As the field of nonfiction continues to expand its own notions of the possible, it also disrupts historical precedents of who directs documentaries, for whom, and how. These tectonic shifts are surfacing the raw materials of stories heretofore untold, often extending deep into the core of directors’ own lives. This is the new personal documentary: unflinchingly honest, formally ambitious, singular and plural–gestures that interrogate what is often unspoken, unscripted, and underneath.
With this three day workshop, we ask what does it mean to tell a story that is personal, vulnerable, ethical? How to steer away from the trappings of predictability and narcissism, and instead use self-reflection productively? Does ‘personal’ always mean autobiographical? How do race, sexuality, class and gender burden or liberate personal filmmaking? How might we reimagine the personal is political? And what about personal archives, how might they be evoked creatively? How to position personal work against the pressures of industry and market?
Beginning from the premise that there is no single way to tell a personal story, this weekend intensive will explore a formally rich, ever-expanding landscape of personal filmmaking practices.
Finding and asserting one’s own voice
Navigating trauma and ethical dilemmas
Exploring conflicting testimonies and memories
Collaborating with key creatives
Boundary-pushing formal strategies
Translating ideas to funders
Options for distribution and exhibition
Participants will spend three intensive days in conversation with leading practitioners in the field of personal nonfiction film, including curators, filmmakers, funders and collaborators. Through masterclasses, group discussions, short exercises and work-in-progress critique, we will explore key ideas that range from the creative to the pragmatic. This rich three-day workshop will be led by directors Cecilia Aldarondo (Memories of a Penitent Heart, You Were My First Boyfriend) and Samara Grace Chadwick (1999). Guest presenters include Alan Berliner (Nobody’s Business, Intimate Stranger, First Cousin Once Removed), Hannah Buck (Editor: Vision Portraits, The Proposal, Memories of a Penitent Heart), Monika Navarro (Lost Souls (Animas Peridas), Latino Americans) and more.
Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon registration, participants will complete a brief survey that will enable us to further tailor the workshop to their needs.