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Friday, Jun 22 at 7:00 pm – Sunday, Jun 24 at 6:00 pm

Documentary Fundamentals 2018

With Lana Wilson

A nuts-and-bolts professional development series designed for the emerging or intermediate documentary filmmaker, Documentary Fundamentals @ UnionDocs is a seven-part program taking place over the course of one weekend. Registrants can also attend individual sessions. This curriculum developed out of our experience hearing what fundamentals documentarians need to understand to plan, produce, and release an independent documentary today.

This year’s Documentary Fundamentals course is led by the director of The Departure, the critically acclaimed, Independent Spirit Award-nominated portrait of a punk-turned-priest who helps suicidal people find reasons to live, at the cost of his own health and family life. Join us for a special weekend where we will screen the film and have discussions with director Lana Wilson and many special guests.


$125.00Add to cart

The full series pass includes access to all of the 2018 Documentary Fundamentals sessions listed below and the public screening of The Departure. You can also tailor your Doc Fundamentals attendance to your personal needs and select each course a la carte for $25/session.


Day 1: Friday, June 22

7:00 pm — Planning Your Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure), Sabrina Schmidt Gordon (Quest, BadDDD Sonia Sanchez), and media attorney Innes Smolansky 

9:00 pm —The Departure Screening

With Lana Wilson (The Departure)

Day 2: Saturday, June 23

11:00 am — Financing Your Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure), Maxyne Franklin (Doc Society), Kelsey Koenig (Impact Partners), Jeff Seelbach (First Look Media)

2:00 pm — Directing and Shooting Your Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure), Stephen Maing (Crime + Punishment, High Tech, Low Life) and Emily Topper (After Tiller, The Departure).

4:00 pm — Editing Your Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure),  Penelope Falk (Step, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work) and Ruy Garcia (The Night Of, Boardwalk Empire)

Day 3: Sunday, June 24

2:00 pm — Post-Production for Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure), Penny Lane (NUTS!, Our Nixon) and Seth Ricart (RCO)

4:00 pm —  Releasing Your Documentary

With Lana Wilson (The Departure), Jason Ishikawa (Cinetic Media) and Susan Norget (Susan Norget Film Promotion)


Lana Wilson director headshot

Lana Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director, writer, and producer based in New York. Hermost recent film, The Departure, premiered in competition at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim and went on to be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. The Departure was called “A work of art” by the San Francisco Chronicle, “Poetic, profound, and devastating” by the Hollywood Reporter, and “A genuinely spiritual experience” by The Washington PostThe Departure was theatrically released in 30 US cities last fall and nationally broadcast on PBS early this year. 

Wilson’s first film, After Tiller (co-directed by Martha Shane)premiered at Sundance in 2013 and went on to win an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, four Cinema Eye Honors, and the Ridenhour Prize. After Tiller was theatrically released in 50 US cities by Oscilloscope and nationally broadcast on POV.

Wilson has also worked in television, including writing and producing the premiere episode of the miniseries I Am Rebel for National Geographic Studios. Wilson’s work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, ITVS, Candescent Films, Artemis Rising Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the Tribeca Film Institute, the IDA, NYSCA, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She is a 2018 Women at Sundance Fellow and holds a B.A. in Film Studies and Dance from Wesleyan University.

Presented With


Friday, Jun 22 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, Jun 24 at 6:00 pm


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

Into My Life


Collaborative Studio film premiering at Tribeca and HotDocs! A rich, overlooked archive paying tribute to the work of a mother-daughter duo

World Records


We’ve launched our new peer-reviewed documentary journal World Records. Volume I, The Documentary Camera, is now online!