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Friday, May 3 at 10:00 am – Sunday, May 5 at 5:00 pm

Worlds Made Real: Storytelling for Immersive Documentary

Led by Sean Flynn

For filmmakers and media artists, immersive media technologies present an ever-changing palette of tools and techniques for capturing and presenting documentary stories. Volumetric video, photogrammetry, 360 cameras and game engines are used to virtually reconstruct actual people, places and events. Head-mounted displays for VR and AR, along with increasingly powerful mobile phones and web browsers, enable audiences to engage with nonfiction media in more interactive and participatory ways, giving them choices about where to look, what to click, and how to experience a story. By forcing creators to give up some degree of control, these tools also require new modes of production and distribution that are distinct from film and other forms of visual storytelling.

This workshop, led by Sean Flynn, will explore the creative possibilities and challenges of making immersive documentaries. In presentations and workshops led by guest speakers, students will be exposed to a range of design strategies, tools, production processes and funding/distribution models for making documentaries in VR and AR.

Throughout the weekend, students will have an opportunity to put these ideas into practice by developing their own concepts or treatments for an immersive documentary project, while refining these ideas through feedback sessions with experienced creators and industry leaders. They will leave better equipped to communicate their ideas to funders and potential collaborators.


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, interactive storytellers and producers.

Before the course  you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in filmmaking practice and your project, plus a bio.

This workshop is three full days; please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule.

$300 early bird registration by April 17th, 2019 at 5PM; $285 for members.

$350 regular registration; $335 for members.

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.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of April 17th, 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.


Friday, May 3

AM: Sean Flynn

PM: Alex Suber

Saturday, May 4

AM: Alex Porter

PM: Jamie Pallot

Sunday, May 5

AM: Lauren Hutchinson

PM: Zeina Abi Assy

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


Warm up, inspiring references, case study.


Presentation by guest speaker


Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Sean Flynn is a Co-Founder and Program Director at the Points North Institute, a Maine-based media arts organization that produces the Camden International Film Festival and other programs that serve as a launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers. In this role, Sean designs, curates and produces multiple artist support programs for documentary filmmakers, a 3-day industry conference, and the Storyforms exhibition of immersive nonfiction media. Sean received a master’s degree from MIT’s Comparative Media Studies department, where he worked as a researcher at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and wrote the thesis “Evaluating Interactive Documentaries: Audience, Impact and Innovation in Public Interest Media”. Sean began his documentary career at Principle Pictures as a producer and cinematographer working on two feature-length films, BEYOND BELIEF and THE LIST, both of which had their premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired on national television.

Alex Suber is a storyteller and experience designer working at the intersection of technology and media. His time behind the lens focuses on documentary stories at the verge of culture. After graduating from Colorado College with a degree in Philosophy, Alex was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, giving him the opportunity to carry out a year-long independently designed project on emergent cinema in Asia.

Since returning stateside he has focused on crafting VR/AR experiences along with an array of immersive projects spanning holography and interactive installations. His most recent immersive experience {THE AND} premiered at IDFA DocLab 2017 and his immersive works have been featured on Billboard, Slant, Cineaste, and NYT. He is currently completing an artist residency at the Verizon 5G Lab while working as Lead Tech Producer at The Endless Co.

Alexander Porter speaks in the third person when writing bios. He considers himself an experimental photographer, knowing full well that no one knows what that means. He combines a life-long appreciation for photography with emerging computational imaging and ‘reality capture’ techniques.

He is the co-founder of DepthKit, a company creating software that enables filmmakers to create volumetric and virtual reality films. He has been facilitating access to this technique by teaching workshops internationally, designing open source tools for public engagement, and creating experimental films and installations.

Alexander’s work has taken him from an ill-fated plane ride with Rihanna, to the Isthmus of Corinth cataloguing the minute surfaces of historic lamps, to photographing Bill Clinton, to directing a virtual reality documentary in the New York City subway, to South Korea using a 3D scanner to investigating the role of video games in the lives of one of the most wired societies on earth.

Alexander is a founder and former creative director at Scatter (formerly Specular), a design studio pursuing the application of photography & interactivity towards immersive stories, including the award winning virtual reality documentary Zero Days VR. Scatter was an inaugural member of New Museum’s NEW INC, the first museum-led incubator and maintains a studio in Brooklyn.

Alexander runs workshops and classes including most recently a photogrammetry workshop called Exquisite Citiesin Belgrade, an ongoing course called Computational Portraiture at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, The Camera of The Future at the Museum of Art & Design & various DepthKit Workshops.

Jamie Pallot is co-founder, with Nonny de la Peña, of Emblematic Group, a pioneering VR/AR/XR company that has produced award-winning content for partners including The New York Times, Google, The Wall Street Journal, Mozilla, the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, and the World Economic Forum.

Notable recent Emblematic projects have included two room-scale VR documentaries made in partnership with PBS Frontline: Greenland Melting, about the factors driving the decline of the Arctic ice cap, and After Solitary, about conditions at the Maine State Prison.

Zeina Abi Assy is a writer and media artist from Lebanon. She is the Director of Interactive Programs at Tribeca Film Institute where she blends her background in graphic design, digital media and creative writing to create programs that focus on the power of incubation in emerging media. With experience in the Middle East and North America, her work moves between cultural criticism and fictional poetry to investigate the complexity of culture, technology and politics and their effects on our lived experiences. Her work has appeared in the printed anthology “Arab Women Voice New Realities.” Previously, she co-founded an art and literary organization called The Seventh Wave.

Lauren Hutchinson is a reporter and producer for BBC World Service radio on technology and storytelling. She is the Creator and Co-Director of PILGRIM, an interactive audio experience based on the Camino de Santiago, which Premiered at IDFA, the world’s largest International Documentary Film Festival. She hosts the podcast Stroke of Genius. She has a PhD in History of Science, with a focus on oral history, and was a Wellcome Trust Imperial Media Fellow. She is currently also an Artist in Residence at the Made in New York Media Center in Brooklyn where she runs workshops in immersive audio and is a Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies (ISET) lab.


Friday, May 3 at 10:00 am
Sunday, May 5 at 5:00 pm
$285 – $300


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States
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Early Registration$300.002019.5.3- Worlds Made Real

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