Liyan Zhao is incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with other talented filmmakers and to develop her own practice in unexpected ways.


by UnionDocs

  • $4,300.00

  • $4,855.00

  • 0

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

Support Liyan Zhao’s participation in the 2020 UnionDocs Collaborative Studio.

From Liyan: Hi Friends! Thank you for visiting my campaign page. I’m very excited to announce that I have been accepted as a participant into the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio (CoLAB) in Brooklyn, NY (more info on the program below). 

I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with other talented filmmakers and to develop my own practice in expected ways. This is not something I would normally ask, but it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To cover some of the program costs, I am trying to raise $4,300.

Any contribution, no matter how small, will be very much appreciated! Thanks for your time!

To see some of my past work:

xx Liyan


Liyan Zhao 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. Her most recent short documentary, A House of One’s Own, tells the story of immigrant dreams and aspirations channeled through the space of a suburban garage, and has been shown at New Haven International Film Festival and New Haven Documentary Film Festival. Liyan holds a BA in Architecture from Princeton and an MFA from Yale School of Art.


About the CoLAB: 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.



Thank you, thank you!

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One personally customized artwork + All of the above

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