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Feb 16, 2018 at 10:00 am – Feb 18, 2018 at 6:00 pm

For Shorts’ Sake

An intensive dedicated to and about short form storytelling with Farihah Zaman (Field of Vision)

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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This weekend intensive will explore the multi-faceted nature of shorts. Participants will look at the variety of shorts, the way these films are made, produced and distributed today, and the role they play in filmmakers’ creative careers. Traditionally, shorts are considered a stepping stone to making a feature film, but they also have their own set of exciting possibilities. Often more affordable, short films can take more risks, be more experimental, and cover stories that can’t be told otherwise, sometimes reaching large audiences online. The course will also cover the development of multi-format, episodic documentaries and the growth of on-demand viewing, online platforms, and new intersections between journalism and film production.

Led by Farihah Zaman (Field of Vision), this seminar brings together several guest speakers, thinkers and practitioners from different backgrounds—filmmakers, producers and film programmers. Participants will learn from these top leaders of the film and media industries and receive direct feedback to their questions and personal projects.

This theoretical and practical weekend intensive is designed for a small group of professionals (15 people maximum) and will expose participants to a broad range of analysis and creative approaches to contemporary practice of short filmmaking.

Over the course of the weekend, we will cover the creative processes of filmmaking and producing shorts, aesthetics and storytelling techniques, the specific modes of funding and circulation for shorts, the development of multimedia, multi format and episodic documentaries and more.

Participants will also hear more about on-demand viewing, online platforms and the new intersections between journalism and film production. This workshop is two and half days; please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule.


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, film producers, journalists, curators and media artists.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. After you register we will contact you for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience and a film project (it would be great if you have a project in progress that you would present to the group during the work-in-progress critique sessions), plus a bio.

$295 early bird registration by January 29th, 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 16th. After January 16th, 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 16th, 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 16 – 10:00am - 6:00p

AM: Introduction + Presentation
Instructor: Farihah Zaman

PM: Platforms for Short Films
Instructor: Emily Buder (The Atlantic)

Saturday, Feb 17 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Research for Short Documentary
Instructor: Sheelagh McNeill

PM: Making your first film and working with archival materials
Instructor: Sierra Pettengill

Sunday, Feb 18 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Producing and Directing Your Short Doc
Instructor: Geeta Gandhbir

PM: Programming and Public Relations
Instructors: Aliza Ma + Dana Vladimir (Metrograph)

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


Farihah Zaman is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, critic, and programmer who is currently the Production Manager for Field of Vision. She began working in the industry as the Acquisitions Manager for indie film distribution company Magnolia Pictures in 2006. Her first feature film is the award-winning documentary Remote Area Medical, followed by the short Kombit (2014 Sundance Film Festival) and second feature This Time Next Year (2014 Tribeca Film Festival). She currently writes for Reverse Shot, Huffington Post, Film Comment, and The A.V. Club, among others.

Sheelagh McNeill is Research Editor at The Intercept. She has nearly 20 years research experience in a variety of roles held at ABC News, ProPublica and most recently the New York Times. She covers all beats from breaking news to investigative international stories. At the New York Times her research supported front page investigations into European countries funding Al Qaeda by paying ransom for the release of hostages, and a deep look at former Islamic State prisoners. While at the New York Times she was lead researcher on award-winning stories as diverse as the privatization of prisons in New Jersey and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Sheelagh has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, and has worked as a researcher on several books including Barbara Walter’s book, “Audition.”

Sierra Pettengill is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and archivist. Town Hall, her feature-length documentary, broadcast nationally on PBS in 2014. She is the producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Cutie and the Boxer, which also won the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival 2013 and a 2015 News and Doc Emmy. Most recently, she was the archivist on Jim Jarmusch’s Gimme Danger (Cannes ’16), Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women (New York Film Festival ’16), and Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine (Sundance ’16) amongst many others. Most recently she co-directed and produced the all-archival documentary The Reagan Show (Tribeca Film Festival ’16).

Geeta Gandbhir has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and has won two. As editor, films have been nominated twice for the Academy Award, winning once, and have also won three Peabody Awards. Most recently, a feature documentary she produced with Perri Peltz and directed with Academy Award Winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, “A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers” premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently co-directing and co-producing a “Conversation” series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs, and she co-directed and edited the film, “Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr.” with Perri Peltz for HBO.

Aliza Ma is the Head of Programming at Metrograph. Before that, she was the Museum of the Moving Image’s assistant film curator.

Dana Vladimir is the Head of Special Events at Metrograph. She has previously worked at Magnolia Pictures.

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Feb 16, 2018 at 10:00 am
Feb 18, 2018 at 6:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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