Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Nov 11, 2022 at 10:00 am – Nov 13, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Entangled Bonds: Working with Family in Documentary Film

With Jordan Lord, Angelo Madsen Minax,Tiffany Sia, Ha'aheo Auwae-Dekker & Judith Helfand

Please note: This workshop will be held in UnionDocs’ new space in Ridgewood!
We’re now at: 352 Onderdonk Ave, Ridgewood,  NY – 11385

Family is a fraught yet frequent starting point for documentary films: a relatable microcosm for understanding both personal experiences and wider cultural frames. Although obtaining “access” to filming one’s family is often taken for granted, making films with family brings to the surface complicated internal dynamics while creating new ones. This three-day workshop will seek to help participants navigate these shifting dynamics, by unpacking familial and filmic bonds––their constrictions, contracts, knots, and forms of care.

The workshop will be led by filmmaker / artist Jordan Lord, whose work focuses on the dependencies and debts that circulate within families, as well as among filmmakers and those who appear on camera. Bringing together a stellar lineup of guests to share their own experiences, we will consider how in both working with home video and family photos and actively filming with family, these processes necessitate evolving ethical considerations and iterative formal approaches.

We will open up questions around remediating family archives, interviewing family members, accounting for the camera’s presence, identifying power relations, setting boundaries, navigating familial trauma, facilitating ongoing consent, and addressing one’s own presence within the film.

Acclaimed filmmakers Angelo Madsen Minax (North by Current), Tiffany Sia (What Rules the Invisible), Ha’aheo Auwae-Dekker – and others to be announced soon – will join the workshop to discuss their own work and think through these questions.

The weekend will end with a group work session dedicated to work-in-progress, and, throughout, participants will be invited to workshop ideas with the group as well as the invited guests.

Seats are limited, so sign up today!


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.

$350 early bird registration by Nov 5th, 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 Nov 5th. After Nov 5th, 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 Nov 5th, 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.

Accessibility: UnionDocs public area is fully ADA compliant. Entrance, workshop space and public restrooms are wheelchair accessible.

CART captioning can be available upon request.

If you have any questions or concerns about accessibility during your visit, please feel free to email us in advance at [email protected].


Friday, Nov 11: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Welcome & intros
10:30am – 12:30pm: Introduction by Jordan Lord + discussion
12:30am – 2:00pm: Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm: Presentation by Angelo Madsen Minax (Zoom) + discussion
4:00pm – 4:30pm – Wrap up, additional exercises / discussion

Saturday, Nov 12: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case study, review of previous day
10:30am – 12:30pm: Presentation by Tiffany Sia + discussion
12:30am – 2:00pm: Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm: Presentation by Judith Helfand + discussion
4:00pm – 4:30pm – Wrap up, additional exercises / discussion

Sunday, Nov 13: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case study, review of previous day
10:30am – 12:30pm: Participant Work In Progress / Group work
12:30am – 2:00pm: Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm: Presentation by Ha’aheo Auwae-Dekker + discussion
4:00pm – 4:30pm – Wrap up, additional exercises / discussion

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


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Jordan Lord is a filmmaker, writer, and artist. Their work addresses the relationships between historical and emotional debts, framing and support, access and documentary. Their films have been shown at festivals and venues including MoMA Doc Fortnight, Dokufest Kosovo, Union Docs, and the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival. Their film Shared Resources won the John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media at the Camden International Film Festival and the Critics Jury Prize at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. They have presented solo exhibitions at Piper Keys and Artists Space. In 2021, they were profiled as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine, and their work has been featured in publications such as Artforum, Screen Slate, Art in America, Millenium Film Journal, and Hyperallergic. They are currently teaching at Vassar College, the New School, and Hunter College.

Photo of Jordan Lord by Chris Berntsen

Image description:
The photo shows Jordan, a white person in their early 30s with short brown hair and a blonde mustache, wearing a gingham dress topped by a brown corduroy vest. They face the camera, standing on a pier with water, a city skyline, and a bridge in the background.

Angelo Madsen Minax is a filmmaker, visual artist, performer, and educator. His projects consider how human relationships are woven through personal and collective histories, cultures, and kinships. Madsen’s works have shown at Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Art of the Real, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Anthology Film Archives, British Film Institute, BAM CinemaFest, European Media Art Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and others. His film, “North By Current” (2021), aired on season 34 of POV (PBS), was nominated for an Independent Spirit award, and won the Cinema Eye Honors Spotlight award, Best Writing from the IDA and numerous festival jury prizes. A New York Times Critics Pick, “North By Current” has been called “A beautiful, complex wonder of a film,” by Rolling Stone and “A titanic work” by Criterion. Madsen is currently a Queer|Art Mentor and an Associate Professor of Time-Based Media at the University of Vermont.

Tiffany Sia (b. Hong Kong) is an artist, filmmaker and writer. She is the founder of Speculative Place, an experimental, independent project space hosting residents working in film, writing and art in Hong Kong. The recipient of the George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker award in 2021, Sia is adjunct teaching at Cooper Union for Spring 2022 and currently lives and works in New York City. Sia directed Never Rest/Unrest, a short experimental film that takes the form of a hand-held cinema about the relentless timeline in Hong Kong from early summer to the end of 2019. The film world premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival as part of a retrospective in their Propositions program and had its North American premiere at MoMA Documentary Fortnight 2021 under a special program titled, Crisis News is a Genre Film. The film has also screened at Prismatic Ground (presented by Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate), San Diego Asian Film Festival and was shown at Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich) and Chen’s [Remote] (New York). Sia’s subsequent short Do Not Circulate, a video essay on a single media and image trail from 2019 in Hong Kong that reckons with leaks, rumor and the occult world premiered at New York Film Festival. The film has also been screened at Double Exposure Film Festival, Linea d’Ombra Festival and elsewhere. The experimental essay short has been written about in Artforum, Art-agenda, MUBI and elsewhere. What Rules The Invisible, Sia’s latest short film, which juxtaposes home movies’ shot by travelers in Hong Kong throughout the 20th century with her mother’s memory of her police, haunting and excrement in postwar Hong Kong, had its world premiere at Open City Documentary Film Festival. The short was showed at New York Film Festival’s Currents program and Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelengths program.

Ha’aheo Auwae-Dekker is a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) artist and filmmaker residing in unceded Duwamish land. They received their Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies from Seattle University. Their work emphasizes their Indigenous experience in the world and hope to create films that reflect a world connected to indigeneity. Their film, Malihini, has been screened at film festivals like the Hawai’i International Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, the Oceanside International Film Festival, and the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) where it was nominated for the Jury Competition in the Best Student Documentary category. When they aren’t creating films, Ha’aheo is facilitating workshops with community members in Seattle on different topics including generational trauma, settler colonialism, healing, media literacy, and training young people in filmmaking.

Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand is best known for her harnessing her unique voice as a first-person filmmaker to explore the worlds of chemical exposure, corporate malfeasance, environmental injustice and  the long-term impact of structural racism colliding with the climate crisis, the politics of official “disasters” and radical possibilities of our nation’s disaster preparedness industry and infrastructure –  UPRISING OF ‘34 (POV ‘95) A HEALTHY BABY GIRL (Sundance premiere/POV ‘97), BLUE VINYL (Sundance premiere//HBO ‘02), LOVE & STUFF (the NYT Op-Doc) 2014, COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE (Indie Lens-PBS  20/22, LOVE & STUFF (Hot Docs ‘20/POV 22). By way of her uncanny gift of marrying dark humor with transparency and juxtaposition she takes these very serious issues and makes them as personal as they are universal, as resonant as they are entertaining – often with her lovable middle class parents and their red wood-turned blue vinyl starter ranch in Long Island as the unassuming yet very radical lightning rod that helped launch a very specific consumer revolution in 2002.  In her feature LOVE & STUFF, a piece that intricately weaves twenty-five years of Helfand’s family-footage-turned-seamless-cinematic portal, she explores the blessing/privilege of living “a good death” followed by very good, communally embraced grief This has led her to her next film-in-progress GOOD MOURNING ETHEL, in which she is diving into the insidious impact of “unresolved grief” on three generations of her family, dating back the flu epidemic of 1918, made all too palpable, real, and finally understood, because of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. Helfand is teaching documentary as an Adjunct Professor/Advisor at the Columbia J School Doc Program, CUNY’s New Market J School Doc Program, and SVA’s SOC-DOC. She is Cofounder of Working Films and Chicken & Egg Pictures where she currently serves as a Senior Creative Consultant. She lives in New York City with her 8-year-old daughter THEO, their bunny COCOA, Fighting Fish Samson, and the upright piano Helfand/s mother bought at 65-years-old because you’re never too old to learn anything. She’s as proud of being a PS 75 parent and PTA member as she is of being a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch. Favorite Reminder: “NO” is ON in reverse.

+ 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


Nov 11, 2022 at 10:00 am
Nov 13, 2022 at 4:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website

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:

UnionDocs is hiring. 

Join the UnionDocs team.

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!