Create a short documentary video under the tutelage of a National Geographic cameraman/editor and Emmy nominated filmmaker.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

A Cinewright is someone who employs all the tools available today to produce, shoot, edit, and finish a documentary film for broadcast or to post on-line. It is this singularity of vision that creates a truly personal film. Like a shipwright or a playwright, a cinewright builds from the ground up. The process is both art and craft. It demands a diverse skill set. During a cinewright workshop we develop and expand our talents by taking an idea from concept to finished piece. Upon completion students have a professional-quality, five-minute video for their reel or the web.

Our destination is Buenos Aires, the mecca for tango. Visually arresting, the city feels more like Europe than South America. But the sultry nights and Spanish rhythms place it deep within the southern continent. We will focus our cameras on individuals who have come here to dance the art form born in these streets. Often dancers cite life-events as having propelled them to seek refuge through Tango. We’ll meet and interview American and European expats who have found meaning through dance in the “Paris of South America”.

Learning to work comfortably in a foreign country is an important goal of a Cinewright workshop. We engage with the communities we film in. Students collaborate in groups of 2 or 3 and are joined by a “fixer”. This is an Argentine film student who helps with production, speaks the language and knows how the city works. Perhaps more importantly, the fixer contributes a local’s eye to our story telling.

Our first week is about acclimating to this vibrant city, finding our characters and capturing their lives. From the cozy interiors of tango salons to the grand boulevards of Buenos Aires, the framing is as seductive as the subject. The city offers endless visual rewards as well as challenges. We’ll develop the fundamentals of shooting any fast-moving action. As with sports, one can’t anticipate where the action will go when filming dance. The elegance comes from letting the action enter and leave the shot. Each night we will review our work and discus the direction and structure of our production.

By the end of week one, our principal filming is completed. We are ready to refine and develop our story in the edit room. The soundtrack is Tango. It already contains the elements of storytelling. There is structure and story arc and improvisation. Each crew will produce, shoot and edit a five-minute documentary. When shown together, with the other students’ work, the result is a tribute to the city and its dance.

The goal of a Cinewright Workshop is to engage in every aspects of production so as to become a complete filmmaker. Participants should have at least some previous experience in either camera or editing. The workshop is well suited for the still photographer who wants to experience the totality of the filmmaking process. With filmmaking, the whole is greater than the sum of its part.

Logistics

We stay in the charming and picturesque neighborhood of San Telmo which was the birthplace of Tango. Our apartment is Parisian style with large and comfortable private-rooms. A shared room with twin beds is available at a $500 savings off of tuition. Welcome and closing dinners are included in the workshop as well as a continental breakfast each morning in the apartment. Flights to Buenos Aires as well as local transportation are the student’s responsibility. Flights from major hubs in the USA can be found for as little as a thousand U.S. dollars when purchased in advance.

Gaining familiarity on one’s own equipment is an important result of a cinewright workshop. As such, students bring their own cameras and laptops to work on. A modern still camera with video capabilities is a perfect choice as well as a broadcast video camera. But even today’s iPhone will yield results rivaling professional cameras of just a decade ago. We edit on Apple computers using Adobe Premiere Pro. Students should bring an SSD Hard Drive with a minimum of 250 Gigabytes of free space. Tom Donohue is available to assist students in equipping themselves for the trip.

If one needs basic instruction in both camera and editing, consider Maine Media’s 4-Week Documentary School held in Rockport each September. Other Maine Media Workshops and College offerings with Tom Donohue

  • 2-week Cinewright Workshops in Cuba (April)
  • 4-week Doc School in Rockport, Maine (September)

Payments & Registration

At the time of registration MMW+C will collect a $600 deposit.  At that point the student will be handed off directly to Cinewright.  Cinewirght will handle all further communications and final payment arrangements.

Currency

The Argentine peso is the official currency and currently valued at about $.03USD Plan on using your credit cards as the US dollar is not widely accepted.  Here is a recent article from USA Today.

Visas

Citizens holding passports from the US, EU, Canada, Australia and the British Isles do not need a visa.  Entry for up to 90-days is granted via a valid passport and return air. Others should check with the Argentinian Embassy in their respective home countries.

Electricity

Power plugs and sockets are of type C and I. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.  You may wish to consider purchasing a power adapter like this.

Image Credits:  Sander Crombach, Sasha Stories, Matias Wong

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Instructor: Tom Donohue

Tom Donohue is an EMMY-nominated filmmaker with over 30 years of experience in filmmaking including creating broadcast documentaries for such clients as National Geographic Television, The Discovery Channel, and PBS. His assignments have taken him from the war-torn streets of Afghanistan to Central American rainforests in search of jaguars. Tom’s approach to filmmaking is holistic: He produces, shoots, writes and edits his own films. Not only does this method provide an intimacy with the subject, but each step of the filmmaking process informs and complements the others.