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Feb 1, 2019 at 10:00 am – Feb 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm

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

This workshop will be led by Travis Wilkerson

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

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

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

Historically, personal filmmaking has tended to be a movement away from the political. When politics are defined in such broad strokes that “everything” is political, this can also paradoxically mean that nothing has a meaningful political charge. But, in this historic moment, the deeply personal has abruptly become the deeply political, if engaged rigorously, humbly, and critically. This three-day workshop will explore the potential points of collision between the personal and political. Each of the guests defines this question in an exciting and distinct manner. Some place their own identities and experiences front and center. Others define their work as “personal” in more elusive ways – the critical analysis, the direct experience, the confrontation at ground level. At their core, they embrace the personal at its highest form – where personal creative expression becomes a deeply social gesture. Sometimes, looking inward is an escape from the greater world. Sometimes, looking inward is the direct fraught path into the greater world.

Lead instructor Travis Wilkerson, with guests Samara Chadwick, Nika Autor, Lydia Moyer and Jacquie Soohen, 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.

$300 early bird registration by January 15th, 2019 at 5PM; $285 for members.

$350 regular registration; $335 for members.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until January 15th. After January 15th, 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 15th, 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, February 1 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Presentation by Travis Wilkerson

PM: Presentation by Samara Chadwick

Saturday, February 2nd – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Presentation by Nika Autor

PM: Presentation by Abigail DeVille

Sunday, February 3rd – 10:00a - 3:00p

AM: Presentation by Jacquie Soohen

PM: Presentation by Lydia Moyer

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


Travis Wilkerson at 15thDokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg, April 2018

A chance meeting in Havana with legendary Cuban film propagandist Santiago Alvarez changed the course of Travis Wilkerson’s life. He now makes films in the tradition of the “third cinema,” wedding politics to form in an indivisible manner. In 2015, Sight & Sound called Wilkerson “the political conscience of American cinema.” His films have screened at scores of venues and festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam, Vienna, Yamagata, the FID Marseille and the Musée du Louvre. The NY Times called his most recent film Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? “an urgent, often corrosive look at America’s past and present through the prism of family, patriarchy, white supremacy and black resistance.” His agit-prop essay on the lynching of Wobbly Frank Little — “An Injury to One” — was named one of the best avant-garde films of the decade by Film Comment and a “political cinema landmark” by the LA Times. His work with Erin Wilkerson in Creative Agitation was included in the Venice Biennale. His writings on film have appeared in Cineaste, Kino!, and Senses of Cinema. He has taught filmmaking at the University of Colorado, CalArts, Pomona College, and Vassar. He is also the founding Editor of “Now: A Journal of Urgent Praxis.”


Samara Chadwick is a filmmaker, programmer, and scholar who has spent over 15 years working in the field of non-fiction. She has a PhD in Cultural Studies, and has programmed films and conferences for HotDocs in Toronto, the 2ANNAS Film Festival in Rīga, the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (MAM), and the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art / 7th Berlin Biennale. She was the programmer of the the Market, Conference, Talent Lab and Kino VR programmes of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) and is currently curator of VR:RV, a German:Canadian Exchange in Virtual Reality by the Goethe-Institut​, as well as Senior Programmer for the Points North Institute and the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF).

Her first feature documentary, 1999, produced by Parabola Films (Canada), Beauvoir Films (Switzerland) and the National Film Board of Canada premiered in 2018 at Visions du réel, and was screened at the HotDocs International Documentary Film Festival, DokuFest Kosovo, and the Museum of the Moving Image.


Abigail DeVille (b. 1981, New York, NY) received her MFA from Yale University 2011 and her BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2007. DeVille has exhibited a constellation of site-specific installations in the United States and Europe. Her most recent exhibitions include The American Future PICA, Portland OR (2018), No Space Hidden (Shelter) ICA LA, Los Angeles, CA (2017), 20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (2017), A Picture of the Universe in Clock Time, Momentum 9, Moss, Norway (2017), Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO (2017), Harlem: Found Ways. Cooper Gallery at Hutchins Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2017) Urban Planning: Contemporary Art and the City 1967-2017, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO (2017) Chaos or Community? Michel Rein, Brussels, BE (2017), The Intersectional Self, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, New York, NY (2017), Home, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York, NY (2016); LANDMARK, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY (2016); Only When Its Dark Enough Can You See The Stars, The Contemporary, Baltimore, MD (2016); Revolution in the Making, Hauser Wirth, Los Angeles, CA (2016); America, Michel Rein, Paris, France (2015); From the Ruins… at 601Artspace, New York, NY (2015), When You Cut Into the Present the Future Leaks Out at the Old Bronx Courthouse, Bronx, NY (2015), The Day the Earth Stood Still, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery, Cambridge, MA (2015); Puddle, Pothole, Portal, Sculpture Center, Queens, NY (2014); Playing with Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY (2014); Material Histories at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2014); Outside the Lines, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Houston, TX (2014); Invisible Men: Beyond the Veil, Galerie Michel Rein, Paris, France (2013); Gastown Follies, Artspeak, Vancouver, BC, (2013); Bronx Calling, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (2013); Future Generation Art Prize at Venice, The 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2013); They might as well have been remnants of the boat, Calder Foundation, New York, NY (2013); XXXXXXX, Iceberg Projects, Chicago, IL (2013); Fore, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2012); Future Generation Art Prize Exhibition, the Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); If I don’t think I’m sinking, look what a hole I’m in, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2012); First Among Equals, ICA, Philadelphia, PA (2012); The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York, NY (2012); Bosch Young Talent Show, Stedelijk Museum, s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (2011). DeVille has designed sets for theatrical productions—at venues such as the Stratford Festival (2014), directed by Peter Sellers, Harlem Stage (2016), La Mama (2015), JACK (2014-16), and Joe’s Pub (2014) directed by Charlotte Brathwaite. She has received honors—2014-15 fellowship at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, 2015 Creative Capital grantee and received a 2015 OBIE Award for design. DeVille was the 2017-18 Chuck Close Henry W and Marion T Mitchell Rome Prize fellow.


Nika Autor finished her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana (BA and MA) and finished her PhD in Practice at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her practice is primarily based on experimental videos and documentary films, film essays, newsreels and spatial video and film installations. The focus of her work is a research of the invisibilities/ inaudibilities dealing with concealed topics of the forgotten past and the silenced present. Her work focuses on the production of particular images, specific constructions of collective memory as well as on personal/oral narratives and examines asylum and migration policies, workers rights and politics of memory. She is part of the collective Newsreel Front (Obzorniška Fronta), an informal collective of workers coming from the field of film theory and art practice.

Lydia Moyer

Lydia Moyer is a visual artist and media maker based in Charlottesville, VA, where she is an associate professor of new media in the art department at the University of Virginia. Her videos have screened widely in national and international festivals, micro-cinemas and universities. She worked as a community media educator at Appalshop, a well-regarded media center in Appalachian Kentucky, during a formative time in her early career. That egalitarian and politically engaged approach to film and video continues to inform her practice.


Jacqueline Soohen is an Emmy winning producer, director and cinematographer of documentary films who’s commitment to stories that take on the most pressing issues of our time has kept her ahead of the curve and at the heart of social and political conflict around the world. Soohen has produced and filmed five feature documentaries with theatrical releases including Sundance award winning and Oscar nominated documentary “Dirty Wars”, as well as dozens of television documentaries for HBO, PBS, ZDF, ARD, CBC, CNN International, Al Jazeera and others. Her work has also been shown at MoMa and the Berlin Biennial. As a founding member of Big Noise Films, Soohen taught documentary filmmaking as Artist in Residence at Bard College 2016-2018. She is currently working on a feature documentary on the murder of Laquan MacDonald in Chicago.

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Feb 1, 2019 at 10:00 am
Feb 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm
$335.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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