Meet the 2016 Summer Documentary Intensive Fellows!

The UnionDocs Summer Documentary Intensive is a 5-week program for a select group of emerging filmmakers from the US and abroad. The program explores contemporary approaches to documentary film, offers a stronger understanding of the best practices and business of production, and helps to develop the foundation of the fellow’s independent documentary feature.

Meet the 2016 SDI Fellows below:

SDI 16 - Anna Antsalo
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Anna Antsalo is a film director and cinematographer living in Porvoo, Finland. She studied film in Lahti University of Applied Sciences/Institute of Design and Fine Arts (2004- 2008). She has worked in theatre productions as a set designer and video artist. Her debut documentary film, Momentum (2015), produced by Tuffi Films has been awarded at Helsinki Short Film Festival and screened at festivals around the world. At the moment she is working on her next film Here Be Monsters. The process will take her drifting in the ocean, exploring mysteries around lost things carried by ocean currents and inspect unknown parts of both human minds and the endless oceans.



online Paul Burke headshotPaul Burke is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who is interested in exploring the boundary between fiction and non-fiction. He is currently working on an archival documentary set in 1960s Los Angeles about a priest and a nun who fall in love, break their vows, get married and become his parents.








Victoria Catherine Chan
is a documentary artist based in Montreal. She graduated in film directing from ZeLIG School for Documentary in Italy. Her focus lies on personal stories ingrained into reality that reflect human conditions while depicting visual poetry. Her films Plan B (2012) and Il destino di una fabbrica (2013) were screened in festivals in Europe and broadcast on Italian public TV. Victoria has been the recipient of the Italian Embassy Scholarship and Montreal Arts Intercultural grant. She received a development fund from SODEC, Quebec’s major funder of film and television, and currently works on her first feature film about her Chinese roots and her family’s clan house in Canada.


Jeff profile picJeff Daniels is an award winning filmmaker focusing on observational and historical documentaries for television and theater. His controversial first film The 10 Conditions of Love made worldwide headlines when the Chinese government protested and interrupted its many international screenings. His latest feature doc Mother with a Gun follows the current leader of the once highly active American terrorist group, The Jewish Defense League. Jeff is currently completing an ob doc for television on racism within the Australian Football League. Originally from New York, Jeff is now based in Melbourne, Australia.




Pills online Rodney Evans night shotRodney Evans is the writer/director/producer of the feature film Brother To Brother which won the Special Jury Prize in Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. The film had its European premiere at The Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for 2 IFP Gotham Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Film and Best First Screenplay. His second feature-length screenplay, Day Dream, is the first place winner of the Newfest Screenplay competition. Evans has received funding from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Creative Capital Foundation, The NY State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). His second narrative feature, The Happy Sad, has played at over thirty film festivals throughout the world and had its U.S. theatrical premiere in August 2013 at the IFC Center in NYC and the Sundance Sunset Cinema in Los Angeles. It is currently available on all major digital platforms through Sundance Artist Services and Cinedigm. His most recent short film Persistence of Vision screened at BAMcinemaFest and Frameline-The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June 2016. Evans has taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Cooper Union and School of Visual Arts.


03ac432Seemab Gul is a London based artist and filmmaker who initially trained as a painter. Her films interweave documentary, fictional, and performative elements to explore social-political stories.   Her work is interdisciplinary, immersed in current political dialogue, examining conditions of precarity in society and on the outsider experience. Her films recently exhibited at Geneva Contemporary Art Centre and have been commissioned by Arts Council England, CBA WoldView, Channel 4 and Moti Roti Foundation. Seemab completed a BA in Fine Art at Surrey Institute of Art & Design. After undertaking a PACE course in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, she completed a Masters in Filmmaking at the London Film School.



Sanna_Liljander_smallSanna Liljander studied cinematography and editing at Metropolia UAS, Degree Programme in Film and Television for two years. In 2014 she started documentary filmmaking studies at Aalto University, ELO Film School Helsinki. She is passionate about the art of documentary film, and her work has been awarded and screened at festivals around the world. Her second short documentary Onni (The Joy of Everyday Life) won the prestigious Finnish Risto Jarva Award in 2015.






Zofia Pregowskais a Polish film director and alumna of Warsaw Film School. Her documentary debut “Invisible” was screened and awarded at many international film festivals including IDFA, New Orleans Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival. In 2015, she made her production debut with A Brave Bunch: Uprising Through Children’s Eyes. She operates her own production company “Prego Media – Handmade Films”, where she works as a director and producer. Read More at





mila photoMila Turajlic is a documentary filmmaker, born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, best known for her film Cinema Komunisto, which premiered at IDFA and the Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win 16 awards including the Gold Hugo at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival in 2011, and the FOCAL Award for Creative Use of Archival Footage. Mila is currently in post-production on her next documentary, The Other Side of Everything, co-produced by HBO Europe, Survivance (France) and ARTE-WDR, which won support from the Serbian Film Center, CNC-Cinémas du monde, EURIMAGES and the Doha Film Institute. With her documentary projects she completed some of the most prestigious training programs in Europe: Documentary Campus, EURODOC, Archidoc, IDFAcademy Summer School, Berlinale Talents, and Sarajevo Talent Campus, as well as an internship with Richard Klein, head of Factual at the BBC. She worked as production assistant and researcher on series for the Discovery Channel and ARTE France, as well as gaining experience on fiction films (Apocalypto dir. Mel Gibson, Fade to Black dir. Oliver Parker, The Brothers Bloom dir. Rian Johnson). Mila produces the “Magnificent 7 Festival” of European Feature Documentary Film in Belgrade since it’s creation in 2005, with the aim of creating an audience for cinematic auteur-driven documentary films in Serbia. She is a founding member and president of DOKSerbia, the Association of documentary filmmakers of Serbia. Mila is a graduate of the LSE, and holds a Phd from Westminster University. She has been a guest lecturer at universities (including the Sorbonne, University of Michigan, Harvard University and Yale) where Cinema Komunisto was added to the syllabus of several university courses. For the past few years she teaches documentary filmmaking workshops at Archidoc and Balkan Documentary Center.


foto_union-docsPaulina Sanchez grew up in Mexicali, Mexico, a border city with California. She is a documentary photographer, filmmaker and author. She is completing her PhD in Social Cultural Studies in UABC and has a Master’s Degree in Communication from ITESO. She attended the IV International Diploma in Creative Documentary from Valley University at Cali, Colombia. Her first feature length film, Hotel de Paso (Shelter), won the award for Best Mexican Documentary of the year in 2015 at Zanate, a documentary film festival in Colima, and received Best Documentary on Frontier, exiles and migration category in 2016 at Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces Documentary Film Festival (Against the Silence, All the Voices).  It was also awarded “A la sombra del maguey” an editorial French prize for making a DVD book about uroxatral cost comparison Hotel de Paso. In addition, Hotel de Paso won several grants and selections in different national and international festivals during the different stages of its production like Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma Fund from Ambulante Festival in Mexico (2014); grant for development projects from DOCSDF (2011) and Bordocs Tijuana scholarship (2011). She is the producer and coordinator of Border Cinema, an artistic and social project that exhibits documentary films for homeless deportees and migrants living in public parks in Mexicali’s downtown. Currently, she is preparing her second documentary filmYo no quería hacer la revolución aquí (I didn’t want to make the revolution here) [tentative title] and is awaiting the publication of her second book, Rock in Mexican Cinema.

h.swensonHannah Swenson is a documentary filmmaker, writer and educator currently based in New Orleans, Louisiana. A graduate of the Documentary Studies program at Duke University, Hannah has developed and produced innovative and award-winning documentary films and multimedia projects across the United States with an emphasis on work that promotes dialogue, debate and mobilization around contemporary social issues.






conrad Conrad Ventur is a multi-media artist based in New York City. Screenings of Ventur’s work have included C/O Berlin, ICA London, MoMA PS1, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, PARTICIPANT INC. and the Yerba Buena Center. In addition to working with moving image, he chronicles life through still photography and printed publication projects. Ventur is a Franklin Furnace Fund grantee and is represented in London by Rokeby Gallery.