‘personal’ always mean autobiographical? How does a filmmaker avoid the pitfalls of narcissism—or indulge in it productively? What are the ethics of working with subjects (both people and stories) that are ‘close to home’? Is personal work incompatible with politics-with-a-capital-P filmmaking, and can personal films have wide-ranging social impact? How do we deal with personal archives, and what can we do creatively with them?

Participants will learn from three talented professional practitioners, artists, thinkers and filmmakers, using their past projects as key examples for discussion. Together we will explore key ideas that range from intimate filmmaking, autobiography, artisanal storytelling, ethics, private archives, social and political engagement and more. Through lectures, group discussions, short exercises and work-in-progress critique, participants will be encouraged to put this new knowledge into practice.

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


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, Feb 2, – 2:30 - 5:30p


Saturday, Feb 3 – 10:00a - 5:00p


Sunday, Feb 4 – 10:00a - 5:00p


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


Feb 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm
Feb 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States
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