Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Apr 1, 2022 at 4:00 pm – Apr 3, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Molding Reality: The Art of the (Nonfiction) Edit

With David Osit, Rebecca Adorno, Erin Casper, Adam Kurnitz & Penny Lane

How can we shape the reality that we document to tell a story that transcends its quotidian context? How does a story emerge from a pile of footage, be it newly shot clips or archival materials? What is involved in the labor and art that is editing?

Join UnionDocs and David Osit (Mayor, Thank You For Playing) from April 1 to 3 to discuss these and other questions among a group of editors of all stripes and experience levels. Open to all from those just beginning to work as assistant editors to junior/second editors, co-editors, and professional editors, this intensive workshop will look at the edit from beginning to end, teasing out the processes and work involved at all stages of the documentary editing process.

On Friday, April 1, David and Rebecca Adorno (Homeroom) will be on hand to introduce participants to the art of the edit, discussing how to begin edits literally (organizing footage, watching material, setting up your workstation) and figuratively (how to get to your first assembly or rough cut, how to situate yourself as an editor within the larger project and the art involved in putting on one’s “editor hat”). Saturday will involve a deep-dive into cutting verité, archival, and interviews, as led by Erin Casper (Fire of Love, Risk, “The Vow”) and Adam Kurnitz (The Velvet Underground). To close out the weekend, the workshop will conclude with a day of looking at the rough-cut screening process with Penny Lane (Listening to Kenny G, Heil Satan ?) and a screening-and-analysis session featuring favorite scenes from the weekend’s seminar leads to conclude on a conversational note about what makes scenes work and how such takeaways can inform participants’ own work.

Come spend a weekend charting the evolution of a documentary edit, and come away with inspiration and information to guide your own editing work! Engage with others’ (best) practices and processes, and join a broader community of those who edit while doing so.

NOTE: This workshop will require in-person participation from all participants. Each participant must present proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test administered within 72 hours of the workshop’s start. Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected].


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for documentary filmmakers, aspiring podcasters, journalists, and media artists. This workshop is in person and will be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols.

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 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. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample (and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required).

$350 early bird registration by March 27th, 2022 at 11:59PM.

$400 regular registration.

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

NOTE: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of March 27th, 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, April 1, – 4:00pm - 6:00pm

4:00p -6:00p – Introduction with David Osit

Saturday, April 2, – 10:00am - 6:00pm

10:00a – 12:00p – Beginning the Edit with Rebecca Adorno
12:00p – 1:00p – LUNCH
1:00p -3:00p – Cutting Verité with Erin Casper
4:00p-6:00p- Cutting Archival and Interviews with Adam Kurnitz

Sunday, April 3 – 10:00am - 3:00pm

10:00a – 12:00p – Screening Cuts with Penny Lane
12:00p – 1:00p – LUNCH
1:00p – 3:00p – Anatomy of a Scene with All

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


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


David Osit is an Emmy Award-winning documentary film director, editor and composer. His most recent film MAYOR (2020) was released in over 80 cinemas across the US, was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, played at hundreds of film festivals worldwide, broadcast on POV, and is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel and MUBI. His film THANK YOU FOR PLAYING (2015) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, also broadcast on POV, and was nominated for three Emmys, winning for Outstanding Arts + Culture Documentary. His first film, BUILDING BABEL (2012), premiered at the True/False Film Festival and aired on PBS America Reframed.

Osit’s work as an editor includes feature films such as OFF FRAME (Toronto/Berlinale 2016), NO MAN’S LAND (Tribeca 2017), LIVE FROM NEW YORK (Tribeca Opening Night 2015) as well as non-fiction television series THE VOW (2020) and A CURE FOR FEAR (IDA Best Series Award Nominee). His work as a consulting editor includes PROCESSION (Netflix), CRIME + PUNISHMENT (Hulu), and UNITED SKATES (HBO).

Osit is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campus and the Sundance Nonfiction Director’s Residency. He graduated from the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, and studied Refugee Law at the American University in Cairo. He received his MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts, and has lectured at the School of Visual Arts and UnionDocs in New York.

Rebecca Adorno-Dávila is an award winning video editor born and raised in Puerto Rico. A lot of her work focuses on vérité and archival heavy, character-driven stories. She was an editor on the nine part HBO documentary series The Vow and worked on three seasons of the Emmy-award winning series VICE on HBO. Among others, she edited feature length documentaries “Residente”, which was an official selection at SXSW’s Film Festival in 2017 and “Homeroom”, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Adorno received a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Puerto Rico (2008) and an MFA in computer Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City (2010). She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for the documentary Fighting ISIS, VICE on HBO (2016) and is one of the the recipients of Sundance Film Festival’s 2021 Inaugural Jonathan Oppenheim Documentary Editing Award for her work on the verite driven documentary film Homeroom. She is also a 2022 nominee for Cinema Eye Honors’ Outstanding Achievement in Editing award and for IDA’s Best Editing Award. She currently works between New York, Puerto Rico or anywhere where there is a good story that needs to be told.

Erin Casper is an Emmy-nominated documentary editor whose award-winning films have screened at Sundance, New York Film Festival, Tribeca, True/False, Visions du Réel; distributed in movie theaters internationally, and broadcast on HBO, Showtime, PBS, The New York Times, Field of Vision, and Vanity Fair.

Her selected editing credits include FIRE OF LOVE (winner of the U.S. Documentary Editing Award at Sundance 2022); RISK, directed by Laura Poitras (Neon, Showtime); AMERICAN PROMISE (Sundance Special Jury Award, Emmy nominee); ROLL RED ROLL (Netflix, POV), and THE LAST SEASON (Independent Spirit Truer than Fiction Award nominee).

Outside of her work as an editor, Erin is a frequent panelist and mentor for Sundance, Tribeca, IFP, and True/False filmmaking labs, and is a 2011 Fellow and board member of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship.

She is a member of of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Penny Lane, a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, has been making innovative nonfiction films for over a decade. In 2018 she was honored with a Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award, received the Vanguard Award at SF DocFest, and was admitted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She has been honored to receive mid-career retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, San Francisco DocFest, Open City Documentary Festival and Cinema Moderne.

Penny has made five feature-length documentaries, most recently LISTENING TO KENNY G (Toronto 2021) for HBO. Previously, she directed HAIL SATAN? (Sundance 2019), THE PAIN OF OTHERS (Rotterdam 2018), NUTS! (Sundance 2016) and OUR NIXON (Rotterdam 2013). Penny’s short films are distributed by VTAPE and include titles such as THE VOYAGERS (2010), JUST ADD WATER (2016) and WE ARE THE LITTLETONS: A TRUE STORY (2004).

Penny received her MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA from Vassar College. She was a college professor for over a decade, teaching film, video and new media art at Colgate University, Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.

Adam Kurnitz is a Brooklyn-based film editor. His work includes the documentary feature THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (Director, Todd Haynes), GIMME DANGER (Director, Jim Jarmusch), BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM: THE STORY OF ROY COHN (Director, Ivy Meeropol), BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (Director, Sara Driver), as well as the narrative short TOUCH (Director, Lulu Wang). He’s also worked on THE RESCUE (Directors, Jimmy Chin & Chai Vasarhelyi). He is currently cutting a feature length documentary for Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Directors, FREE SOLO).

+ Register


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Tickets are no longer available


Apr 1, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Apr 3, 2022 at 3:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
+ Google Map

Support UnionDocs’ next phase and new building by becoming a member

Peek in the window of our bustling building in NYC and tune into the ideas and energy bubbling up from the UNDO Center.

Tune into cutting-edge, powerful and poetic documentary programs and connect to conversations with the artists and thinkers passing through.

Now available at the Apple Store.



Unlimited access to all of our monthly offerings for the price of two espressos.



Keep it simple and save. Unlimited access to our sweet offerings for a reduced, annual fee and receive some added benefits.



In the neighborhood, a working artist, student or senior? This membership is for you. Fill out a quick form for a discount code to an annual membership.



Get all of the benefits of the Annual UNDO Membership plus an annual subscription to UnionDocs Editions, a set of publications, merchandise or special objects.

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

New limited editions out now!
Featuring the work of the UNDO Fellows.

FORMS OF ERRANTRY delves into the mesmerizing and haunting films of Miryam Charles and is edited by Lakshmi Padmanabhan. GEOLOGIC LISTENING centers the monumental and expansive work of filmmaker Deborah Stratman and is edited by Sukhdev Sandhu.

Pod Pod 2023 Group 02

Pod Pod is now accepting applications.
Apply today!

Calling all AUDIO MAKERS looking for a bit of motivation, peer support, collective production and a dose of inspiration for your personal project —  join us for 3 months this Fall!