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May 6, 2022 at 10:30 am – May 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Contested Ground: Landscape as Territory

With Pablo Álvarez Mesa, Basma Alsharif, Salomé Lamas, Fox Maxy, Jacquelyn Mills, & Ana Vaz

“This is where the notion of ‘territoriality,’ of space represented as a territory, becomes useful. For territory is space seen from the ‘inside,’ a subjective and lived space. This sort of space is associated more with cartographers, geographers, conquerors, hunters, but also with farmers or anyone inhabiting or having a claim on a stretch of land, than it is with the artist (although they are not mutually exclusive). When the geographer writes, ‘Landscape is anchored in human life, not something to look at but to live in, and to live in socially. Landscape is a unity of people and environment which opposes in its reality the false dichotomy of man and nature…. Landscape is to be judged as a place for living and working in terms of those who actually do work and live there. All landscapes are symbolic’ (Cosgrove 35), he returns the landscape to its territoriality. Indeed, beyond the study of the morphology of a region, geographers, especially cultural geographers, now describe landscape as a set of relations which are woven between human beings and the land: agriculture, hunting, fishing, navigation and shipping, forestry, etc.” -Martin Lefebvre, Landscape and Film.

The landscapes that we document are never neutral. They are inherently bound up in the politicization that renders them territories in the first place and in the political nature of documentation itself. Over the course of this three-day workshop, join Pablo Álvarez-Mesa (Bicentenario) and other multimedia explorers of different contested terrains. Together in this hands-on remapping of nonfiction film, audio, and art, participants will chart new courses and imagine new topographies, exploring the territories of their own particular projects while doing so.

Jacquelyn Mills (Geographies of Solitude) will outline her immersive, eco-friendly approach to positioning film as its own territory in conversation with the natural world. Within the same medium (film) but with a different bent, Basma Al Sharif will explore the relationships among the body, the cinema as a space, memory, territory, and geopolitics. Salomé Lamas will explore these themes further, specifically under the auspices of colonialism and capitalism. Fox Maxy (Maat Means Land) will continue that conversation as it pertains to his work and as related to decolonization and indigeneity in a diversity of forms. Ana Vaz will introduce participants to her multidisciplinary work (encompassing film, performance, and installation) to further interrogate notions of myth and history; self and other; and the f(r)ictions imposed upon both cultivated and wild environments.

Throughout this workshop, participants are invited to engage with their own projects and practices as they relate to the media, spaces, and topographies explored by these artists. Join us in articulating a new politics of space, documentary and otherwise!


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).

$225 remote registration (5 spots maximum).

$350 early bird registration by April 29th, 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 April 29th. After April 29th, 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 April 29th, 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. Instructors may be joining in-person or online.

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


Friday, May 6, – 10:30am - 4:00pm

10:30a – 12:30p – Introduction with Pablo Álvarez Mesa
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p – 4:00p –  Salomé Lamas

Saturday, May 7, – 10:30am - 4:00pm

10:30a – 12:30p –Ana Vaz
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p – 4:00p – Fox Maxy

Sunday, May 8, – 10:30am - 4:00pm

10:30a – 12:30p – Basma Al Sharif
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p – 4:00p – Jacquelyn Mills

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


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Pablo Álvarez Mesa is a filmmaker and cinematographer working mainly in documentary. His films have played at international film festivals including Berlinale, IFFR, Venice, Visions du Reel, and Anthology Film Archives. His interest in documentary lies in the relationship between fact and fiction; between what is recalled and what is inevitably constructed. His films all touch in one way or another issues of displacement, history and collective memory. He is an affiliate member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, an alumnus of Berlinale Talents, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canadian Film Centre and is artist in residence at Fogo Island Arts (2022).

Basma Alsharif is a visual artist using moving and still images, sound, and language, to explore the anonymous individual in relation to political history and collective memory. She received an MFA from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2007 and has been working in Cairo, Beirut, and Amman since then. Her work has shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally including the 17th SESC Videobrasil, Forum Expanded: Berlinale, Images Festival Ontario where she received the Marion McMahon Award, Manifesta 8 The Region of Murcia, The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, The 9th Edition of the Sharjah Bienniale where she received a jury prize for her work, the Toronto International Film Festival, and she was awarded the Fundación Marcelino Botín Visual Arts Grant in 2009-2010.

Salomé Lamas studied cinema in Lisbon and Prague, visual arts in Amsterdam and is a Ph. D candidate in contemporary art studies in Coimbra. Her work has been screened both in art venues and film festivals such as Berlinale, Locarno, BAFICI, Museo Arte Reina Sofia, FIAC, MNAC – Museu do Chiado, DocLisboa, Cinema du Réel, Visions du Réel, MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Harvard Film Archive, Museum of Moving Images NY, Jewish Museum NY, Fid Marseille, Arsenal Institut fur film und videokunst, Viennale, Culturgest, CCB – Centro Cultural de Belém, Hong Kong FF, Museu Serralves, Tate Modern, CPH: DOX, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève, Bozar, Louvre, Tabakalera, ICA London, TBA 21 Foundation, CAC Vilnius, MALBA, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, FAEMA, SESC São Paulo, MAAT, La Biennale di Venezia Architettura, among others.

Fox Maxy is a California-based artist and filmmaker of Kumeyaay and Payómkawichum ancestry. This experience of being Native American is a central theme in his work, which deals with Native American identity and culture, and the power of (de)colonization.

Jacquelyn Mills is an award-winning filmmaker from Cape Breton Island, based in Montréal. Her works are immersive and sensorial, often exploring an intimate and lyrical connection to the natural world. Her film “In the Waves” premiered at Visions du Réel and was theatrically released at TIFF’s Cinemathèque. It was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the New Hampshire International Film Festival, Best Medium-Length Documentary at RIDM, as well as Best Documentary and Best Edit at Atlantic International Film Festival. Her most recent work “Geographies of Solitude” had its world premiere at the Berlinale Forum. It was supported by Sundance Documentary Fund and Cannes: Docs in Progress. Jacquelyn has worked as editor, sound designer and cinematographer for the National Film Board of Canada as well as other internationally acclaimed films.

Ana Vaz is an artist & filmmaker whose films, installations & performances speculate upon the relationships between myth & history, self & other through a cosmology of references & perspectives. Assemblages of found & shot materials, her films combine ethnography & speculation in exploring the f(r)ictions imprinted upon cultivated & savage environments. A graduate from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology & Le Fresnoy, Ana was also a member of the SPEAP (School of Political Arts), a project directed by Bruno Latour. Recent screenings of her work include the NYFF, TIFF, Courtisane, Cinéma du Réel (Grand Prix) & specific focuses dedicated to her work at the Flaherty Seminar (USA) and Doc’s Kingdom (Portugal). Her work has featured in major group shows such as the Moscow Biennial of Young Art & the Dhaka Art Summit. In 2015, she received the Kazuko Trust Award presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of artistic excellence and innovation in her moving-image work.

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May 6, 2022 at 10:30 am
May 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm
$225.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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