TWN Media Production Training Program
Production Workshops, Evening Seminars and Community Media Training
TWN has trained hundreds of film and video artists in the past 38 years through its
annual Production Workshop; spring and fall Evening Seminars; and
Senior, Youth and Community Media workshops. The organization
regularly collaborates on workshops, conferences, seminars and special projects
such as the Unending Korean War Conference, the Organizing/Filmmaking/Archiving Symposium and more. Third World Newsreel works with New York City based media centers, universities
and community groups to host production workshops, seminars and events.
Starting its 39th year, the TWN Media Production Workshop continues its long tradition
of providing an unique hands-on training program that provides practical
skills and resources for emerging filmmakers. This intensive 5-month program
supports and trains people from communities that historically have had limited
economic resources and access to mainstream educational institutions or training
programs. By providing the basic technical and storytelling tools to create
fiction or documentary projects, the Media Production Workshop carries on the mission
of TWN by promoting independent cinema made for and by underserved communities
of color and their progressive allies.
The Media Production Workshop recognizes new
emerging digital technologies and the importance of multi-platform and
interactive media in the production and distribution of projects. The curriculum
of the workshop integrates these elements into the pre-production, production
and post-production skills necessary to take at least one short 5-minute video project
from conception to completion.
Working in small groups, workshop members collectively conceive and produce project ideas with the help of instructors and guest speakers who are experienced professionals currently working in the field of film, video and trans-media. The Media Production Workshop meets once a week at
6:30 pm in the offices of Third World Newsreel in New York City. The time commitment needed to
participate in the workshop is high and participants must be able to attend
regular class meetings as well as fulfill the out-of-class demands of
pre-production, production, and post-production. Prior film, video or related
experience is helpful but not required; self-initiative, time and a progressive
and collaborative spirit are. The selection to the Media Production Workshop is limited to
10 participants. An initial written application is required and a second round
of applicants are selected for interviews. The cost of the workshop is $650.
The workshop is taught by Workshop Director Chrystian Rodriguez, a long time media instructor, filmmaker and community activist, who taught for many years at Global Action Project (GAP) and at the Tribeca Film Institute. He is ably assisted by Daniel Kim as Workshop Assistant and a team of visiting lecturers, including this year, Alonzo Rico Speight (editing), JT Takagi (sound), Warut Snidvongs (lighting) and others.
For further information, read our FAQ below,
download our application, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring and Fall Evening Seminars Series
Besides its intensive Media Production Workshop, TWN also sponsors a walk-in series of workshops on various production topics each spring and fall. The seminars are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted, and are presented at various New York City locations. Past workshop speakers have included: Byron Hurt, Laurens Grant, Larry Banks, Jason DaSilva, Cliff Charles, Shawn Batey, Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez, Mike Chin, Deann Borshay Liem, Stanley Nelson, One9, Eric Parker, Sam Pollard, Bobby Shepard, Grace Lee, Arthur Jafa and many more!
For more information, see our Evening Seminars calendar listing and visit our Facebook Events page.
Senior, Youth and Community Media Workshops
Periodically, TWN offers Senior, Youth and Community Media Workshops in collaboration with institutions and organizations based in New York City.
Senior, Youth and Community Media Workshops are free. Past workshops have included the SU-CASA Senior Media Workshop in Flushing, the NYWIFT Immigrant/First Generation Women Production Workshop and the Asian Girls Empowerment Through Media Workshop (AGEM).
Funding for the TWN Media Production Training Program are provided in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC
Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Peace Development Fund and individual donors.
Production Workshop FAQ
What types of videos can be made in the workshop?
Dramatic, documentary, experimental and various cross genres. Regardless of the
formal structure, projects must be kept short, simple and manageable to keep production
time and expenses down.
What other costs are associated with the Production Workshop?
The workshop provides basic production equipment. Other production costs such as media cards, external drives, transportation,
food, props, etc. are at the participants' expense.
When are applications available and when will I be notified of acceptance/rejection?
Applications are up on our website in December and the deadline for
this year's completed applications was the end of January. Second round interviews
are conducted soon after and people will be notified immediately about their
acceptance or rejection.
How competitive is the application process?
We want as many people as possible to have access to the application process. However,
only about half of the applicants are contacted for a second round of personal interviews
for the available slots. If necessary, interviews can be conducted over the phone
for out of city/state applicants.
Are there other training programs that TWN offers?
The TWN Media Production Workshop is project driven and the only production
training program that the organization offers. It is conducted once a year and starts in
early spring. However, every fall and spring TWN offers a series of Evening Seminars on various production topics, plus film screenings and director talks.
The seminars cover topics ranging from proposal writing to HD media workflow to master classes with editors and directors. All seminars are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For more information
on these seminars, email:
What kind of time commitment is necessary for the Production Workshop?
If your time is limited or you have other commitments, it will be very difficult
to fully benefit from the Production Workshop. In addition to the regular
evening meetings, participants are also expected to attend the Evening Seminar
Series, and there is a tremendous amount of work in pre-production and post-production
that each participant must accomplish outside of the regularly attended sessions. In addition, because people often work during the weekday,
most productions are shot on the weekends or in the evenings so you must be available
and flexible with your time. Workshop participants are required to help on each other's projects and participate in a Community
Service Project where members provide some kind of service, i.e. shoot an event,
screen films or videos, conduct a media workshop, etc. for a grassroots community
organization. It must be emphasized that the Production Workshop is not a "school"
situation where one meets for class once a week, takes notes and then comes back
again the following week. It is a project driven and production orientated program
where one must be committed to learning basic production skills while making progressive
What have past participants done after the TWN Media Production Workshop?
Past participants have produced, written and directed feature films, documentaries
and experimental works. They have worked as cinematographers, editors and other
technical positions on fictional films, documentaries, commercials, music videos,
etc. They have been Academy Award nominees. They have been accepted to graduate
film programs at NYU, UCLA, CCNY and Columbia University and have attended AFI,
IFP and the Sundance Directors and Writing labs. They have started their own production
companies and film collectives. They have produced community based video & film
projects and training programs... the list goes on. Workshop graduates include:
Loira Limbal (Estilo Hip Hop), Byron Hurt (Beyond Beats and Rhymes) Grace Lee (The
Grace Lee Project and American Revolutionary), Ada Gay Griffin (A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre
Lorde), Randy Redroad (Doe Boy), Renata Gangemi (Professor, Ramapo College), Alice
Wu (Saving Face), Jamal Josephs (30 Days, Professor, Columbia Univ.), and Renee Tajima-Peña
(No Más Bebés, Calavera Highway, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, Professor, UC Santa Cruz).
In Memoriam: Herman Lew
Our long time Workshop Director, Herman Lew, passed away September 20th, 2014. He was our best friend and colleague, a great DP and the best teacher ever. We miss him terribly. Herman Lew was the Director of the Third World Newsreel Production Workshop for over two decades (since 1989). Also a professor and director of the B.F.A. Film Video Program
at the City College of New York, Herman received his BA from the State
University of Los Angeles and his MFA from New York University (NYU). Herman had
been a director of photography for over 65 films, documentaries and commercials,
as well as dance, experimental projects and museum installations. He was the recipient of
a New York Foundation For The Arts Fellowship and had received grants from the New York State Council On The Arts for his own film and video projects. Among his last productions were Hans Richter: Everything Turns, Everything Revolves (2013), What Happened to Danny, and Something to Say, a documentary on Asian American performer activists.