DOC NYC PRO and Immersive Classes
In March 2020, DOC NYC PRO responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by launching a series of online educational opportunities that explore the craft and business of documentary filmmaking and provide a space for the documentary community to gather while the world stays at home. Please find our full slate of past and upcoming offerings below; all classes are accessible both via livestream on their original event date, and via recording thereafter. Registration includes access to the live event, the event recording, a full transcript, and the sessions’ slide presentations.
Wednesday, August 5 from 11 am-3 pm ET
A day of practical guidance for the first-time filmmaker, including panels on developing a story, building a team, and securing funds and distribution. The daylong course will feature four first-time filmmakers who have successfully finished and released feature docs; filmmaker collectives that provide professional and peer networks to emerging and established filmmakers, and an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Confirmed film teams include Meredith Chin and Sian-Pierre Regis (Duty Free); Jasmín Mara López (Silent Beauty): Lindsay Lindenbaum (Tomboy); and Yuqi Kang (A Little Wisdom). Additional speakers include Adam Piron, co-founder of the filmmaker collective, COUSIN and assistant curator for film at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, co-founder of the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, and Leah Meyerhoff, founder of Film Fatales. Moderated by Anya Rous (Always In Season, The Feeling of Being Watched), Courtney Sheehan of Context Moves, and Rose Vincelli Gustine from SVA’s MFA Social Documentary film program. Tickets: $40, available here.
Wednesday, August 12 from 11 am-3 pm ET
Explore documentary cinematography in te current moment, including sessions on filming in sensitive environments; the practicalities and responsibilities of shooting during a pandemic; and a case study on the relationship between cinematographer and subject. The daylong course will also feature an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Confirmed speakers: Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House, The Hand That Feeds), Iris Ng (A Better Man, Stories We Tell), Bryan Chang (Into the Streets, Brasslands, Island Soldier) Jerry Henry (Netflix’s forthcoming High on the Hog, The Rachel Divide, Exit Through the Gift Shop) and Mo Scarpelli (El Father Plays Himself, Anbessa, Frame by Frame). Moderated by DOC NYC Features Programmer Jessie Fairbanks.
Wednesday, August 19 from 2-3:30 pm ET
A 90-minute session exploring the evolution and future of documentary series. The panel discussion will feature both producers and distributors, and include a 30-minute moderated Q&A. Confirmed speaker: Rudy Valdez (Brooklyn Saints, The Sentence). Additional participants to be announced.
Wednesday, September 2 from 11 am-3 pm ET
A deep-dive into documentary editing and post-production, including sessions on storytelling and narrative; cutting while a director and editor are working remotely; and integrating archival and animation. The daylong course will feature a case study with a director-editor team, as well as an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Confirmed speaker: Jaime Myers Schlenck (9to5: The Story of a Movement). Additional participants to be announced.
Wednesday, September 16 from 2-3:30 pm ET
A showcase focusing on projects that live at the intersection of documentary film and journalism. The panel discussion includes both independent doc teams and representatives from news platforms as they discuss the merging and divergent roles of reporter, storyteller, and filmmaker. The session will include a 30-minute moderated Q&A. Confirmed speakers: Kathleen Lingo, Editorial Director for Film and Television at The New York Times; Leslye Davis and Catrin Einhorn (Father, Soldier Son); and Ursula Liang (Down a Dark Stairwell). Moderated by Nina Alvarez, CBS Assistant Professor of International Journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Wednesday, September 23 from 11 am-3 pm ET
A day of education on current trends in documentary distribution and audience engagement, including sessions on theatrical, digital and educational distribution—for the pandemic context and after—and new tactics in engaging audiences, even while social distancing remains in effect. The daylong course will feature a case study with a filmmaker-distributor team, as well as an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Confirmed speakers: Dan O’Meara, NEON; Asad Muhammad, POV. Additional participants to be announced.
Wednesday, September 30 from 11 am-3 pm ET
A day dedicated to the art of documentary producing. Sessions will feature guidance in negotiating credits and waterfall structures; career sustainability in pivotal times; and developing financing, co-production and executive producer relationships, including with case studies from veteran producers. The daylong course will also include an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Confirmed speakers: Jenny Raskin, Impact Partners; Sara Bernstein, Imagine Documentaries; Razan Ghalayini (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Entrapped, We Are the Giant); Jessica Devaney (The Feeling of Being Watched; Pray Away; Always in Season). Additional participants to be announced.
Wednesday, October 7 from 2-3:30 pm ET
A 90-minute session exploring the use of archival footage in documentary filmmaking. The panel discussion will feature directors, editors and archivists, and will include a 30-minute moderated Q&A. Confirmed speakers: Carla Gutierrez (Pray Away, RGB); Penny Lane (Hail Satan, Nuts!, Our Nixon); Shola Lynch, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Additional participants to be announced.
Wednesday, October 14 from 11 am-3 pm ET
A day of practical expertise on the legal questions that face doc makers. Sessions will focus on topics such as rights and clearances, errors and omissions, and legal concerns specific to sensitive production environments, including filming in the Covid-19 era. The daylong course will include a filmmaker case study and an interactive Q&A breakout session and social hour. Participants to be announced.
Wednesday, October 21 from 2-3:30 pm ET
Explore the interplay between podcasting and documentary film in this session with guests who have successfully pivoted between film producing and podcast producing. The panel discussion will feature both producers and podcast platform execs, and will include a 30-minute moderated Q&A. Confirmed speakers: Reva Goldberg (Mothers of Invention, Brooklyn, USA); Natalie Moallem, Stitcher; Paige Wood, Detroit Narrative Agency and Ford Foundation’s Just Cities Narrative Shift Project. Additional participants to be announced.
DOC NYC Features Programmer Karen McMullen lead a conversation about advancing social equity and inclusion in the documentary field. Guests included Nicole Tsien, board member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia; Denise Greene of Black Public Media; Day Al-Mohamed, independent filmmaker and founding member of FWD-DOC, Karin Chien, independent producer and President of distributor dGenerate Films; Caty Borum Chattoo of The Center for Media & Impact at American University; and Paulina Suarez, Executive Director of Ambulante, Mexico’s traveling documentary film festival. All proceeds from this event will go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
DOC NYC PRO hosted a daylong online workshop on Funding Your Documentary, featuring institutional grantmakers, equity investors, and other sources of support for documentary filmmakers, their projects, and the documentary organizations that incubate and exhibit their work. Panelists include Merrill Sterritt of Cinereach, Chi-hui Yang of JustFilms, Ford Foundation; Lucila Moctezuma of Chicken & Egg Pictures; Jenny Raskin of Impact Partners; Steve Cohen and Paula Froehle of Chicago Public Media; and filmmakers Erika Cohn and Angela Tucker of Belly of the Beast.
DOC NYC PRO dives into the ethics, risks and practicalities of production in sensitive production environments, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, during social protests, after natural disasters, and with vulnerable subjects. As the world of doc production and distribution shifts, how can film teams reexamine their responsibilities to their crews and subjects, now and in the future? How might our current assessment of production risks reshape industry standards for filmmaking in the public interest and in marginalized communities? And how can the documentary field carry the lessons learned in this moment forward into other contexts? Panelists include Brenda Coughlin from Sundance Institute, filmmakers Michael Premo, Stephanie Wang-Breal, and Cecilia Aldarondo, IDA’s Carrie Lozano, and Filmmaker Magazine’s Scott Macaulay.
DOC NYC PRO examines the social impact producing and audience engagement, especially relevant at a moment when communities are struggling to mobilize around life-and-death concerns, from police brutality to Covid-19. Guests include a slate of independent impact producers from around the world, including Mariana Ribeiro in Brazil (The Edge of Democracy, The Nightcrawlers); Ani Mercedes in Miami (Looky Looky Pictures) and Gwendolyn Alston from MocaMedia, in Spain. Other guests include those forwarding social impact from inside organizations: Darcy Heusel at NEON; Tricia Finneran at Good Pitch Local; Denae Peters at Perspective Fund; and Max Steinman from Exposure Labs.
DOC NYC PRO looks into an extremely timely topic: the process of editing and finishing a film when all work must be done remotely. Guests include editor Carla Gutierrez; director/producer Alysa Nahmias; Eric Johnson of Trailblazer Studios; and Joe Beirne from Technicolor – PostWorks.
DOC NYC PRO’s first two-day immersive looks into the nuts and bolts of creating highly shareable online content, especially in this moment when nearly all our social and business interaction has to take place virtually. Guests include representatives from digital marketing firm Smarthouse Creative; ViceNews; and the cult doc hit Fantastic Fungi.
How do you raise attention for a film release during isolation? We’ll hear perspectives from publicists Charlie Olsky (Cinetic Marketing), and George Nicholis (Magnolia Pictures) and from journalist Eric Kohn (Indiewire). They’ll discuss getting coverage for recent releases such as Crip Camp and Slay the Dragon; and raising awareness for premieres at festivals like SXSW and Tribeca that were disrupted by Covid-19.
How can filmmakers generate income while staying at home? Focused on approaches tailored to the times of Covid-19, this webinar discusses pathways to maintaining cash flow while typical funding and revenue-generating options are on hold for content creators. Panelists include Asad Muhammad at POV, Elise McCave at Kickstarter, and filmmaker Gary Hustwit.
Filmmakers are scrambling for new strategies to connect with distributors and reach audiences as Covid-19 sweeps the globe. DOC NYC’s programming team has been in constant contact with sales agents, distributors and marketing consultants to gather the best advice on how to navigate these unprecedented challenges. Among the questions we’ll address: How do films recover from cancelled spring festivals? Will streamers need new content? As education moves online, how can docs play a part? What are DIY strategies for this moment? Panelists include Brenda Coughlin from Sundance Institute, filmmakers Michael Premo, Stephanie Wang-Breal, and Cecilia Aldarondo, IDA’s Carrie Lozano, and Filmmaker Magazine’s Scott Macaulay.