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Dec 9, 2022 at 10:00 am – Dec 11, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Playing Fields: Documentary as a Form of Sport

With Nellie Kluz, Yoni Brook, Emily Drummer, Simon Liu & Sharon Lockhart

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

How can we think of documentary as a form of sport? In this three-day intensive workshop, guests and participants will have the opportunity to explore how filmmakers / cinematographers set rules of play for their projects, and delineate spaces for people to perform or engage in their non-fiction work.

The workshop will look at how filmmakers choreograph their work, setting up dynamics between people and camera in a particular location. We’ll discuss how filmmakers collaborate with people they’re filming, in terms of teamwork and hierarchy. As “jockumentarians,” we’ll think collectively about how creating nonfiction material can be a type of game, using rules or drills to generate unexpected outcomes.

Join UnionDocs and filmmaker Nellie Kluz (Serpents and Doves, Gold Party), who makes nonfiction films often embedded with a community and in bounded spaces, and also works as a cameraperson for How To With John Wilson to think through these questions with a stellar group of guests. 

Simon Liu (Devil’s Peak, Happy Valley, Signal 8)  will discuss his work in a specific city, Hong Kong, seeking out images, and setting the rules of interaction with this space. Sharon Lockart will discuss how she choreographs, sets rules for her work and creates spaces for films to unfold. Yoni Brook (Philly D.A., Menashe) will discuss how he works with diverse locations, and his approach to collaborating with people he’s filming. Emily Drummer (Field Resistance, Histories of Simulated Intimacy) will discuss her work in relation to the natural world. 

This workshop is open to filmmakers / cinematographers , film producers, journalists, media artists, scholars and anyone who’d like to delve into expansive ways of playing with fields in non-fiction. 

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 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 Dec 2nd, 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 Dec 2nd. After Dec 2nd, 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 Dec 2nd, 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, Dec 9: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Welcome & intros
10:30am – 12:30pm Introduction with Nellie Kluz
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Simon Liu
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Nellie, additional exercises / discussion

Saturday, Dec 10: 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 Sharon Lockhart (Zoom)
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Nellie, additional exercises / discussion

Sunday, Dec 11: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case study, review of previous day
10:30am – 12:30pm Yoni Brook
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Emily Drummer
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Nellie, additional exercises / discussion

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


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Nellie Kluz makes nonfiction films about collective belief systems and the infrastructures that support them. Her work has screened at venues including Camden International Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, European Media Art Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Maryland Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, and others. She received an MFA in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Faces of Independent Film” for 2017. She has taught filmmaking at the California Institute of the Arts and at the University of Iowa, and works as a cameraperson on the HBO show How to With John Wilson.

Simon Liu is a film artist who seeks to build a lyrical catalogue of the rapidly evolving psychogeography of his place of origin in Hong Kong through alternative documentary forms, abstract diary films, multi-channel video installations and 16mm projection performances. By exploiting abstraction and inverting observational cinema practices, the works formally manifest hidden energies and histories within civic space, developing new language to investigate censorship, concealment, nostalgia, and self expression at a time of unease both within the city and globally. Liu’s work has been presented at film festivals and museums internationally including the Berlinale Forum Expanded, Toronto International Film Festival: Wavelengths, International Film Festival Rotterdam: Tiger Short Competition, New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New Films with MoMA & Film at Lincoln Center, BFI London Film Festival, The Shed, M+ Museum, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Portland Institute of ContemporaryArt, Museum of Contemporary Art LA, Cinéma du Réel, Punto de Vista, Viennale, “Dreamlands: Expanded”, and a solo-program at the Museum of Modern Art as part of their Modern Mondays series. The M+ Museum and MoMA recently included Liu’s Quadruple 16mm Projection Highview, along with other recent works, in their Permanent Collections. Liu is a 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, a teacher at the Cooper Union School of Art, and a member of Negativeland; an artist-run film lab in Brooklyn. Liu is currently editing his first feature film, Staffordshire Hoard.

Sharon Lockhart (born 1964) is an American artist living and working in Los Angeles. In a diverse practice that includes installation, photography, film, painting and sculpture, Lockhart creates compelling and complex interactions between the various media and forms she employs, histories she encounters, and the communities and people she collaborates with.Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at international institutions including Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain; Middelheim Museum, Antwerp: Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover: Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Fonzadione Fotografia Modena, Italy; the Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon; Arts Club of Chicago; Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; Jewish Museum, Israel Museum; Wiener Secession, Austria; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Wolfsburg Museum, Germany; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2017, Lockhart represented Poland at the 57th Venice Biennale with her multidisciplinary project, Little Review, organized with National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland, and later presented a selection of works from the Venice Biennale at FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Ohio. Her works have been presented in additional biennials, including the Shanghai Biennale (2014); the Liverpool Biennial (2014), and the Whitney Biennial (1997, 2000, 2004). Her films have been included in the New York Film Festival, Vienna International Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival, among others.

Yoni Brook is a film director, producer, and cinematographer. As a director, his films have screened at Sundance, Berlinale, True/False, and the New York and Toronto Film Festivals. His credits include the 8-part docuseries PHILLY D.A. (PBS/Topic,duPont-Columbia Award Winner, Gotham Award Winner “Best Breakthrough Nonfiction Series”, ), MENASHE (Film Independent Spirit Nominee, A24, dir. Joshua Z Weinstein) and VALLEY OF SAINTS (Film Independent Spirit Nominee, Sundance World Dramatic Audience Award Winner, dir. Musa Syeed). For PBS’s POV series, Brook co-directed BRONX PRINCESS (with Musa Syeed). Brook also co-directed THE CALLING, a four hour docuseries about young religious leaders for PBS Independent Lens. His directorial debut, A SON’S SACRIFICE won Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival, IDA’s Best Documentary Short, and broadcast on PBS Independent Lens. Brook is an alumnus of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College.

Emily Drummer is a filmmaker who uses immersive research as a starting point to investigate the dynamic between technology and the natural world. She received her MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Iowa and her BA from Hampshire College. She is a Princess Grace Film Honoraria recipient and a Flaherty Film Seminar fellow. Drummer’s work has been showcased by venues including Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Block Museum, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, and Toronto’s Pleasure Dome. Essays about her work have recently been published in Millennium Film Journal and the Brooklyn Rail. Drummer lives and works between Amherst, MA and Brooklyn, NY.

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Dec 9, 2022 at 10:00 am
Dec 11, 2022 at 4:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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