Help Daphne participate in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio.

Daphne Xu’s CoLAB Crowdfunding

by Daphne Xu

  • $800.00

  • $820.00

  • 0

    Days to go
Raised Percent :
Toronto, Canada

Please consider helping me cover my program fees for the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio with Dani and Sheilah Restack! The theme is feral domesticity, and I’m excited to take part because I believe it will help me develop a more multifaceted practice as an artist and filmmaker.


From my application:

The dualities of domestic and wild, at home and errant, interior and exterior implied in “feral domesticity” inspires me to think about gender and migration in the context of labor that produces the home. Due to COVID, I recently moved back to Toronto where I grew up and lived until I was 18. I think about the ways in which my parents and grandparents have made homes for themselves in Toronto as first generation immigrants, and what “making a home” means in terms of their daily actions and forms of care for people, objects, and the space around them. To be an immigrant is to aspire to the domestic: to have a household, to belong to a society. And yet to be human is to be a part of nature, not a nation state. What constitutes a home, or the ability to make a home, and how does that feel when coupled with a constant desire to leave or to escape it? Being back in Toronto for an extended period for the first time in ten years, I am forced to reconcile with past traumas within my family. I am also faced with the challenge of remaking my surroundings into a home. There has always been, for me, a necessity to be creative with the acts of inhabitation and homemaking. Here, the attentiveness towards space, ritual, desire, and the body in the ReStack concept feels relevant and productive.

Thank you for your support!!


Work Samples/Stills:

Stills from materials I’m working with in Toronto:

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From my films in Xiongan New Area, Hebei, China: 

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Daphne Xu is a Chinese Canadian artist and filmmaker exploring the politics and poetics of place. Her creative practice engages observations of the everyday and of contested landscapes. 



About the CoLAB:

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. In a recent article in The New York Times, film scholar Scott MacDonald, remarked, “UnionDocs has a healthy sense that the older definitions of what constitutes ‘experimental’ cinema and what constitutes ‘documentary’ are up for grabs.” Similarly, the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio represents a new and alternative fellowship model, offering residency and visa support for six participants coming from abroad and an equal number of spots for local, non-resident participants. It is designed to be affordable and, although participants are asked to make CoLAB their primary creative focus, the schedule does accommodate full-time or freelance work. The Brooklyn Rail summed it up with the title of their feature article: “UnionDocs Brings Auteurs Together”. For some, participation in the program may lead to further study. For others, it may lead to independent projects or strengthened careers within the industry. For all, it is an unparalleled immersion in the expansive field of documentary art.

UnionDocs hopes to build from our experience running the Collaborative Studio (read more about the 10 month CoLAB here), but retool this well established program to fit current necessities. Our next opportunity in this ongoing experiment is shorter, concentrated, and offers participation remotely from February 1st through March 31st. It’s still engaged with theory, practice, and co-creation, but focused on the process as much as the products of this engagement. The facilitators of this endeavor will be Dani & Sheilah ReStack, and the collaborative’s work will take inspiration from their concept of “Feral Domesticity.”



A handwritten thank you note with a print of a recent photograph shot on 35mm

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5 backers


A beautiful A Thousand-Year Stage poster designed by Diane Zhou (@monkeymittens) and printed by g***d press (@goood_press) in Beijing (11x14.5, limited edition!)

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A set of posters, a private screener link to my film 千年舞台 A Thousand-Year Stage AND a private screener link to my first feature length film 花花世界 Huahua (currently a work in progress)! (time-limited access)

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2 backers