Help Kyle participate in the UnionDocs Summer Documentary Lab!

Kyle Petty’s Summer Lab Crowdfunding

by Kyle Petty

  • $3,200.00

  • $3,775.00

  • 0

    Days to go
Raised Percent :
Boston, United States (US)

From Kyle:

Dear Friends and Family,

I’m raising money to participate in the Union Docs Research and Development Lab. The opportunity will allow me to spend the month of August among other filmmakers and professionals while we workshop individual feature length film projects we plan to produce. This is a great opportunity for my artistic practice and will not only help me produce an ambitious film, but will also give me skills to fundraise more film projects in the future.

Sounds great…but I don’t have the cash to pay for it. Which is where you come in! Any funds you donate will pay for the program costs and my cost of living for the month. I don’t feel good about asking for money. I’m too humble. I’d much rather go the quiet, solitary route and do everything myself. That route, however, often leads to my momentum stalling out. So instead I’d like to involve you in the process! Art is more fun with friends! I will also be gifting some of my photography and artistic skills to make the donation worth your while.

The project I will be developing at the residency is a documentary 16mm film about defunct experimental colleges, their approach to radical pedagogy within the arts, and the societal forces that often bring these utopian communities crashing down. This project is personally relevant to me as I graduated from Chester College of New England, a small alternative art school in New Hampshire, when it closed in 2012.

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The Defunct Experimental Colleges Project is a faux-ethnographic film from the near-dystopian future where the arts are no longer valued. Through 16mm images, staged re-enactments, and fictional voice over, the film will explore the abandoned and repurposed campuses of non-traditional schools that have come and gone, such as Black Mountain College, Franconia College, and others. Research on these schools and their radical pedagogy will be compiled, remixed, and spun into an invented sociological study that retells the rise and fall of fictional colleges similar to the real schools featured in the images. By blending aspects of documentary, ethnography, myth, and science fiction, the film intends to raise questions regarding the role of art and utopian communities within education and society, while also paying homage to the oft-forgotten institutions that stood for these ideals.

Kyle J. Petty is an artist who makes films and videos. Informed by a DIY and Avant-Garde ethos, his recent work seeks to revel in the documentary image while simultaneously questioning its construction. His subjects are often individuals or communities that forge a personal relationship with the natural world.

His films have screened internationally at Visions du Réel (Switzerland), Barents Ecology Film Festival (Russia), and Antimatter Media + Art (Canada), among others. He holds a BA from Chester College of New England and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

About the Summer Documentary Labs:

The UnionDocs Summer Documentary Lab are 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, the Summer Labs offer a platform for participants to spend the Summer making strides and clarify the creative direction of their projects to attract the potential team members, funders and producers they need to find their way to the finish. With a specialized hybrid in-person / remote format, an intensive schedule of screenings, open seminar discussions, weekly industry “field trips,” and inspiring artist visits from some of the most dynamic voices across the field of documentary, the SUMMER DOCUMENTARY LABS are tightly structured environments that bring participants into a select group of emerging filmmakers to get challenged and encouraged to think through every aspect of their works-in-progress.

Drawing inspiration from across disciplines, this intensive program should not be mistaken for an industrial, journalistic, or traditional documentary training. Scholar Scott MacDonald highlighted in The New York Times that, “UnionDocs has a healthy sense that the older definitions of what constitutes ‘experimental’ cinema and what constitutes ‘documentary’ are up for grabs.” Much emphasis is placed on workshopping lab participants’ writing about their projects as a way to both clarify the creative direction and attract potential team members, funders and producers. Participants receive focused, honest and helpful feedback on their project proposals from prominent documentary artists and industry experts.

The Research & Development Lab is a space for projects to grow while in their earliest stages. When a project is still largely a concept or idea, the lab helps filmmakers solidify the ideas with efforts, assignments, and conversations around best practices for grounding the project in its early stages of writing. This moment of focus can help set up projects for success from these nascent beginnings all the way through from funding to production to distribution.



A personalized thank you card featuring a still from one of my films.

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3 backers


A unique cyanotype print made by me and all of the above. *Not my cyanotype in the picture above, but an example of what it looks like. Credit Anna Atkins.

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6 backers


A personalized one minute abstract video and sound collage that distills my gratitude for you, plus all of the above.

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2 backers


Your name in the credits of my film as a supporter, plus all of the above.

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5 backers
Name Donate Amount Date
Scott Petty $250.00 July 16, 2021
Samantha Croteau $100.00 July 16, 2021
Thia Cowrd $100.00 July 15, 2021
bunny rollins $200.00 July 15, 2021
Mary Lu Petty $500.00 July 15, 2021
Nathaniel Rockwell $500.00 July 15, 2021
Emily Williamson $500.00 July 15, 2021
Mandy Shea $250.00 July 15, 2021
Andrew Safir $25.00 July 15, 2021
David Petty $500.00 July 14, 2021
Anonymous $100.00 July 14, 2021
William Rollins $25.00 July 14, 2021
Anonymous $25.00 July 14, 2021
Rajee Samarasinghe $100.00 July 14, 2021
Christopher Snyder $500.00 July 14, 2021
Elisa Thomson $100.00 July 14, 2021