Sponsor Karoline Morwitzer’s involvement in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio.
UnionDocs have accepted me for a 10 month placement in their collaborative documentary fellowship in New York. And so I am fundraising to make it work. I approach crowd funding with a sense of wariness however… My attraction to film making has been disciplined and trained through a strongly held belief in the ability of film to assist and amplify struggle and transform relationships between people. I’ve also made films for a number of important causes for crowd funding purposes. But I am not a cause, I am an artist going on a residency. I am also not a community, but one person.
Why then have I compelled myself to ask for your financial support against the grain of my conscience? Well, its been a combination of pressure from friends and a desperate need for cash. Plus, this is a really special opportunity which will have meaningful translations for future movements and communities I work with. Union Docs appreciates my *at times* obscure interest and practice in documentary. Not only that, the CoLab fellowship will actively expand it. That’s good right?
The donation money will directly fund the program itself, which will then free me up to pay for visas, airplane tickets, bond, rent, and living in New York for 10 months on a visa which I can’t work on… Ha… Should you donate to me and not other important causes? Definitely not. Will I continue to share my expanded knowledge with future collaborators? I definitely will. Will I really appreciate it? Yes. Most certainly.
The UnionDocs Collaborative Studio (CoLAB) is a 10 month 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. Rather than applying with a project proposal or rough cut, all participants are selected on the basis of previous work and enter the program at square one, open to discovery and fresh connections.
UnionDocs is not simply the host for this activity, it takes an active role producing the collection of short documentary works that comprise the collaborative project. The theme or focus for the year is chosen by the Artistic Director, and resources and research to support this direction are gathered. The CoLAB Director leads the group through an incremental process where new ideas and new partnerships form; each participant finding their own avenues of creative contribution. Regular readings and assignments for seminars stimulate creativity, open discussion and debate, and offer a common set of references for the group. Master classes with visiting artists provide encouragement, inspiration and exposure to a diverse set of conceptual perspectives and practical methods. As projects reach their final edit, unique plans for exhibition and distribution are formulated.
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.
Learn more about the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio here