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May 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Documentary Fundamentals: Planning

With Jessica Kingdon, Patrick Kondas & Nathan Truesdell

This session of Documentary Fundamentals covers all the basics of PLANNING YOUR DOCUMENTARY and covers all the basics of creating a production plan for your project. What are the goals for your story? Who is your proposed audience? How do you map out a feature length story arc? And how do you allocate resources to make the film you want to make? This session covers these issues and gives you the tools to match your creativity with logistical planning.

Following this session, we are delighted to screen Jessica Kingdon’s Oscar-nominated film Ascension at 8:30pm! We are so excited to come together to watch this widely acclaimed documentary that we are lucky to have as our case study for this iteration of Doc Fundamentals. The screening is open to all Series Pass holders as well as folks taking the Planning Workshop Session.

Buy a Series Pass

DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS: A professional development series designed to give the emerging or intermediate documentary filmmaker an inside look at the filmmaking process from pre-production planning to post-production and distribution. Over the past few years, UnionDocs has developed this ongoing program for documentarians that desire a better foundation for navigating the modern landscape of independent filmmaking. This six-part program takes place over the course of one weekend at UnionDocs. Buy a SERIES PASS ($125) or choose to attend individual sessions ($25/each).


Jessica Kingdon is a Chinese-American director/producer named one of “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and selected for the 2020 DOC NYC “40 Under 40” list. Her work has been supported by organizations including SFFILM, Chicken & Egg, Cinereach, Sundance, Field of Vision, and Firelight Media. Jessica has served in producorial roles on Tania Cypriano’s BORN TO BE (NYFF 2019), Nathan Truesdell’s THE WATER SLIDE (True/False 2018), and Johnny Ma’s OLD STONE (Berlinale 2016). Residencies include UnionDocs and a MacDowell Fellowship. She is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.

Jessica Kingdon’s first documentary feature ASCENSION 登楼叹 (2021), won a nomination at the 94th Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Feature category as well as Best Documentary at the Tribeca Festival and Hamptons International Film Festival. The film has received nominations from the the DGA Awards, Spirit Awards, the Gotham and the International Documentary Association along with five Cinema Eye nominations and six Critic’s Choice nominations.

Patrick J. Kondas is an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer in New York City. His practice focuses on film and television contract negotiation, working with creatives, and providing assistance to small businesses. Prior to founding Kondas Law, Patrick worked with a major global law firm. He is admitted to practice law in New York at the state and federal levels.

Nathan Truesdell was selected for the inaugural “DOC NYC 40 Under 40” list. His directorial work includes the award-winning Balloonfest(2017), The Water Slide(2018), the Field of Vision produced series The Art of Making Money (2019) and It’s Coming! (2020). He was the camera department head for the HBO series How to with John Wilson (2020). He produced and co-DP’ed the Tribeca winner Ascension (2021), was the main cinematographer on Speaking is Difficult(2016) and a Producer of Peace in the Valley(2016), both premiering in the shorts competition at Sundance 2016. He produced documentaries such as We Always Lie to Strangers (SXSW, 2013), Caucus (Hot Docs, 2013), and Convention (LAFF, 2010), and co-produced The Gospel of Eureka (SXSW, 2018). Truesdell was DOP for the Al Jazeera America series Midterms(2014). He was a cinematographer on Dope is Death (True/False, 2020), shot Deprogrammed (Tribeca, 2015) and was a cinematographer and editor on Killing Them Safely (Tribeca, 2015). He also served as art director for the narrative film You’re Next (TIFT, 2011). He is a Producer of The Cinema Eye Honors.

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May 27, 2022
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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