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May 11, 2018 at 10:00 am – May 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Assembling Reality

Led by Caspar Stracke with Shambhavi Kaul, Keith Sanborn, Francisco Bello and Quentin Chiappetta

When developing a film project, we encounter cases in which the inclusion of written or spoken language as a guiding principle for imagery might become inevitable. Is there a way to organize images in a way that they comment on themselves? And how does audio fit into this interplay? How do you avoid the pitfalls of a didactic documentary while still communicating clearly? Learn to manipulate montage and the particular associative qualities of sound, image, and text to support your artistic vision!

ASSEMBLING REALITY will explore this triangular relationship, by looking at how filmmakers can organize and assemble material of different mediums, and from different sources to an effective and poetic end. The nature of ‘montage’ will be investigated in a broader sense over the course of three days. Starting with assembling from macro to micro, horizontal to vertical, to an overall structural analysis to editing within a single frame, guest instructors will walk participants through this thought process in their own work.

We will host instructors working in this mode from different corners of moving image production: essay filmmakers, editors, sound designers, writers and more, who will address these highly complex challenges of image, text, and sound montage in documentary film and occasionally other experimental forms of contemporary moving image media making.

While focusing on the legible appearance of language (i.e. written prologues, titles, interfiles and subtitles) the workshop will also draw from analogies to the organization of language itself (syntax, grammar) as well as pulling from microbiology and other scientific fields, comparing the the construction of a film to a social body with the ability of developing itself (film assemblage compared with assemblage theory).

Participants will gain a greater understanding of editing, both theory and in practice, and a deeper connection to the meaning and impact of their choices when working to combine image, text and sound.

Caspar’s film “time / OUT OF JOINT” will be screened at UnionDocs before the workshop, Thursday, May 10. Learn more and purchase tickets here.


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

Before the course  you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in filmmaking practice and your project, plus a bio. There’s also a spot for a link to a work sample that will be reviewed by one speaker.

$295 early registration by April 27

$350 regular registration

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until April 27th. After April 27th, the fee is non-refundable.

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.

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.

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


Friday, May 11: 10:00am - 5:00pm


AM: Caspar Stracke

PM: Shambhavi Kaul

Saturday, May 12: 10:00am - 5:00pm


AM: Keith Sanborn
PM: Francisco Bello

Sunday, May 13: 10:00am - 5:00pm


AM: Quentin Chiappetta
PM: Work-In-Progress feedback with Caspar

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


Warm up, inspiring references, case study.


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


Caspar Stracke is a filmmaker, visual artist and curator from Germany, living and working in New York City (since 1993) and Berlin (since 2017).
In his films and installation work he investigates socio-political and aesthetic potentialities in life surroundings – architecture, urbanism and media culture. He is also interested in the poetics, ephemerality and time-based mechanisms of cinema itself.
Caspar’s films and installation work have been shown in numerous exhibitions in venues such as MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The New Museum, MoMA PS1, Anthology Film Archives, Yerba Buena Art Center, The Hammer Museum, the ZKM, Karlsruhe, ICC Tokyo, Museo Tamayo, Mexico among many others.
He has also participated in festivals such as CPH:DOX, Oberhausen, EMAF, Ann Arbor and many others throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Caspar is the recipient of a Rockefeller Media Art fellowship for the film project  time / OUT OF JOINT (which he completed 2016)
From 2005-2013 his partner Gabriela Monroy and himself were the co-directors of video_dumbo, an annual international festival for contemporary moving image in NYC.
In 2014 they also co-curated the  60th Flaherty Film Seminar in Colgate, New York  under the title “Turning the Inside Out”.
A selection was also screened at MoMA New York, CineTonala Mexico and WHS, Helsinki.
From 2012 – 2017 Caspar Stracke was the professor for Contemporary Art and Moving Image at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, (Kuvataideakatemia) in Helsinki, Summer 2018
He is the editor of “Godard – Boomerang” the outcome publication of a 2014 Godard mini symposium in Helsinki and a forthcoming publication at the University of the Arts, Helsinki, Summer 2018.
shambavi kaul

Shambhavi Kaul’s cinematic constructions conjure uncanny, science-fictive non-places. Described as creating “zones of compression and dispersion,” her work utilizes strategies of montage and recirculation, inviting an affective response while simultaneously measuring our capacity to know what we encounter. She has exhibited her work worldwide at venues such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, The New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Edinburgh International Film Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the 2014 Shanghai Biennale and a 2015 solo show at Jhaveri Contemporary, in Mumbai.

Keith Sanborn has taught Introductory and Intermediate Video Production in the Program in Visual Arts since 2002. In addition, in 2005, he devised and taught a new course attempting a synthesis of theory and practice called “From Montage to Game Hacks: Strategies of Cultural Critique.” His long-term interest is in media critique through his theoretical writings and translations, as well as, through strategies of cultural critique in his media work. He continues to pursue both his artistic and theoretical interests.
In the past several years he has concentrated on video installations.
His media work has been featured at festivals such as the Rotterdam International Film Festival, The European Media Arts Festival in Osnabrück, Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, the New York Video Festival and  many others.
His theoretical and critical essays have appeared in a range of periodicals from Artforum, A/S, The Brooklyn Rail, and thething.net and in collections such as Kunst nach Ground Zero. He has written catalogue essays for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Pompidou Centre, Exit Art and the Pacific Film Archive among others. He has also acted as a curator for Hallwalls Gallery in Buffalo, the Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, Exit Art, and the Pacific Film Archive. His curatorial and theoretical work has lead him to translate the works of Guy Debord, Gil Wolman, René Viénet, Georges Bataille, Napoleon, Paolo Gioli, Berthold Brecht, Harun Farocki and Esfir Shub. His curatorial, critical and translation work has contributed strongly to the introduction of the work of the Situationist International to the English-speaking world. In 2008, supported by a Fulbright grant, he taught a history of the compilation film at Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg and pursued research in Russian media.
His media work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, Art Matters, the Experimental Television Center and The Thing.

More comfortable expanding sonic and musical boundaries than being confined by them,

Quentin Chiappetta enjoys an unusually wide-ranging creative career as a composer, sound designer and mixer for the stage, the screen, and the art world.

Quentin created the original score and multi-channel sound design for Panamarama, a permanent exhibition at the entrance to the BioMuseo in Panama City. For Soundscapes, at the National Music Centre in Calgary, Quentin knit together a sound collage of popular Canadian music. The piece was a prizewinner of the 2016 MUSE Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in museum media. He is currently creating immersive sonic works for museums in Idaho, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.

He is a favored collaborator of experimental installation artists and musicians, including the legendary Tony Conrad, Zeena Parkins, Kim Sooja, and Christian Marclay. Quentin’s 20-year creative relationship with Marclay culminated in The Clock, the groundbreaking winner of the 2012 Venice Biennale for which he was the sound designer and mixer.

The recipient of multiple Meet the Composer grants and American Music Center awards, Quentin has been commissioned by new music ensembles and leading choreographers, most recently collaborating with the legendary Yvonne Rainer. In 2015, he was a resident composer at La Mama Umbria, in Italy.

Francisco Bello

Francisco Bello is an Oscar and three time Emmy nominee. He shot and produced Salim Baba (HBO), a 2008 Best Short Documentary Oscar and 2009 Emmy Nominee. Francisco produced and edited War Don Don (HBO), the winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, for which he was also given the inaugural Karen Schmeer Documentary Editing Award and two Emmy nominations. Additional highlights include editing the 2017 SXSW Narrative Grand Jury Prize winning Most Beautiful Island (Goldwyn), the Peabody winning Best Kept Secret (POV), the Cine Golden Eagle winning Code of the West (PBS), the Karen Schmeer Award winning Our Nixon (CNN), and the Best Editing Cinema Eye Honors nominee The Reagan Show (CNN). His editing will be seen in the 2018 releases Out of My Head (WP: MoMA Doc Fortnight), and Oscar Nominee Richard Rowley’s The Blue Wall (WP: HotDocs). Francisco co-directed Dreaming Against the World, seen at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, New York’s Asia Society, the Museum of the Fine Arts in Boston, and China Institute.

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May 11, 2018 at 10:00 am
May 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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