As a registered 501(c)3 organization, UnionDocs acts as a fiscal sponsor for select non-fiction projects.
We do not accept submissions for fiscal sponsorship, nor do we conduct open calls for applications at this time.
Fiscally Sponsored Projects
Cinema on the Edge with Karin Chien, Shelly Kraicer and J.P. Sniadecki
Karin Chien is a producer and distributor committed to championing independent voices from around the world. Karin is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Producer’s Award, and the producer of ten independent feature films, including STONES IN THE SUN (2012), JACK AND DIANE (2012), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011), THE EXPLODING GIRL (2009), THE MOTEL (2005) and ROBOT STORIES (2002). Her films have won over 100 festival awards, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Films Festivals, been nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards and received distribution in over 30 countries. Karin is the founder/president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent cinema from mainland China, and a co-creator of the Cinema on the Edge series. Karin is also the creator & director of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Fellowship, a mentoring program for emerging Asian American media professionals. Karin is based in Los Angeles and teaches Producing at Loyola Marymount University and Temple University.
Pills Shelly Kraicer
Shelly Kraicer is a Canadian writer, critic, and film curator. He was born in Toronto, Canada and has a degree in philosophy from Yale University. He moved to Beijing to study Chinese in 2003 and stayed for 11 years. He has studied Chinese language at the University of Toronto, Beijing Language University, and the International Chinese Language program at the National Taiwan University. He programmed the Chinese-language films for the Vancouver International Film Festival for 8 years and has curated special programs on the Fourth Generation, Johnnie To, and Chinese independent cinema for International Film Festival Rotterdam, IndieLisboa, and BAFICI Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival respectively. He has also been a consultant for the Venice, Udine, Dubai, and Rotterdam film festivals. Shelly has served on many film festival competition juries in Sydney, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Toronto. His film criticism, focussing on new Chinese-language films, has appeared in journals such as Cinema Scope, Positions, Cineaste, the Village Voice, Screen International, and the New York Times.
J.P. Sniadecki is a filmmaker, anthropologist, and professor of documentary media at Northwestern University in Chicago. His films, which include Demolition / Chaiqian (2008), Foreign Parts (with Verena Paravel, 2010), People’s Park (with Libbie Cohn, 2012), Yumen (with Huang Xiang and Xu Ruotao, 2013) and The Iron Ministry (2014), have won many awards at festivals around the world. His work has been featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennale, the 2014 Shanghai Biennale, the UCCA in Beijing, the MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Natural History in New York, and a special section of BIFF 2012. He has written on Chinese independent cinema for Cinema Scope, Visual Anthropology Review, 电影作者 and DV-Made China (Hawaii University Press).
A film series unlike any other, “Cinema on the Edge: Best of Beijing Independent Film 2012-2014” celebrated the daring spirit and creative innovation of independent filmmakers and festival organizers in mainland China.
The film series featured 18 programs of outstanding recent Chinese independent cinema, showcasing the work of such acclaimed filmmakers as Ai Weiwei, Li Luo, Hu Jie, Zou Xueping and Yang Mingming. The series was organized and curated by three of Chinese independent cinema’s most committed supporters: producer and distributor Karin Chien, critic and curator Shelly Kraicer, and filmmaker and anthropologist J.P. Sniadecki. Seven of NYC’s most revered film and cultural institutions will present these works: Anthology Film Archives, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Asia Society, Maysles Cinematheque, Museum of Chinese in America, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and UnionDocs.
Following the successful NYC screening series, in 2016 Cinema on the Edge launched China Now: Independent Visions, an international tour to celebrate the daring spirit and creative innovation of independent filmmakers and festival organizers in mainland China.
Learn more at: http://cinemaontheedge.com/
The Fire We Will Become by Gloria Carrión
Gloria Carrión Fonseca
Nicaraguan Screenwriter and Director. She has written and directed a series of short documentary and fiction films that have been screened in national and international film festivals. She has a Masters Degree in Documentary Filmmaking from Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina; a Filmmaking Diploma from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; and a Msc. in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics, United Kingdom. The Fire We Will Become is her first full-length documentary film.
THE FIRE WE WILL BECOME follows filmmaker Gloria Carrion’s family’s silence and how it inspires her search, through a kaleidoscope of memories, to challenge the myth of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua and seek closure from the pain caused by the country’s collective amnesia. It was selected for the 2014 IDFA Bertha Fund and awarded the 2015 TFI Latin America Fund. The film is currently in production. It is directed by Gloria Carrion and produced by Natalia Hernández and T. Woody Richman.
Penny Lane is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012. Her most recent film NUTS! premiered at Sundance 2016, where it won a Special Jury Award for Editing. It has since been included in numerous other film festivals such as Hot Docs, Full Frame, Ashland, Maryland, Cleveland, Sarasota and BAFICI. The film is now in wide distribution. Her debut feature-length documentary OUR NIXON premiered at Rotterdam 2013, had its North American premiere at SXSW, won the Ken Burns Award for “Best of the Festival” at Ann Arbor, and was selected as the Closing Night Film at New Directors/New Films. The film is in wide distribution, and has aired on CNN, ARTE France, and many other television outlets worldwide. Penny’s films have also screened at AFI FEST, Antimatter, IMPAKT, Images Festival, Oberhausen, FLEX FEST, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Rooftop Films, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and many other venues. Penny has been awarded grants from Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Jerome Foundation, LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, IFP and Puffin Foundation. She was named “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009. Penny’s short films are distributed by VTAPE and include titles such as THE VOYAGERS (2010), THE COMMONERS (2009) and WE ARE THE LITTLETONS: A TRUE STORY. Her 2005 short THE ABORTION DIARIES has become an important organizing and educational tool across the nation. THE ABORTION DIARIES has screened in at least 42 states & worldwide at over 350 different community venues, ranging from bars to art centers to clinics to colleges, and also on Yes! Television and Free Speech TV. In 2006, Penny was given a Choice USA “Generation Award” for her work on this film. She received her MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College. She has taught film, video and new media art at Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University, where she lives in a very old house and shows movies in her barn. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name (see Purchase FAQ).
NUTS! is a feature length documentary [directed by Penny Lane] about Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station.
Using animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a hilariously unreliable narrator, NUTS! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth and influence in Depression-era America.
Along the way, he transplants tens of thousands of goat testicles; amasses an enormous fortune; is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas; builds the world’s most powerful radio station; invents junk mail, the infomercial, the sound-truck and Border Radio; hosts some epic parties; and annoys the heck out of the establishment, until finally his audacious actions force the federal government to create regulations to stop him.
How he does it, and what happens when it all comes crashing down, is the story of NUTS!
2016 Sundance U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing
2016 Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam
Learn more at: http://www.nutsthefilm.com/
Alison S.M. Kobayashi is an identity contortionist. Her award-winning and multi-disciplinary work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, film festivals, and cinema internationally. Kobayashi performs a variety of characters that are both studiously and playfully rendered. These personas are inspired by Kobayashi’s extensive collection of lost, discarded and donated objects; ranging from answering machine tapes purchased at a secondhand shop to a love letter left on a sidewalk. Through repeated interaction with the objects (listening, transcribing, re-enactment, play) narratives and imagery begin to manifest and inspire performances, videos, installations and drawings. The results are humorous, low-fi artifacts of an artist embodying the lives of others. Cameron Bailey of TIFF wrote, “Kobayashi is the future of Toronto filmmaking”. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar and her body of work was a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival, Indonesia. In 2012, she was commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, France to produce her first live performance, Defense Mechanism, and has since focused on translating her video works into live events. Alison S.M Kobayashi was born in Mississauga, Canada. She received her high honors for degree in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto. Kobayashi is based in Brooklyn and Toronto. She is the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs, a Center for Documentary Art.
Kobayashi presents a new performance and exhibition based on two audio spools hidden inside an obsolete wire recorder purchased at an estate sale. The recordings capture the voices of a New York family spanning 1952 to 1954. The narrative contained in the recording is a puzzle peppered with fragmented and overlapping dialogue, a charming living room drama rich with the eccentricities of family dynamics preformed for the tape recorder. Decoding the document and using it as both soundtrack and inspiration, Kobayashi creates a new installation containing videos, drawings and book works that reimagine the events, characters, and references from the recording.
Over several performances, an intimate audience is privy to a script ‘read through’ where Kobayashi acts as both director and performer, contextualizing the recording with her research (and imagination) and tangentially exploring character’s personal histories — from the Ivy League to the pornographic. In Kobayashi’s practice, “personal histories get farther from fact as we learn to tell a better story.” Say Something Bunny! plays with what authentic memory is, preserving narrative details from source material and fictionalizing the rest.
Say Something Bunny! premiered at Gallery TPW in Toronto in February 2016. It will have an NYC run in Spring 2017.
Soy Andina II: The Return by Mitch Teplitsky
Mitch is a documentary film producer and marketing consultant for producers and small businesses. As a producer, he’s best known for “Soy Andina,” the story of a New York dancer’s journey to Peru to reconnect with roots and dance. He is currently completing “New American Girls,” a web series about three young undocumented women. Mitch was awarded a Fulbright grant in 2012 to return to Peru to collaborate on a multimedia magazine about Andean culture. Born in the Bronx, Mitch love bicycling and doing yoga, as well as playing guitar with a Peruvian music group.
In this long-awaited sequel to Soy Andina, Nelida moves back to Peru as a social entrepreneur to help rural women start businesses. That’s a big challenge in the Andes, where many women are marginalized. But few things deter Nelida, and she succeeds in organizing cooperatives around local skills like weaving and quinoa. Then the unexpected happens — she’s invited to run for mayor of the province by a new political party. Fed up with Llamellin’s stagnation and it’s corrupt leadership, she accepts the challenge. The film follows Nelida’s exuberant campaign. But will her message of “sustainable development” resonate in the isolated Andes? A story of an immigrant who returns home to give back. And it’s a universal story about people and cultures grappling with rapid change in a globalized world.
Currently in post-production.