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Nov 9, 2018 at 10:00 am – Nov 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Modes of Making: Producing For Documentary

A three-day intensive on producing for documentary

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

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

The process of bringing a documentary film to light, especially in the independent or experimental landscape, can happen in a multitude of ways. Ideas emerge or are sourced, funding is assembled from multiple grants, funders and campaigns, directors come with particular visions and goals – and even the story itself will have its own creative and practical strengths, challenges and unforeseen turns along the way. Yet the producer is expected in many ways to reign in the uncertainty; to provide stability and a clear path forward.

This three-day intensive workshop will hone in on the work of the creative producer in the process of making independent documentary film. Participants will hear from a range of guest producers and filmmakers who will divulge what they have learned from experience – from the philosophies behind choosing which directors and projects to work on, to the models in which they maintain a living or juggle multiple projects, from how they offer support, be it creative, collaborative, practical, emotional and more. The workshop will cover the fundamentals of producing in all stages of production, from pitching and fundraising to an overview of the day-to-day tasks of producing. The goal of the intensive is for participants to more deeply understand the role of the producer. They will explore and develop their own models and approaches towards their own producing practice, and towards working with producers to make their own projects a success. The workshop is geared towards emerging through mid-career producers, filmmakers, journalists and artists of all kinds.


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 (and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required).

$300 early bird registration by October 26th, 2018 at 5PM; $285 for members.

$350 regular registration; $335 for members.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until October 26th. After October 26th, 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.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash. After the early bird registration deadline of October 26th, 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, Nov 9, – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Danielle Varga

PM:  Jamila Wignot

Saturday, Nov 10, – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Kellen Quinn

PM: Ligaiya Romero

Sunday, Nov 11 – 10:00a - 5:00p

AM: Laura Coxson

PM: Steve Holmgren

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


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training.


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Danielle Varga is a creative producer in nonfiction film based in Brooklyn. She co-produced Kirsten Johnson’s award-winning film Cameraperson which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, was released by Janus Films/The Criterion Collection. She most recently was consulting producer on This is Home (Sundance 2018) and Charm City (Tribeca 2018) and produced the short documentary Watched which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. She has also spend several years working in archival; she was associate producer on Johanna Hamilton’s documentary 1971, which won an IDA award for archival footage, and archival producer on Matt Wolf’s feature documentary, Teenage. Prior to her work in independent film, Danielle worked on a number of documentaries for television, including PBS’s Frontline, American Experience and Makers series, as well Bill Moyers’ Weekly Current Affairs program. Danielle was a 2016-2017 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and a 2017 IFP Rough Cut Lab fellow. She is currently producing several feature length documentaries including Brett Story’s The Hottest August, Rachel Elizabeth Seed’s A Photographic Memory and Todd Chandler’s Untitled Safe Schools Project.

Laura Coxson is a New York City-based documentary producer who began her career at Maysles Films. Recent films include Chef Flynn (2018) which premiered at Sundance, played the Berlinale and SXSW and will open theatrically this November, and The Proposal (2018), with Field of Vision, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and earning special mentions at Hot Docs and Sheffield. Iris (2015), Albert Maysles’ last film, premiered at the 2014 New York Film Festival and was released by Magnolia Pictures. She has done archival research/ producing for the shorts Bayard and Me (2017) and Graven Image (2017), as well as features Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (2018), National Geographic TV series I Am Rebel (2016) and is currently working on a film about Keith Haring. Coxson produced The Love We Make (2012) with Paul McCartney for Showtime; Muhammad and Larry (2009) for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series; and a Documentary Yearbook piece for the 81st Academy Awards. She previously worked for Janus films, notably on the theatrical release of The Great Beauty (2013 Academy Award Winner- Foreign Language Film). In 2017, she was chosen to take part in the Impact Partners Producers Salon and in 2018 was invited to the Sundance Creative Producing Summit.

Steve Holmgren is an Entertainment Attorney and Film Producer based in NY and CA – originally from MN. He specializes in independent film and television legal, providing services to projects from Development through Distribution. As a Producer, he has worked with filmmakers such as Adam and Zack Khalil (INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place./it flies. falls./]), Matthew Porterfield (Putty Hill; I Used to be Darker), Marie Losier (The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye), Cory McAbee (Crazy & Thief), and John Gianvito (Far From Afghanistan feat. filmmakers Travis Wilkerson, Soon-Mi Yoo, Minda Martin and Jon Jost). He worked with the Brooklyn nonprofit documentary arts center UnionDocs as the organization’s first dedicated Programmer, organizing hundreds of screenings and events from 2009-2014, and is currently the head of their Advisory Committee.

More info: www.steadyorbits.com and www.uniondocs.org

Holmgren has served on juries at film festivals such as CPH: Pix, Oberhausen, Black Maria and the Riviera Maya Coproduction Lab. He has collaborated with film arts organizations in granting and professional development initiatives such as IFP NY, SFFilm, the Brooklyn Arts Council and Creative Capital. Holmgren previously worked in film production with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s HDNetFilms, film sales with Cactus 3, and in institutional distribution with Gartenberg Media Enterprises. In addition to this, Holmgren has worked with film festivals including Tribeca, Sound Unseen and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. He has spoken on panels and presented at workshops with organizations including the New York Film/Video Council and Visible Evidence, and with film festivals such as Sundance, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Berlinale. He is an alum of the Cannes Producers Network program and previously taught at Pratt Institute’s Film/Video Dept. He likes to travel and collects bags.

Jamila Wignot is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her body of work includes The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, which won a Peabody, Emmy, and Dupont award; Town Hall, a feature-length co-production with ITVS about the Tea Party movement; and for the American Experience series, the Peabody Award-winning, Triangle Fire and Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Wignot’s producing credits include The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET’s series The Supreme Court,  which was an IDA Best Limited Series winner, and Street Fighting Man. She produced Sundance Award-winning director Musa Syeed’s narrative feature, A Stray, which premiered at SXSW in 2016. She is currently directing the first feature-length documentary about the life and work of visionary choreographer, Alvin Ailey.

Kellen Quinn graduated from Wesleyan University in 2005 with a dual degree in Film and Russian & East European Studies. From 2006 to early 2009, he worked at the Tribeca Film Festival, first on the festival’s original content team, and then in the programming department. From April 2009 to May 2012, Kellen was the deputy director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In late 2012 he developed Aeon Video, a program of curated and original short documentaries for Aeon Magazine. In addition to overseeing Aeon Video, he produces independently. Current projects include the feature-length documentaries Midnight Family (dir. Luke Lorentzen) and Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade (dir. Daniel Hymanson), both in post-production. His first feature documentary, Brimstone & Glory (dir. Viktor Jakovleski, 2017) premiered at True/False, won best documentary at San Francisco International Film Festival, played at Hot Docs, Sheffield, AFI DOCS and over 50 others, was released by Oscilloscope and aired on POV. In 2016 Kellen was among six producers selected for Impact Partners’ Documentary Producers Fellowship. In 2017 and 2018, he was a Sundance Documentary Creative Producing Fellow.

Ligaiya Romero is a documentary filmmaker and visual artist working with collective memory and the decolonial imagination. She lives and works in Bushwick, Brooklyn, near her lola’s apartment and her family’s first home. She is currently working on a photography project about inherited memory, hidden histories, and her family.

Ligaiya is the Video Producer & Editor for The Argus Project, a transmedia documentary on police violence and citizen counter-surveillance. The project was supported by Tribeca New Media Fund and presented at Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes 2016. Her work has been recognized by the SXSW Interactive Awards, the Webby Awards, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Photo District News, College Photographer of the Year and the New York Photo Awards, among others. She was previously a documentary producer and editor at MediaStorm.

Ligaiya is a fellow at Firelight Media’s Documentary Story Lab and a member of the Queer Producers Collective. Recently, she was a Visiting Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism, teaching documentary film and photography. She is currently working on a project about brujx feminism and decolonial magic as resistance.

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Nov 9, 2018 at 10:00 am
Nov 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm
$335.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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