What is creative nonfiction?
Creative nonfiction films are more than mere information dumps; instead, these films are as much about how they’re about their subject as what they’re about, exploring the meaning of terms like ‘truth’ and ‘reality’. These films are both constructed and real.
Think films like Stories We Tell, The Look of Silence, NUTS!, and Faces Places.
Why attend the Creative Nonfiction Workshop?
Explore how documentary can tell stories not possible through fiction and discover why every movie lover and storyteller should be thinking about and watching nonfiction films.
Our speakers are boundary-pushing nonfiction filmmakers who are thoughtful and articulate about their work and have changed how we think about nonfiction filmmaking.
Each session of the 2021 Creative Nonfiction Workshop will feature a facilitated discussion with a pair of filmmakers with similar interests to go beyond what you’d find in a regular interview or Q&A and deeper into filmmaking process and philosophy.
Get a chance to ask questions directly to each of our speakers and meet fellow nonfiction film lovers and filmmakers among the attendees to share your enthusiasm for the genre.
In short: we believe that this workshop will be a revelatory experience whether you’re more inclined toward fiction or nonfiction, whether you’re a filmmaker or just a film fan.
Watch the livestreams & talk to the filmmakers
With your ticket to the 2021 Creative Nonfiction Workshop, you’ll get an invitation to join us on Zoom for each of the discussions. During the Q&A, turn your mic & camera on to ask the filmmakers questions directly.
Can’t make the live stream? The recording will be available after for you to catch up.
Two weeks before each event, we’ll email you about how to watch films by the filmmakers, highlighting essential works and what to watch for.
Get the book + read early excerpts
With your ticket, you’ll get a free copy of the ebook Subjective realities: The art of creative nonfiction film. All of the guests at the workshop are featured in the book.
This in-depth ebook, one of Seventh Row’s most ambitious publications yet, will help you explore the world of contemporary creative nonfiction filmmaking through essays on interviews. Six sections will cover topics ranging from nonfiction character portraits to personal cinema to reclaiming history.
Discuss the sessions & the films with a community
Meet other film lovers and filmmakers who are also attending The 2021 Creative Nonfiction Workshop and discuss the sessions, and the movies in our online community.
We’ll also be holding informal Zoom meetups with ticket holders prior to each masterclass to discuss the films.
Plus, we’ll make some of the hard-to-see films by the filmmakers available to you free as an attendee.
Watch the films – July and August 2021 live workshop only
We’ve secured worldwide virtual screening rights for the following boundary-pushing documentaries by our guests, which you can access free with your ticket:
- Bisbee ’17 (Robert Greene) — currently otherwise unavailable outside the US
- Sleepless Nights (Eliane Raheb) — currently otherwise unavailable
- No Ordinary Man (Chase Joynt and Aisling Chin-Yee) — currently otherwise unavailable outside of Canada
- Still Processing (Sophy Romvari)
- What He Did (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
Watch back the recordings of all four live-streamed discussions.
Session 1: How can creative nonfiction films reclaim history?
Cheryl Foggo (dir. John Ware Reclaimed), Aisling Chin-Yee (dir. No Ordinary Man), and Chase Joynt (dir. No Ordinary Man discussed how they navigated telling stories that had rarely been told before and connecting that history to the present day lives of marginalised people.
Cheryl Foggo is a Canadian author, filmmaker, screenwriter, and playwright. In John Ware Reclaimed (2020), Foggo uses reenactment, animation, and music to explore the history of the Black diaspora on the Alberta prairies, focussing on the story of rancher John Ware and how it continues to resonate today.
Chase Joynt is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria. In 2020, he co-directed his first feature with Aisling Chin-Yee, No Ordinary Man. Aisling Chin-Yee is an award-winning producer, writer, and director based in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. No Ordinary Man, which rewrites the narrative around 20th-century trans jazz musician Billy Tipton by auditioning and interviewing transmasculine actors, exploring how Tipton’s legacy relates to their lives today.
Confirmed screening access for July 2021 only: Stream No Ordinary Man with the masterclass. The film is otherwise only available in Canada or theatrically in the US. John Ware Reclaimed is streaming free in Canada and available to rent on VOD elsewhere.
Session 2: How can nonfiction filmmaking be used to tell personal stories?
Watch the recording of the discussion between directors Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson and Dick Johnson is Dead) and Sophy Romvari (Still Processing) on telling personal stories through cinema and how film can be used as a tool to process and preserve emotions.
Confirmed screening access for July/August 2021 only: Stream Still Processing free as part of the workshop.
Session 3: How do you craft a nonfiction portrait?
Watch the recording of the discussion between directors Jonas Poher Rasmussen and Eliane Raheb on how to tell complex character studies, push your subjects, and illuminate their inner lives on screen.
This January, Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee was the talk of Sundance, taking home the festival’s World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury prize and was swiftly picked up by Neon. Rasmussen uses animation to tell the story of his childhood friend, Amin, a refugee who came to Denmark from Syria.
Lebanese filmmaker Eliane Raheb impressed this year out of Berlinale with Miguel’s War, a film that uses verité footage, recreations, and animation to narrate her friend Miguel’s journey from fighting in the Lebanese Civil War to fleeing to Spain, where he now lives.
Confirmed screening access for July/August 2021 only: Watch Raheb’s previous feature, currently unavailable elsewhere, Sleepless Nights (2012), and Poher Rasmussen’s previous feature, What He Did.
Session 4: How do you edit fiction vs nonfiction? And much more!!
Watch the recording of the discussion between Robert Greene and Joe Bini on their approach to documentary characters studies and making films without resources.
Robert Greene has made several acclaimed documentaries that blue the line between fiction and fiction, including Bisbee ‘17, Kate Plays Christine, and Actress. He has also worked as an editor for directors such as Alex Ross Perry.
Joe Bini has made twenty-seven films as an editor with Werner Herzog (E.g., Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams), as well as many other filmmakers (e.g., Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here), and has recently moved on to directing film and live performance himself (Little Ethiopia).
Confirmed screening access: Watch Greene’s Bisbee ’17 free worldwide (Aug 20-22, 2021 only); it’s currently otherwise unavailable outside the US. Bini’s Little Ethiopia is available to stream.
As soon as you buy your ticket…
The fun starts right away.
- Download your copy of the new ebook, Subjective realities: The art of creative nonfiction film
- Join the community and join the discussion.
- Stream the films (where available).
- Watch the recordings of the first two sessions.
An intro to creative nonfiction
We started using the term ‘creative nonfiction’ to describe boundary-pushing work in nonfiction filmmaking after filmmaker Penny Lane described her own documentaries with the term. Check out our Lockdown Film School session introducing creative nonfiction from last year. We’ll be building on this session with the Creative Nonfiction Workshop.
What does a ticket to the workshop include?
Explore boundary-pushing documentary through:
- Four recorded conversations with filmmakers on reclaiming history, personal cinema, documentary character studies, and more
- Insights from guest speakers Robert Greene, Kirsten Johnson, Sophy Romvari, Joe Bini, Eliane Raheb, Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Cheryl Foggo, Aisling Chin-Yee, and Chase Joynt
- An copy of our ebook, Subjective realities: The art of creative nonfiction film
- Access to virtual community spaces where you can meet likeminded folks
We’d like to thank Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema for sponsoring this event.
We’d like to thank our other sponsors:
We are still accepting additional private and corporate sponsors and donors.
Become a Sponsor
The Lockdown Film School Creative Nonfiction Miniseries sponsorships offer a valuable opportunity to showcase your brand and gain targeted exposure to filmmakers, film lovers, film educators, and film students.
The Creative Nonfiction Workshop is a Lockdown Film School miniseries. We recommend checking out the recordings of past Lockdown Film School events, particularly our intro to creative nonfiction which is a great preview of what’s to come this summer.
Because we’re inviting the most exciting creative nonfiction filmmakers working today, some of their films are still on the festival circuit or not possible to find around the world. Where available, we will let you know how to stream the films.
Whether you’re a casual viewer or a film expert, the series is for you. We won’t talk down to you, but we also won’t go over your head with technical jargon. The series is designed to help you think about creative nonfiction film and its possibilities and how directors achieve their vision.
No. The workshop is intended to be an ongoing discussion series built around a community of attendees. As such, you can only attend by purchasing a ticket to the entire event (all four sessions).
A ticket to watch all four recordings is $199.99 CAD. It also includes a free copy of the ebook Subjective Realities: The art of creative nonfiction film and access to our virtual community.