Workshop Registration

Advanced Documentary Storytelling Studio

This workshop is designed for filmmakers who have an idea for a documentary (short or feature-length) they would like to explore and develop over the course of four (4) online sessions. Participants should arrive with an idea (possibly two if they are undecided which one has more potential), be prepared to invest time outside of the workshop and actively engage in group discussions over the course of the four (4) weeks. The goal by the end of the workshop is for participants to have a script outline as well as materials for a pitch deck (including but not limited to a three-sentence synopsis, a long synopsis, a director’s statement and a visual and sound treatment). As well, a tentative calendar of development and/or production activities shall be elaborated by students to encourage continuation with their projects after the workshop has concluded. 

Expanding upon content introduced in “Documentary Storytelling” we will further explore and apply to each project concepts such as theme, premise (understood as the fundamental truth about the theme), 3-act-structure as well as the dramatic structure of acts and scenes, conflict, dramatic tension, character development, rhythm, tone, narrative visual and sound resources to tell the story. Participants will watch documentary shorts or fragments of feature docs to analyze how these concepts apply to the film in question and whether we feel they are “successful” or not and if not, why? What could work better?

Students shall be expected to work on their projects and bring advances to each session for in-class discussion in such a way that progress is made in each session for every project. As well as developing their own project ideas, students will be working on how to present their ideas concisely, clearly and with passion and emotion to have a maximum impact on the listener. We will also work on how to offer constructive, structured criticism based on the concepts we’re working with (and not simply based on our own subjective points of view) and finally active listening will be encouraged in order to appreciate how ideas are perceived when we present them (oftentimes in contrast to what we intended).  

In this workshop, explore and delve into the following questions for your projects: Does the idea have dramatic potential? Are the theme and premise clear? Does it resonate with the audience in the way the idea is presented? Does it elicit an emotional response? Are the characters multi-dimensional and captivating? How can interviews be planned in such a way that they result in emotionally engaging material? Is it feasible? (among others). The last session will consist of a structured, timed pitch session wherein each participant will present their project to the group followed by a Q&A, in-class discussion and possible next steps for each project to come to life.

part 1: Thu 16 November 2023, 6 - 9 pm   
part 2: Thu 23 November 2023, 6 - 9 pm   
part 3: Thu 30 November 2023, 6 - 9 pm   
part 4: Thu 7 December 2023, 6 - 9 pm   
(Registration deadline is Thu 16 November 5:00 pm)

Instructor: Andrea Martinez Crowther

Andrea Martinez Crowther is a Mexican-Canadian filmmaker who feels equally comfortable in the worlds of fiction and documentary and her films -deeply personal and often self-referenced- frequently explore the blurry area between the two. Her first feature, Insignificant Things, was selected in the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab as well as the IFP Director’s lab under the mentorship of Rodrigo García (Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her) and was Executive Produced by Guillermo del Toro. The film premiered in San Sebastian and garnered the People’s Choice Award in the Festival des Cultures d’Amerique Latine de Biarritz. Her second film, the deeply personal and intimate documentary Ciclo, revisits the bicycle journey her father and uncle made from Mexico to Canada in 1956, in an exploration of memories, the cycles of life and the unavoidable passage of time. The film garnered several People’s Choice Awards including the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Her third film Observar las aves, is a fiction film shot as if it were a documentary about a writer with Alzheimer’s who decides to make a farewell film to life. The film premiered at the Los Cabos International Film Festival where it garnered the People’s Choice Award as well as the New Art Kingdom Award.  Her most recent film, Tare, is a story about loss and healing based on her own experience starring renowned Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta (Black Panther, Wakanda Forever) and herself. It is in post-production. She is currently developing the feature co-production Labranza as well as the series Molecules. She has taught Directing at Humber College and has been offering documentary workshops for over 10 years.  Andrea is a member of the DGC,  a WIFT mentor and an alumna of WIDC.

Location: Online via Zoom
Category: Filmmaking Intensive
Maximum Capacity: 8
12 hours of instruction in 4 parts$225 /member$250 /nonmember