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Short Documentary Production [ONLINE]

Starts July 22

6 sessions: Thursdays, July 22-August 26, 6:30-9pm CDT

In this hands-on, online production course, each student will produce and direct a short documentary film (6 minutes or less) using whatever equipment and materials you have on hand. Because we are slowly finding our way out of social distancing, your project may be a traditional documentary using footage you shoot. It may also include found footage and photographs, interviews via Zoom, and interviewees recording themselves. While we’ll be studying professional practices in documentary, students are welcome to make alternative or experimental documentary projects.

We’ll cover pre-production, production, and post-production in documentary, and we’ll delve into ways in which we can work without a crew with the equipment we have in this unique situation. Throughout the course we’ll view and analyze documentaries and clips, from old educational films to cinéma vérité, to personal docs, expository, social justice, and historical films, to get a taste of the wide variety of forms that documentary can take, and to clarify what style or methods would best serve your film.

This course is open to all levels, including beginners. For those choosing to shoot, any type of camera will work for this class, including smartphones. Students should have access to editing software or an app. Anyone with a work-in-progress is welcome. We’ll coordinate an online viewing party to occur after the final class session.

NOTE: Participation in this online course requires that you use the free Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service. For optimal performance it is recommended that you install Zoom on your computer rather than running it from a web browser. We’ll e-mail you a course reminder and Zoom link a few days prior to the first session. Click here for a Zoom tutorial.

Tuition: $205 | $155 low-income

Thalia Drori Ramirez is a writer, producer, and director with 30 years of experience making motion pictures: documentary, narrative, and personal/experimental. She received her MFA from New York University, and then worked in television news production and as an indie producer in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. Her award-winning work has screened around the world. Adam Abdul Hakeem: One Who Survived, her documentary about corrupt, drug-dealing cops in New York’s South Bronx  and a young man who dared to challenge them, was broadcast on PBS and BET, and continues to be used a teaching tool in law schools in the Her experimental, narrative, and personal work includes the stop-motion animation comedy Corporate Sponsorship Parade, as well as dark comedies, Waiting For Darryl, Little Miss Potentiality, and her first feature: Toxic Energy ~ Little Miss Potentiality Returns.

Thalia has been teaching and mentoring students for 20 years. She was full-time faculty in Media Arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. At the invitation of a women’s organization in Granada, Nicaragua, she founded Cineastas de Granada, a free-of-charge video production program for teen girls in Granada, where she taught for 12 years. In 2013, she began working in screenplay editing and reading for both Happy Writers and Women In Cinema International.

Thalia recently returned to the Twin Cities, where she continues to teach and make independent films.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




July 22 @ 6:30 pm
August 26 @ 9:00 pm
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Thalia Drori Ramirez
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Class count or Info
6 sessions: Thursdays, July 22-August 26, 6:30-9pm CDT