Tag Archives: filmmaking


Stephen and I are breathing a little easier now that the Chavez Family North Carolina artist residency is behind us.  For two weeks, we juggled cars, trucks and schedules so that Eric and Janet could be in Asheville, Pittsboro, Chapel Hill and Siler City for weaving and dyeing demonstrations, exhibitions, lectures, and gallery openings.  The residency was a resounding success.  They left on Saturday to go NYC, where Elsa joined them, to visit friends.  Eric is also introducing himself to NYC museums to make a connection and possible exchange of collections/exhibitions and educational programs for the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.

This Sunday, Oct. 26, I’m participating in a Retro Fashion Show to benefit the Chatham Artists Guild and Studio Tour, dancing down the runway in a 1960’s gold brocade dress with a boat collar.  I sprayed glue on my sandals and sprinkled glitter to match the dress, so I could be comfortable (no high heels for me).  I’m wearing a goofy gold hat that looks like a flying saucer with a huge gold bow that covers one ear. The show covers fashion from the 1920’s through to the 1980’s, complete with period music and social commentary-narration.  I’ll be sure to take photos.  The fashion show starts at 3 p.m. at the Fearrington Barn in Fearrington Village.  As an artist on the Chatham Studio Tour, #19 this year (www.chathamstudiotour.com), I’ve been invited to bring a jewelry piece to show and offer for sale at the event.  I’ve got a new collection which people are raving about.

I’ve completed my Facebook page and have bought Facebook ad (this is an experiment) to promote the Documentary Filmmaking Workshop in Oaxaca from January 31-February 6, 2009.  We have four people enrolled and are capping off at eight.  I’m looking at the cost and effectiveness of Google ads, too.  The Internet technology that encourages communication is fascinating, and I’m playing with posting workshop events on Facebook, too.  I’m also offering a weaving and natural dyeing workshop with the Chavez Santiago family during the same dates, so it’s going to be a busy January.

Coming up is a trip to Tucson to visit Carolina nursing school alumni, November 5-8.  I’ve invited my sister Barbara to meet me there, and we’ll go and visit the cemetary where our dad is buried.

What’s up for the future?  I’ve been talking with artist friends about teaching photography and painting workshops in Teotitlan in late 2009 or 2010, and scheduling another weaving workshop for July 2009 when teachers could take an arts residency for a week during summer vacation!

Film Making Workshop: Visual Storytelling — February 19-26, 2010

Consider Oaxaca Digital Photography Expedition: Market Towns and Artisan Villages, June 29-July 5, 2011.  It’s not likely we will have a film making workshop in 2011.

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For seven days, from Friday evening, February 19, to Friday, morning, February 26, you will immerse yourself in the art and craft of documentary film making in the indigenous Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. There are 7,000 people and 2,000 looms in this famous rug weaving center situated 15 miles outside the colonial capital of Oaxaca City. This learning laboratory opens your eyes to new perspectives. A core aspect of this workshop is to encourage you to take the skills and insights you gain through this cross-cultural experience back home to document your own community, culture, or advocacy project with fresh vision.

Creating a documentary is much more than learning how to point, shoot and edit. Capturing the unique voices of your subjects is at the heart of the work. Topics may include the intimate rituals of daily life — making tortillas from scratch, preparing natural dyes, the voices of women, celebrations and life cycle events.

Newsflash: Artist Panteleon Ruiz, a renowned Zapotec painter who incorporates natural dyes in his oil pigments, will be one of the subjects for the film workshop!

You will work in small groups, guided by expert faculty who give you the creative freedom to produce a 3-5 minute short subject film. A celebratory final night viewing will showcase everyone’s work.

Here’s the REGISTRATION FORM: Go to the BLOGROLL for the link

Here are the three films produced at the last workshop:

Weaving a Curve (English subtitles)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxgxcMQlQZM

Dance of the Feather: A Promise & Commitment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpr4dBi-6h4

Woven Together: Entretejidos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwxuUb6fPL4

You will:

  • Explore the creativity, challenges and ethics of telling a compelling story
  • Learn the steps of documentary film production from start to finish
  • Develop the technical skills for video and audio recording
  • Edit the raw footage into a rich narrative using Final Cut Pro
This is an excellent opportunity for those who want to get a first hand experience in documentary field work — all in a great travel destination.
Being able to tell a visual story via video is a powerful and valuable
skill for staff and volunteers working to raise funds, communicate an
issue, and increase visibility.  The stories we learn to capture on film
in Mexico from an arts and ethnographic perspective can be translated to
the interests we have and issues we face in our own communities at home
or other global sites.It is also a great way to develop a professional skill.  Professional development expenses can be tax deductible (travel and workshop tuition).
Ask your tax preparer/account.

After you register, faculty will contact you to discuss your interests and skill level. Then, we’ll send you a complete packet of materials, including a list of what to bring, like your own camera and tapes.  Pre-workshop readings will address: What style of documentary do I want to make? What issues do I need to be sensitive to when entering an unfamiliar culture? What about using my video camera, microphone and lighting? How do we maximize the collaborative process with teammates and crew? What are film production stages? Can I really learn to edit? How do I conduct an effective interview?


What Participants Say…

Erica encouraged me to challenge myself and go beyond what was easy and “routine” for me.  I am really happy with the final piece.  The experience was challenging and VERY rewarding.  A wonderful experience, a beautiful place. –Sarah Kennedy Davis, Kentucky, USA

The experience helped me understand the importance of teamwork. I loved the way Erica explained things. –Eric Chavez Santiago, Oaxaca, Mexico

The instructors were delightful and able to explain to the novice very sophisticated concepts in an understandable way.  I really appreciated Erica’s wise and warm approach to the subject.  The location is picturesque and the family very friendly; the food was wonderful.  Thank you. –Betty Hutchins, Toronto, Canada

Thank you for everything. I learned a lot–interviewing skills and how to use Final Cut Pro.  The multicultural residency enhanced my filmmaking goals because it expanded my experience beyond a controlled environment.  I loved it. –Scott Switzer, Oregon, USA

Thanks for inspiring teaching.  I have an appreciation for what it takes to make a film.  ths is a unique combination of a documentary course in a multicultural setting. — Eunice Hogeveen, Toronto, Canada

When you arrive in Teotitlan, you’ll meet the faculty and we’ll give you your documentary topic. We will pre-arrange your field contacts and provide bilingual translators to accompany you on interviews. You will then work with your partner and faculty to develop the technical and creative approach that best fits your personal and professional goals for the week.

What Is Included?

· Over 75 hours of expert instruction

· “On location” in a fascinating place

· A comprehensive notebook of materials

· Lodging for 7 nights

· 7 breakfasts, plus 5 lunches and dinners

· Bilingual interview translation services

· A DVD of all the films produced during the workshop

· The experience of a lifetime!

Accommodations are in a lovely village guesthouse with bougainville and pomegranate trees. The setting is traditional, yet comfortable.  The Zapotec proprietors are a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law team — gracious hosts and excellent cooks. As guests in their family compound, you will taste delicious traditional foods that Oaxaca is famous for and live with the family during your stay.  An intimate and rewarding experience!

Your Faculty Experts:  Erica Rothman and Jim Haverkamp

Erica Rothman, LCSW, is a documentary filmmaker who uses her psychotherapy background to understand and capture her subjects with sensitivity and depth, in an intimate and compelling way. As the principal of Nightlight Productions, she has written, produced and directed acclaimed projects, including full-length documentary films, that focus on local and global health care, public policy, the arts and humanities. She received a 2007 Gracie Award for American Women in Radio and Television, and key awards at the Houston International Film Festival. Rothman teaches in the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.

“I love the collaboration between the people working on the film, the subjects and the content.  I’m excited about this 2010 workshop because Jim and I have worked together for over five years.  Documentary filmmaking is a powerful way to use storytelling to bring people to action.” – Erica Rothman

Jim Haverkamp is a filmmaker and freelance editor based in Durham, North Carolina.  His short fiction and documentary films have shown at over 50 festivals around the world, including Chicago Underground, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Maryland Film Festival. He has taught filmmaking at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, and was awarded a filmmaking fellowship by the North Carolina Arts Council in 2000.  He teaches at the intensive documentary institute at Duke Center for Documentary Studies for six year. He hold the B.A. American Studies, University of Iowa.

Cost and Registration: $1795 per person, double occupancy, including food and lodging outlined above. A $500 deposit will hold your reservation. Workshop limited to 6 people.

Contact: Norma Hawthorne, (919) 274-6194 or normahawthorne@mac.com to register.

Presented by: Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, www.oaxacaculture.com and https://oaxacaculture.com

How to Register  Workshop cost is $1795 per person, double occupancy. Single supplement is available at $300 per person.  Please print out and complete the registration form and mail it with your deposit. Registration form:  www.oaxacaculture.com

Deposit: A $500 deposit will reserve your space in the filmmaking workshop.

Final payment is due 30 days before the start day of the workshop. If the balance is not paid by this time, then we reserve the right to treat the reservation as cancelled. Any registrations made 30 days or less before the start of the workshop must be paid in full at that time. If cancellation is necessary, cancellation notice must by made in writing by email.  Deposits are refundable, as follows:

Deposits may be refunded:

*Up to 30 days before the workshop start date, less a $100 cancellation fee.

*After that, deposits are not refundable.

If cancellation is necessary, you may apply the deposit to a future workshop. We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule workshops, in which case you may choose a 100% refund or apply the tuition to a future workshop.

Personal checks are accepted. We also accept payment with PayPal. Contact us for details: normahawthorne@mac.com

Documentation: U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico are required to carry a current passport, valid for at least 3 months after your re-entry to the U.S. It is your responsibility to carry proper documentation. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact the Mexican embassy, consulate or a national airline of Mexico for entry requirements.

Trip insurance: PLEASE consider purchasing travel insurance. Unforeseen circumstances of getting to Teotitlan del Valle could cost you more than you expected. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster caused beyond our control, trip insurance will cover any unexpected expenses.

What is NOT included

Transportation to Mexico, Oaxaca and Teotitlan; gratuities and fees; local bus and taxi fees, trip insurance, medical expenses, hospitalization, any other fees; evening dinner in Oaxaca, liquor; optional side trips and excursions; extensions to your stay.

Schedule  Upon registration, we will send you an outline of the week’s activities.

Friday: Arrive in Oaxaca and take a taxi to your B&B in Teotitlan del Valle. We’ll provide you with directions and how to get from the airport to the village. We will meet together in the courtyard at 8:00 p.m. for a welcome reception. Saturday: Meet for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Workshop starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues through the day into the evening.  Sunday-Friday: Each day is planned with different activities to enhance the learning process. The workshop day typically begins at 9 a.m. after breakfast and continues, with meal and snack breaks, through the evening. We will take one late afternoon and evening “off” to go into Oaxaca City for comida together and to explore the sights. Saturday morning: Breakfast, summary and evaluation. The workshop ends by 10:00 a.m.

Send your registration deposit with your name, address, telephone, cell phone and email address, and a brief statement about why you want to attend this workshop and your experience, to:

Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Rd., Pittsboro, NC 27312


normahawthorne@mac.com or (919) 274-6194

We also offer weaving and natural dyeing workshops in Teotitlan del Valle!




Documentary Filmmaking Workshop in Oaxaca Planned for Mid-January 2009

The Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, 17 miles southwest of Oaxaca in the Tlacolula valley, becomes your learning laboratory for documentary filmmaking.  In this village of 7,000 people there are 2,000 looms, a multitude of weavers using natural dyes from plant materials — a 6,000 year old tradition, a 16th century Catholic church built atop Zapotec archeological ruins, sustainable agriculture programs, festivals and feast days, an environmental awareness program for children, people whose family members have gone to El Norte never to be seen again. The village, nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre del Sur on a 6,000 ft. high desert plateau, offers a rich learning environment.  There are story possibilities galore that can feature indigenous art and culture, folk traditions, social justice, public health, education, immigration, women and families.

This will be a 5-day intensive, immersion documentary filmmaking workshop starting in mid-January 2009 (exact dates to be announced).   The workshop will be limited to 8 participants; we welcome participants at all levels, from beginner to more experienced.  You will produce a 3-5 minute short documentary film as your final project and show your film on the final day.  You will work together in small groups with expert faculty instructing you every step of the way, and then giving you the freedom to create an independent short subject film.  We will provide translators and lots of on-the-ground support.

We anticipate that the fee will include all instruction, 6 nights lodging, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, snacks, use of all equipment, bilingual translators.  We don’t have any more to tell you right now!

If you are interest in knowing more details as they develop or you would like to add your name to a waiting list, please contact me — normahawthorne@mac.com.