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Oct 3, 2020 at 10:00 am – Oct 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Conduits of Truth and Fantasy: The Art of The Interview

Led by Sarah Ema Friedland

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

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

Please note: Due to COVID-19, UnionDocs workshops are being held remotely, over video conference.

We’ve restructured the experience to optimize this format, offering a functional rhythm and pace, while continuing the strong combination of theory, practice, expert feedback and community that participants love.

The raconteur’s essential device lives in sacred space where extraction, interrogation and vulnerability can give way to shared revelations. An interview has the fluidity to morph and surpass our practical understanding of the recorded exchange. How one answers a question through body language, a sigh or the silence of a moment can draw an audience in deeper than the intended query. Thinking beyond the “talking head,” what the maker chooses to show or not show in the moment of the interview holds power. As artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz stated, “The face is a gift that we give away too freely.” How does one embark on the daunting task of upending the previously pathed formal paths of the aesthetics of the interview? What can disrupting the age-old discipline of the interview provide a filmic or auditory practice? How can challenging the interview form aid us in challenging the power dynamics at play in the space of the interview? How do we unlock the aesthetic promise of the interview to share visual and sonic insights about or beyond the world of the participant?

Conduits of Truth and Fantasy: The Art of The Interview will look critically at the all too often minimized and overlooked craft, probing power dynamics, approaches and productions of the interview. Led by filmmaker Sarah Ema Friedland (Here After,  Lyd in Exile) the online workshop features guest instructors Nyssa Chow (Hunger Strike and Story of Her Skin) focusing on the intimate practise of oral history to make stunning installation and multi-media work. Experimental filmmaker Catalina Jordan Alvarez (Sound Spring and MUÑE) will share her process of combining narrative performance to play with the conventions of the interview. Nicole Kelly and Phoebe Unter (Bitchface and The Heart) will delve into how the interview can be used to challenge form in an audio landscape. Filmmaker Zeshawn Ali’s new film Two Gods (Full Frame, Blackstar and Hot Docs) will serve as a case study for his methods in engaging interview participants in respectful and revealing ways.  Journalist and filmmaker Rami Younis will present his forthcoming sci-fi documentary co-directed with Sarah Ema Friedland, Lyd in Exile and the use of interviews as the basis for creating an alternate reality.

Through seminars, hands on practise, and work in progress critiques, participants will each, in their own way, push the boundaries of the interview, and learn how to put this new knowledge into practice. Open to filmmakers, audio creators, journalists, scholars and anyone who’d like to delve into expansive ways of capturing compelling interviews. Current projects are not required to attend, but encouraged!


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, film producers, journalists, curators and media artists.

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 (not required).

$295 early bird registration by September 28th.

$350 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until September 28th. After September 28th, the fee is non-refundable.

As this is an online workshop, participants 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 September 28th, 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.


Saturday, Oct. 3rd – 10:00a - 4:00p

Welcome & Intro

AM:  Exercise with Sarah Ema Friedland

PM: Presentation and discussion with Nyssa Chow

Sunday, Oct. 4th – 10:00a - 4:00p

AM: Review of the previous day / Participant Work In Progress

PM: Presentation and discussion with Catalina Jordan Alvarez

Saturday, Oct. 10 – 10:00a - 4:00p

AM: Review of the previous day / Participant Work In Progress

PM: Presentation and discussion with NK+ Phoebe Unter

Sunday, Oct. 11th – 10:00a - 4:00p

AM: Presentation and discussion with Sarah Ema Friedland & Rami Younis 

PM: Presentation and discussion with Zeshawn Ali

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


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, review of previous day.


 Exercise with Lead Instructor + individual work-in-progress critique




Presentation and discussion with Guest Instructor




Sarah Ema Friedland is a filmmaker and artist. Her films and installations embrace radical approaches to form and politics. Friedland’s works have been supported by grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Paul Newman Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Palestine American Research Center, the LABA House of Study, and the MacDowell Colony. She was named one of the “Top 10 Independent Filmmakers to Watch” by the Independent Magazine, is a recipient of the Paul Robeson award from the Newark Museum, and was nominated for a New York Emmy. She is currently working on a feature documentary titled Lyd In Exile, which she is co-directing with Rami Younis, and which was selected to pitch at the DocCorner Market at the Cannes Film Festival and Days of Cinema in Ramallah. Friedland received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and the International School of Film and Television in Cuba and her MFA from the Integrated Media Art Program at Hunter College. Friedland is a member of the Meerkat Media Collective and the Director of the MDOCS Storyteller’s Institute at Skidmore College.

Nyssa Chow is a lecturer in the Creative Writing Department at Princeton University and is the current Princeton Arts Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts (Princeton University). She is an oral historian, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. She is co-director of the NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Project at Columbia University (I.N.C.I.T.E). Chow has served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University and as core faculty in the Oral History Masters program at Columbia University. She was the 2018 Recipient of the PEN/Jean Stein for Literary Oral History, won for the book project, Still, Life. The immersive literary oral history project ‘The Story of Her Skin’ won the Columbia University Jeffrey H. Brodsky Oral History Award. Chow has conducted oral histories on behalf of arts and social justice projects, and institutions such as the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Born and raised in Trinidad, she is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Film program and Columbia University’s Oral History Masters Program.

Phoebe Unter makes audio and visual art interrogating things people avoid talking about. She produces The Heart, an award-winning podcast about power & intimacy, and co-created bitchface, an experimental audio project, with NK. Most recently she released a personal series called Race Traitor on The Heart. She also did a stint as producer & office eccentric at the public radio show Marketplace, helped produce CBC Podcasts’ fictional show Asking For It, and records oral histories with tenants for the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project.In 2019, Phoebe presented at Third Coast International Audio Festival with the collective Radio Rejects. Phoebe has been in residence at at This Will Take Time and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. In 2018, she was selected to be part of the German-American Fulbright Commission’s Berlin Capital Program for Journalists.

NK is an artist creating transformative media and consenting to learn in public. They are currently producing narrative audio documentaries about power & love for THE HEART. Their work has appeared in print, digital, and audio in various outlets, including Afropunk’s Solutions Sessions, the CBC’s Podcast Playlist, ZYZZYVA, Fiction Southeast, et al.

Zeshawn Ali is originally from Ohio and a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. “Two Gods” is his first feature film and was supported by ITVS, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Ford Foundation, IFP, Points North, and Doc Society and was selected to play at Hot Docs, Full Frame, BlackStar, Camden, New Orleans and Montclair Film Festivals. He is a member of Meerkat Media and Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and is currently based in Harlem.

Rami Younis is a Palestinian writer and cultural activist from Lyd. He was a Religious literacy Project” (RLP) fellow at Harvard Divinity School (2019-2020 Academic year). He’s one of the founders of “Local Call” – a left wing and activist news website in Hebrew, in Israel, and served as a writer and editor there. “Local Call” is also the Hebrew sister site of +972 Magazine, where Rami used to publish in English as well. He is one of the founders of the Palestinian activist group Khotweh, which was active on the issues of home demolitions and Palestinian identity in Lyd and Ramleh, mixed Jewish-Arab cities in occupied Palestine. Younis served as a parliamentary consultant and spokesperson for the Palestinian member of the Knesset Haneen Zoabi. He is also a co-founder and manager of the first-ever Palestine Music Expo, an event that connects the Palestinian music scene to the worldwide industry. (View recent PBS interview with Rami “How a Palestinian Music Festival is Breaking Down Barriers“)

Rami is currently co-directing and producing the Sci-Fi documentary film “Lyd in Exile”, with Sarah Friedland.

Catalina Alvarez’s work across video, performance, and text often highlights strange elements of cultural norms and movements of the human body. Her films have screened at festivals including New Orleans, Los Angeles, Slamdance, Fantastic Fest, Edinburgh Short, Oxford, and Palm Springs. She is a recipient of fellowships from Flux Factory, VCCA, the Flaherty Seminar, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She received her MFA from Temple University in Philadelphia and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Media Arts at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH.

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Oct 3, 2020 at 10:00 am
Oct 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
$335.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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