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Tuesday, Apr 27 at 7:30 pm

Practicing Abolition Futures

An online conversation presented with World Records, preceded by an UNDO STUDY GROUP.

“True crime is not the ally of justice, but its antinomy.”

In their recent article in World Records scholar Pooja Rangan & filmmaker/author Brett Story call for “a form of abolition documentary that relinquishes, once and for all, its investments in the category of crime altogether,” making for four bold propositions:


To celebrate this publication and unpack what’s implied by these propositions, UnionDocs invites you to join an upcoming online event in which Rangan and Story extend their research to ask what might it mean to make documentary films like an abolitionist. To approach this question, they have enlisted filmmakers Christopher Harris (still/here) and Alex Rivera (The Infiltrators) to join the conversation. World Records editor Jason Fox will moderate.

Tune into the stream to watch and listen in between these brilliant minds, and join THE UNDO STUDY GROUP to read the article in advance, get links to screen films by Harris and Rivera, and join a rigorous and creative discussion.

This event will include closed captions.

UNDO Study Group - April 24th

Want a deeper engagement with Rangan & Story’s Four Propositions on True Crime and Abolition  and a special chance to see Rivera’s The Infiltrators and Harris’s recent short Dreams Under Confinement? Interested to generate some brave questions to be addressed in the conversation with Rangan, Story, Harris and Rivera?

Apply for the UNDO STUDY GROUP!

You’ll have the chance to ask questions, discuss your thoughts in small groups, and contribute to a collective video essay that will feed your questions, and ideas back into this public dialogue.

Watch the video to get the idea.

Space is limited for this engagement, so we are offering participation through a very simple online application. If accepted, entry is pay-what-you-wish, with a suggested donation of $15. Please only apply if you are committed to showing up and being prepared for the conversation.


This UNDO Study Group takes place April 24th from 2pm-4pm EST.


Pooja Rangan is a scholar and writer based in Amherst College, where she is Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies. Her work revolves around documentary politics and ethics. She is author of the award-winning book Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary and is currently completing her second book, Audibilities: On Documentary Listening as an ACLS Burkhardt fellow.

Brett Story is a filmmaker and writer based out of Toronto. She is the director of the films The Prison in Twelve Landscapes and The Hottest August, and author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America. She is Assistant Professor of Image Arts at Ryerson University and her work has received support from the Sundance Institute and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Alex Rivera is a filmmaker who’s been telling ground-breaking Latino stories for more than twenty years. His first feature film, a cyberpunk thriller set in Tijuana, Mexico, Sleep Dealer, won multiple awards at Sundance and was screened around the world. Rivera’s second feature film, a documentary/scripted hybrid set in an immigrant detention center, The Infiltrators, won both the Audience Award and the Innovator Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will be released theatrically in the U.S. in 2020. Rivera’s work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Open Society Institute, and many others.

Christopher Harris makes speculative documentaries of the unreal. His award-winning 16mm films employ formal and material imprecisions, erasures, disjunctions, breakdowns and gaps that disturb realist aesthetics and unmake the rationalized time, circumscribed spaces and policed movements of racial capitalism. His films create Black motion(s) and occupy Black time(s) and Black space(s). His work has screened at the Locarno Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Arsenal Berlin, and many other festivals and venues. He is the 2020-2021 Radcliffe-Film Study Center Fellow/David and Roberta Logie Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a 2015 Creative Capital grant awardee. Writing about his work has appeared in numerous books and periodicals including Film Comment, BOMB Magazine and Film Quarterly.


Tuesday, Apr 27
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States
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UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

Summer Documentary Labs

Be challenged. Get inspired. Move your project forward leaps and bounds.  Join a select group of emerging filmmakers to think through every aspect of your work-in-progress in this tightly structured program.

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Pod-Pod – A new UNDO Audio Residency

Six active podcasters are invited to enter a protective bubble in our artists residency in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to create a safe and supportive community for deep listening, intentional living and creative podcasting from April through June.

Cop shows, prison films, and true crime docs have a long history of glorifying the criminal justice system, naturalizing its inherent violence, and narrowing the imaginative possibilities for abolition. 

In a new iteration of our Collaborative Studio, co-designed with esteemed experimental filmmaker Christopher Harris, we invite a collective to examine, contextualize and dismantle scripts of the carceral state from the archives of popular culture.