MDOCS Storytellers' Institute

The Playlist

This playlist of pre-recorded panels, screenings, and talk backs will be made available to all registered participants on June 6th- 13th. All panels and talk backs will be available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Mandarin. Forum is free and open to the public. Register here to join us June 6th-13th, 2021. More about Forum 2021.


Collective Making: processes and actions

What are the processes that creative collectives use to make work and put that work into action for political change? How are relationship building and non-hierarchical structures central to the work? Three collectives ––The Illuminator, Meerkat Media, and FAXINA Media Collective –– talk about the ways they collaborate internally, with other collectives, and with activists and organizations like New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) to make both responsive and generative work.

Featuring: Rachel Brown, Nadia Mohamed, Anna Ozbek (The Illuminator), Heloiza Barbosa (FAXINA Media Collective), Alex Ramírez-Mallis, Claudia Zamora Valencia (Meerkat Media Collective), and moderated by Sarah Ema Friedland

image provided by the Illuminator


The Presence of African Expertise in the Global Industry

Co-presented with DocA

How can we redefine co-creation through an anti-colonial lens?  What groups have come together to co-create the African documentary film ecosystem to inspire and cultivate narrative sovereignty?  In what ways can global collaboration support this ecosystem?  This panel brings together filmmakers and industry representatives from Kenya, Nigeria, Berlin, Belgium, and the U.S. to discuss the centering of African narratives told by African filmmakers within the global documentary film industry.

Featuring: Alessandro Jedlowski, Femi Odugbemi, Jihan El-Tahri, Joslyn Barnes, Saitabao Kaiyare, Sam Soko, Toni Kamau, and moderated by Mudamba Mudamba


The Personal is Collaborative

How does making public work with your romantic partner shift the line between what is private or public? What boundaries are necessary to preserve intimacy while collaborating artistically with your intimate partner? On this panel three pairs of artistic and romantic partners working in non-fiction audio, fine art, oral history and performance, talk about their experiences collaborating across disciplines, across mediums, and across hearts.

Featuring: Mark Pagán + Caitlin Mae Burke, Fernanda Espinosa + Raul Ayala, Angela Beallor + Elizabeth Press, and moderated by Adam Tinkle

image provided by Raul Ayala and Fernanda Espinosa


Co-creation for Engagement

How can we harness the power of collaborative storytelling to change the world that we live in? From New Orleans to New Haven, from addressing the racial inequities of climate crisis in Florida, to amplifying the voices of ICE detainees across the country, these makers talk about specific projects they have created to instigate positive engagement and impact for the communities they are involved in.

Featuring: Gabriel Torres, Courtney Surmanek, Luis Luna + Sylvia Ryerson, Ann Bennet + Ronald Baez, and moderated by Sanjna Selva

image provided by Ann Bennet and Ronald Baez


Historias de dos

Co-presented with EICTV

The International School of Film and Television (EICTV) promotes documentary filmmaking through experimentation and creative freedom. In an annual collaboration with the Televisión Serrana, documentary students depart for the Sierra Maestra mountain range in Eastern Cuba to complete an exercise called “one-to-one” that usually leaves a deep impression on both students and professors alike. Two documentary students collaborate by sharing authorial control–– the director of the documentary film is also the director of photography, and her/his documentary colleague works as the boom operator and sound person. The pair switches roles to create multiple projects. This collaborative and minimalistic way of working is also used by many of the graduates and professors of EICTV including the panelists. What particularities does this concept of filming entail? What stories can these filmmakers tell us about the production mode and its relation with the domestic? What are the aesthetic implications of this form of cinematographic collaboration? This panel of four filmmaker couples will explore the “one-to one” exercise and the form of filmmaking it yields as an inspiration for student filmmakers to get acquainted with another way of making films.

Featuring:  Nicolas Pereda + Andrea Bussmann, Natalia Cabral + Oriol Estrada, Juliana Fanjul + Carlos Ibañez, and moderated by Orisel Castro + York Neudel


In and Out of the Academy

How can knowledge be co-created through creative methodologies? How can spaces of learning ripple out beyond the classroom through co-creative strategies? How can we center making in teaching? Four collaborative pairs talk about their scholarly and creative work convening documentary-based learning spaces including: zine-making workshops in Palestine, The Ojo Semilla Collective in Ecuador, digital practices workshops for grade school students in New York City, video art workshops with indigenous people in Canada.

Featuring: Tamrika Khvtisiashvili + Hanan Habashi, Diana Coryat + Carolina Dorado, Choe Smolarski + Tasha Darbes, Helen De Michiel + Liz Miller, and moderated by Sarah Ema Friedland

image provided by Tamrika Khvtisiashvili + Hanan Habashi


Re-Using The Archives

Co-presented with Dar al-Kalima

This panel explores ways of reusing and re-thinking the role of archives. It builds on the theme of co-creations seeking approaches to tackle disruptions and dislocations in the collection and dissemination of subaltern archives. The panel brings together the experience of film students from Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture who have reused the film archives of filmmaker Monica Mauer to create new films based on how they perceive the film reels of Monica’s film Yom Al-Ard. Shot in 1981 in the Galilee (Nazareth, Deir Hanna, and Sakhnin) the original film Yom-Al Ard pays homage to the still prescient topics of the transversal unity of the people, their collective energy in the defense of Palestinian identity. In this panel students will view the original film that Monica made and with the panelists they will reflect on the emerging film language and approaches to re-using the film archives the students employed in their films.

Featuring: Salim Abu Jabal, Monika Mauer, Dar al- Kalima film students, and moderated by Mahasen Nasser-Eldin

image provided by Monika Mauer


Bodies in Collaboration

Is the act of portraiture in moving and still image inherently a collaboration?  What are some methodologies to create collaborative portraits in different mediums? Artists working in photo, animation, drawing and painting talk about the way they render their subjects as an act of co-creation. 

Featuring: Emily Collins + Kaija Sirilia, Mickey Baroody, Kadi Diallo, Jonna McKone + Autumn Oberkehr, and moderated by Sanjna Selva

image provided by Emily Collins + Kaija Sirilia


Co-creating in China’s Countryside:Documentary Filmmakers on Their Hometowns (乡下合作:纪录片导演在老家拍摄)

Co-Presented with China Residencies

Filmmakers from small rural towns who left for film school abroad or in bigger cities in China return to make personal films, collaborate with their families, their elders, and their neighbors in their Naxi, Miao, and Sichuanese communities to show preserve, co-tell, and assert the nuance and validity of the way they grew up.

Featuring: Jixing He, Greta Yu Cong, and Jiayu Yang

image provided by Jiayu Yang


Active Subjects

What does shared authorship look like between maker and subject? How do directors enhance their own creative agency through co-creative methodologies in filmmaking? From pre to post production, documentary film directors speak about the ways in which their films have been made in collaboration with the people represented in the films.

Featuring: Drew Swedberg + Shalon Buskirk, Ikuno Naka, Amanda Madden, Kristal Sotomayor, and moderated by Jesse O’Connell

image provided by Ikuno Naka


CO-CREATION: Limitations and Liberations

How are young documentary creators challenging individualism through their work? What are the ways co-creation is and isn’t taught to co-create in higher education? Five current Storytellers’ Institute Student Fellows talk about co-creation in their current and past work.

Featuring: Kathryn Brodie, Malchijah Hoskins, Claire Maske, Dorree Ndooki, and Jose Nunez

*Screening + Talk back*

States of Violence, a program from We Tell: 50 Years of Participatory Community Media (1970s-2018)

We Tell is a traveling multi-screening exhibition that restores to co-creative documentary practice its rich, multi-vocal 50-year legacy. Based in collaborations between media-making organizations and frontline response to varied forms of repression, the films in the States of Violence program give the narrative authority, and sometimes the camera, to those who experience and resist violence in forms as diverse as intimate partner violence, mass incarceration, police brutality, and the first Gulf War. In the talkback with We Tell’s co-organizers/curators and two of the filmmaker/facilitators whose projects are included in this program, we discuss the importance of a community media infrastructure for producing this work, the off-screen human relationships propelling these projects, and the stakes of articulating a history (albeit a US-based one) of this short-form, collaboratively-created “cinema of utility,” a too-little studied form of documentary, which festivals and the academy have heretofore ignored.

Featuring: Patricia Zimmerman, Anula Shetty, Dee Dee Halleck, Louis Massiah, and moderated by Adam Tinkle

image provided by We Tell

*Screening of Select Scenes and Talk back*

Only the Ocean Between Us by Another Kind of Girl Collective (2021)

Two Syrian directors in Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan and two indigenous Shipibo directors in Lima, Peru correspond through film diaries in a cross-border project from Another Kind of Girl Collective. Only the Ocean Between Us tells four profoundly personal stories of motherhood, displacement, and the power of both personal and communal resistance.

Featuring: Khaldiya Amer Ali, Marah Mohammad Alkhateeb, Christy Cauper Silvano, Karoli Bautista Pizarro, EB Landesberg, Tasneem Toghoj, Laura Doggett, Lali Madueño Medina

image provided by AKGC

*Screening and Talk back*

200km by Discusion14 (2003)

This feature film, co-directed by 14 members of a collective, follows the workers of SINTEL, one of the largest telecom companies, at the moment of its privatization. After the government negates on its promises to either offer early retirement or relocation of the workers to another company, the SINTEL workers start a 200km protest march from six different cities spread throughout the Spanish geography. About 1500 workers and their families walk for eight days all over Spain to meet in Madrid on May 1st, for the Labor Day demonstration, to confront their union leaders and claim a solution to their situation. The film shows the courage and determination of these men and women, who, despite all their problems, decide to keep on fighting for their dignity, for their future and their children.

Featuring: Ruth Somalo, Sandra Ruesga, Tània Balló, Nuria Campabadal, Cristina Pérez, and moderated by Sarah Ema Friedland

image provided by Discusion14

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