Like everyone on the planet, the CoLAB started 2020 with a different map. Early inquiries centered an exploration of adolescence and what it means to be a teen in NYC. Just as production was taking off, we were thrown into the collective experience of uncertainty, constraint, and forced adaptation set in place by COVID-19. From meeting in person in Brooklyn several times each week to sheltering separately at UnionDocs and in locations across the globe, all neatly arranged in a video-conference grid, their community, good humor and creativity persisted, even if some promising projects had to be set aside.
Adapting quickly to new conditions of production, CoLAB participants found six pathways of possibility. The resulting work shares a sense of introspection and longing and surfaces many themes from the early research that continued to feel relevant like community and safe space, locality and collectivity, and how to survive pandemia, personal isolation and the weight of parental dynamics.
Catarina de Sousa and Nick Tyson
Portugal • USA • 2021 • 27 mins
A journey to the Queer dimension. Across space. Across time. Queer teens dream the future. A war machine is constructed. Love will win. They will change the world.
Directors—Catarina de Sousa and Nick Tyson
Script—Catarina de Sousa, Nick Tyson, Asher, Chase, Jay, Mars, Raphael
Cinematography—Catarina de Sousa, Nick Tyson
Sound—H.Mur, Rafael Gonçalves Cardoso
Editing—Catarina de Sousa
Visual Effects—Catarina Aguiar, Nick Tyson
Color Correction—Rita Lamas
Production—Catarina de Sousa, Nick Tyson / UnionDocs
Cast—Asher, Chase, Mars, Jay, Raphael, Julia, Lindsey
15 FRAMES FROM NOW
Bronte Stahl and Elijah Stevens
USA • 2020 • 18 mins
The sights and sounds of the immediate surroundings of 32 filmmakers in 22 countries comprise the material in “15 Frames from Now”, resulting in an intimate composition exploring domesticity, isolation, anxiety, and solace.
Bronte Stahl—Director / Editor
Elijah Stevens—Director / Editor
FLUTTERS THROUGH SKIN
USA • 2020 • 13 mins
A poetic exploration of a childhood memory through a series of phone calls reflects on coming of age, body awareness, and identity.
Nundrisha Wakhloo‚—Director, Cinematographer
Catarina De Sousa—Cinematographer, Production
Xen Nhà—Editor, Sound designer
Hõbe Ilus—Production Assistant
Mihkel Oksmann—Production Assistant
Liyan Zhao and Milton Secchi
USA • 2020 • 9 mins
An exploration of domestic life during quarantine. Closely observing shared space, media consumption and disparate lifeforms under lockdown.
ON OUR BLOCK
USA • 2020 • 17 mins
Individuals from a block on Brooklyn’s 6th Avenue explore and philosophize on the neighborhood and life changes during a citywide mandatory quarantine.
Sound Design—Guthrie London
USA • 2020 • 12 mins
In “Heart Time” we travel from New York to Estonia, Portugal and Delhi. We hear the voices of daughters, fathers and a mother. Fragments of phone calls are threaded into one entity and become the spine for a poetic, tuneful audio-visual documentation of a very particular time.
Catarina de Sousa is a media activist, filmmaker and producer of cinema and visual arts. She co-directed “Queer Utopia” (in post-production) with Nick Tyson by Uniondocs, NY, “My Name is Thing” (in post-production) about the bizarre world of real estate speculation in Brazil, “Truth or Consequence” (2017) about the post-truth era for portuguese public television.
Nick Tyson is a filmmaker, writer and investigative storyteller based in New York City. He has directed and worked on the production of non-fiction projects – ranging from films and television series for HBO and Discovery Channel to interactive media and mobile applications for museums and educators. His filmmaking practice seeks to create imaginative spaces out of traditional documentary elements. He is a graduate of Columbia University where he studied film and anthropology.
Lindsay Skedgell is a documentary filmmaker and photographer whose work explores the perspectives and personal histories of individuals, collectives, and chosen families. Lindsay’s documentary work has premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival and was nominated for a 2019 Emmy. She is ever fascinated and inspired by myths, microcosms, the power of community, and spirit.
H.Mur is a Sudanese visual artist and educator based in Melbourne. They use the practice of image making to articulate the everyday poetics and politics of bodies at the margins of margins. H.Mur works across projection art, the moving image and photography.
Liyan is a visual storyteller working primarily in video. She is especially invested in telling stories of border spaces. Moving from China to the US as a child and growing up near the US-Mexican border, she has experienced firsthand the importance of imagination and mythology as tools of survival in these kinds of liminal spaces. Liyan holds a BA in Architecture from Princeton and an MFA from Yale.
Milton Secchi was born in 1988 in Santa Fe, Argentina. He finished his studies at ENERC (National School of Experimentation and Filmmaking), in 2009. He has made several short films that have been screened in national and international festivals.
He is interested in the field between film, archive and visual arts, with a particular interest in the crossing of the intimate, the social and the everyday life.
Bronte Stahl is a documentary filmmaker from Westerly, RI, USA. Having lived in Rome, Lisbon, Budapest, Brussels and Brooklyn, he has come to find place at the intersections of culture. He graduated from the European MFA program DocNomads and was a Points North Fellow and UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Fellow. The films he has directed have screened at Rotterdam, DocLisboa, Uppsala, Pravo Ljudski, and Leuven and won prizes at Minsk and Porto Post/Doc.
Elijah Stevens is a documentary filmmaker based in New York City whose work explores themes of migration, political geography and grassroots resilience. He co-produced an episode of the Hulu docuseries TASTE THE NATION and associate produced THE SEER & THE UNSEEN (2019) which won the McBaine Bay Area Documentary Prize at its SFFILM 2019 World Premiere. He also associate produced SKY AND GROUND (2018) which premiered at DOC NYC and was nominated for Best Feature in the IDA Documentary Awards, TOWARDS THE NORTH (2017), and LOS COMANDOS (2017), which was shortlisted for an Academy Award. He is a graduate from Wesleyan University with a degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. In addition to filmmaking, Elijah is also a community organizer, focusing on issues of immigrant justice.
Hõbe Ilus is a documentary filmmaker and visual storyteller from Estonia. After achieving a BA in Literature and Theatre Studies at Tartu University, she decided to travel and live abroad. This decision guided her to many odd jobs and cross-cultural experiences. Having experienced life from unfamiliar angles, she learned that she can never escape her roots nor the urge to create. Her interest lies in human nature. Her film language is poetic, often minimalistic, yet rich in detail. In 2018 she graduated with a Documentary Master’s from the Baltic Film and Media School at Tallinn University, is an alumna of Masterclass Interdoc (2017, Serbia) and one of the participants of UnionDocs Collaborative Studio 2020.
Nundrisha Wakhloo is an independent documentary filmmaker based in New Delhi, India. Prior to completing her diploma in creative documentary course at Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication, Delhi she pursued psychology from Gargi College, Delhi University. Her passion towards designing, painting and photography adds to her understanding and use of images in filmmaking. In her work she is fond of layering different narratives together expressed through powerful visuals. Her work captures reminiscence in spaces and people, referring to her own sense of belongingness to her cultural history. She is currently a part of the UnionDocs Collaborative studio 2020 along with 12 fellow artists from around the world.
Xen Nhà is a documentary maker, artist and the curator/founder of Red Pocket Press. They grew up on Kulin Land (Melbourne) Australia. Sound stirs our imagination and Xen Nhà works with it as a way to invite people to imagine that another world is possible.
Amir Shams is a filmmaker from Americana, Brazil. After studying architecture and urban planning at Escola da Cidade, São Paulo, he went on to graduate in filmmaking at Syracuse University and study film at FAMU, Prague. During this period, he was mentored by the late Abbas Kiarostami. His films have been screened in places such as Cannes Film Festival, Everson Museum of Art, and in public and private schools in Brazil. He recently received a fellowship and was a filmmaker in residence at UnionDocs, Brooklyn. He is currently developing his first feature film.
WHAT IS THE UNIONDOCS COLLABORATIVE STUDIO?
The UnionDocs Collaborative Studio (CoLAB) is a program for a select group of media artists from the US and abroad. Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, CoLAB offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project. The program consists of weekly production meetings, seminars, screenings and other public programs, along with regular masterclasses and critiques with visiting artists.