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Jan 13, 2024 at 10:00 am – Jan 14, 2024 at 4:30 pm

In the Wings: Edgelands & Atmospherics

With Deborah Stratman, Mary Helena Clark, & Kevin Jerome Everson

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

Join UnionDocs and filmmaker Deborah Stratman (Last Things, O’er The Land) to explore questions of the margins, and what we’re calling the edgelands.

In what’s traditionally called Fiction, there’s an interior vision manifested or re-told—something is choreographed.  The creative trajectory is inside>out.  In Non-Fiction a subject is discovered—some control is ceded to an accidental outside.  The path is outside>in.  But if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know some of the most vital cinema happening today vibrates between and beyond these authorial desires.

Over two days we’ll wade into this murky territory to ask where are the edges of the documentary?  Who gets to define them?  What happens where index ends and fiction begins?  What is the site of the event?  How does the ground change the figure?  How do we navigate today’s documentary-fiction borderlands? How do we craft a film’s atmosphere and what can be the tools to construct it?  Where do we make room for accidents in our practice while using staged settings? Led by the incredible Deborah Stratman who will help us challenge these traditional definitions, this workshop will also invite and delve into the work of Kevin Jerome Everson and Mary Helena Clark.

Together we will refine and question the art of what we call documentary through the lens of “The Container”.  We’ll explore the idea of site as a ready-made set, and site as an atmosphere.  Documentary donut with fictional filling, found ‘sets’ for staged actions, fictionalized figures on un-staged grounds.  And vice versa!  We’ll start from Ursula K. LeGuin’s Carrier Bag theory of fiction and move outward / inward / otherward.

One session will be dedicated to works-in-progress for participants.

This workshop is open to filmmakers, film producers, journalists, media artists, scholars and anyone who’d like to delve into the edges of documentary.

Seats are limited, so sign up today!

NOTE: This workshop will require in-person participation from all participants. Each participant must present proof of vaccination. Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected].


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, film producers, choreographers, dancers, performance and media artists looking to develop the cinematic languages with which they can represent and incorporate movement.

$295 early bird registration by January 6th, 2023 at 11:59PM.

$350 regular registration.

For each workshop, UnionDocs will offer the equivalent of 2 full scholarships for participants from historically marginalized backgrounds, who are BIPOC,  living with disabilities, or NYC artists earning under 30% AMI (Area Median Income).

Applicants should reach out to [email protected] in order to fill out a scholarship inquiry by January 1st, 2024.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until January 6th. After January 6th, 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 January 6th, 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, Jan 13: 10:00AM - 7:30PM

10:00am – 10:30am Welcome & intros
10:30am – 12:30pm Intro session with Deborah Stratman
12:30am – 2pm Lunch
2pm – 4:00pm Session with Guest 1
4:00pm – 6:00pm Wrap up discussion with LEAD

Sunday, Jan 14: 10:00AM - 4:30PM

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, work in progress discussion
10:30am – 12:30pm Participant work in progress
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Session with Guest 2
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with LEAD, additional exercises / discussion

4:30pm – 6:00pm Happy Hour @UnionDocs  

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


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman makes work that investigates issues of power, control and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. She regards sound as the ultimate multi-tool and time to be supernatural. Recent projects have addressed freedom, surveillance, public speech, sinkholes, levitation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, evolution, extinction, exodus, sisterhood and faith. She’s exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA (NY), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Hammer Museum (LA), Witte de With (Rotterdam), PS1 (NY), Tabakalera (San Sebastian), Austrian Film Museum (Vienna), Yerba Buena Center (SF), MCA (Chicago), Whitney Biennial (NY) and has done site-specific projects with venues including the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Temporary Services, Hallwalls, Mercer Union and Ballroom Marfa. Stratman’s films have been featured widely at festivals and conferences including Sundance, Viennale, Berlinale, CPH:DOX, Oberhausen, True/False, TIFF, Locarno, Rotterdam, the Flaherty and Docs Kingdom. She is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim and USA Collins Fellowships, an Alpert Award, Sundance Art of Nonfiction Award and grants from Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, Harpo Foundation and Wexner Center for the Arts. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.

Mary Helena Clark is an artist and filmmaker based in Queens, New York. Mary Helena CLARK (1983, USA) makes films and videos in which she explores narrative figures of speech, the materiality of film and the painting technique trompe l’oeil. She aims to make trance-like, transparent films. Clark’s work has been screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, Wexner Art Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Artist/Filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson was born and raised in Mansfield Ohio. He has a MFA from Ohio University and a BFA from the University of Akron. He is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville Virginia. He has made eight feature length films and over one-hundred and twenty short films, including such award winning films as Park Lanes (2015)The Island of Saint Matthews (2013), Erie (2010), Quality Control (2011), Ten Five in the Grass (2012), Cinnamon (2006), Spicebush (2005), Stone, Pictures From Dorothy (2004), Century (2013), Fe26 (2014), Sound That (2014), Sugarcoated Arsenic (2013) with Claudrena Harold and Emergency Needs (2007). Most recently he has presented the eight-hour long film, Park Lanes (2015). He also has a DVD box set of his films called Broad Daylight and Other Times with a catalog distributed by Video Data Bank.

Everson’s films and artwork have been widely shown, at venues including Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Oberhausen Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Whitechapel Gallery in London, National Gallery in Washington DC and Centre Pompidou in Paris. The work has also been recognized through awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Alpert Award, a Creative Capital Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, NEH Fellowships, Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, and an American Academy in Rome Prize.

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Jan 13, 2024 at 10:00 am
Jan 14, 2024 at 4:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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