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Jul 13, 2018 at 10:00 am – Jul 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Worlds Made Real: Storytelling for Immersive Documentary

A three-day intensive on the theory and practice of interactive story-telling

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

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Digital technologies such as the web, mobile devices and VR headsets have given filmmakers and media artists a new suite of tools and techniques for capturing and presenting documentary stories. Interactive screens offer the potential to more deeply engage audiences in representations of reality, but they also force producers to give up some degree of control and allow users the choice of where to look, what to click, and how to experience a story.

This workshop, led by Marco Castro Cosio, will explore the creative possibilities and challenges of making documentaries for digital platforms. In presentations and workshops led by guest speakers, students will be exposed to a range of design strategies and production/distribution processes for making interactive, participatory and immersive narratives, including on emerging VR platforms like the Oculus Rift and HTC vive.

Throughout the weekend, students will have an opportunity to put these ideas into practice by developing their own concepts, prototypes or treatments for a digital documentary project, while refining these ideas through feedback sessions with experienced producers. They will leave better equipped to communicate their ideas to funders and potential collaborators.


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, interactive storytellers and producers.

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.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Focus is on discussion and workshopping students’ projects. The goal is to help you design and develop your interactive documentary.

This workshop is three full days; please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule.

$295 early registration by July 6

$350 regular registration

Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive a full refund until July 6th. After July 6th, 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.


This schedule is subject to change

Friday, July 13, – 10:00a - 5:00p

Fri AM: Jacob Loewenstein at Samsung NEXT (site visit + lunch)

Fri PM: Courtney Cogburn (at UnionDocs)

Saturday, July 14 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Debra Anderson at Parsons XR Labs (site visit)

PM: Work-in-Progress Feedback at UnionDocs

Sunday, July 15 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Todd Bryant (at UnionDocs)

PM: Sandra Rodriguez (at UnionDocs)


Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn is an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center. She employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health. Dr. Cogburn’s work also explores the potential of media and technology in eradicating racism and eliminating racial inequities in health. She is the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality experience of racism that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Program and at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, and MSW from the University of Michigan and her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

Debra Anderson is co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Datavized Technologies, a NYC-based startup building an immersive visualization platform that turns data into fully interactive experiences on all web platforms, including in virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Datavized’s tools enable users to tell immersive data-driven stories. An accomplished VR producer and director, she was selected by the Sundance Institute for the 2017 Sundance New Frontier Story Lab. Debra made her Cinematic VR debut in 2015 with In\Formation, a documentary in VR about VR featuring pioneers in the medium. Debra founded the innovation consultancy Culture Shock in 2007; presented groundbreaking interactive works with The National Film Board of Canada at Sundance New Frontier (Bear 71) and Tribeca Storyscapes (A Journal of Insomnia, Circa 1948, Do Not Track, Draw Me Close, Biidaaban: First Light). She has produced WebVR Education works for the NFB and Mozilla Corporation, and data visualizations for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Debra designs and instructs the first Digital Development: WebVR undergraduate course at Parsons School of Design, School of Art, Media and Technology (AMT), Big Data: Consumer Research at The New School for Public Engagement, and Stepping into VR and Production Seminar II: VR, Augmented and Mixed Reality at the International Center of Photography, New Media Narratives program. She is the founder and organizer of the Immersive NYC Meetup.
Follow her on Twitter @debraeanderson and @datavized.

Marco Castro Cosio graduated from the Interactive Telecommunications (ITP) program at the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University and has worked as curator of exhibitions and art festivals in New York and Mexico. He was MediaLab director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he helped the museum to imagine art and its audiences in innovative perspectives. It created a network of brilliant and creative professionals dedicated to the vanguard in these subjects that propose visions for the futures of the culture. . Prior to that, he worked as the first Visitor Experience Manager at the Queens Museum, where he also conducted workshops on developing interactive experiences for diverse communities. As an artist, his work nourishes urban communities in practical and playful ways, such as his project, Bus Roots, which seeks to equip the roofs of urban buses with lush gardens. Marco contributed to the series proposed by the UN, Rio +20, spoke at the TEDx conference in Cape May, New Jersey, and is a member of the Climate and Urban Systems Association (CUSP).
He was a TED speaker in Residence. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, based at the Columbia University School of Journalism and an artist in residence at NYU- POLY incubator.

Sandra Rodriguez, PhD is a creative director, filmmaker, and sociologist of new media technologies. Exploring non-fiction storytelling for over 16 years, she writes and directs award-winning documentaries and experiences showcased and broadcasted internationally, works as a UX consultant on interactive projects and in public media. Today,
she heads the Creative Reality Lab at EyeSteelFilm, an Emmy awarded production company based in Montreal, where she explores virtual, mixed and extended reality.
Sandra has been honoured to talk and offer Master Classes on Digital Storytelling and Human Centered Design, in high visibility events including: Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Sundance New Frontier, IDFA, RIDM, Mutek, Singapore Film Fest, Festival Nouveau Cinema, MIT Hackathons, and the VR Anti-Manifesto (Montreal and Berlin). A
Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Open Documentary Lab, she teaches MIT’s very first course in VR and immersive media production (in collaboration with Oculus NextGen and MIT Center for Arts, Science and Technology). Sandra has written a book, articles and papers on public engagement, social change and networked cultures, and is a regular public speaker on emerging media trends. She remains fascinated by playing and creating with the tools through through which we share our stories

Todd Bryant is a video artist, engineer, and educator specializing in experiential storytelling through mixed reality and experiential installation. Todd hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where he spent the majority of his youth exploring and trying to get lost in the woods. A current resident of Brooklyn and a faculty researcher at the Interactive Telecommunications Program in Tisch School of the Arts at NYU he continues to employ those innate proclivities through creative coding and the construction of tangible interfaces for video art. Todd’s work explores the intersection of empathy, knowledge, and the sublime.

Jacob Loewenstein leads AR/VR investments and business development in NYC at Samsung Next, Samsung’s software and services innovation arm. He received his MBA at MIT Sloan, where he co-founded VR/AR@MIT, which is dedicated to fostering VR/AR/MR innovation. Additionally, he was a founding Co-Organizer of the Reality, Virtually Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab, the biggest VR/AR hackathon. Prior to MIT, he worked in revenue strategy and business development at BuzzFeed and as a internal management consultant at Bridgewater Associates. He received his BA, Cum Laude, from Princeton University, where he studied the intersection of Media Theory and Public Policy.

Jacob has previously lectured on VR and AR at Augmented World Expo, AR in Action at NYU/MIT, Illuminate Global at Harvard, and Hacking Arts at the MIT Media Lab. He has also lectured on digital media at Princeton. When not pontificating about AR, Jacob likes to sing Macy Gray at karaoke.

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Jul 13, 2018 at 10:00 am
Jul 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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