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UNITEDNOTIONS film


United Notions Film produces thought provoking films and media.

Established in 2005 by award winning filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw, UNF has offices in the US, Australia and Bolivia.

Our first feature STOLEN premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was shown in 80 festivals, won 15 awards and aired on PBS. We’re currently producing a trilogy titled ‘From the South Looking North’, the first two features COCAINE PRISON and THE BOLIVIAN CASE will be released in 2014.

UNF films are supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, the IDFA Fund, Fonds Sud Cinema, the Strasbourg Film Fund, Screen NSW, Screen Australia, the Norwegian Film Institute, PBS, Puma, Bertha Foundation, Britdoc Foundation, Chicken & Egg, MacArthur Foundation, NRK, DRTV, Screen Queensland, RTVC, Good Pitch NY, IFP, Film Independent, Hot Docs Forum and Berlinale amongst others.

 

 

 

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Our Team

Our driving force is to create experiential films with challenging ideas that push boundaries.

Violeta Ayala

Violeta Ayala

Violeta is an indigenous writer and filmmaker from Bolivia, best known for the controversial STOLEN that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, screened at 80 festivals, won 15 awards and aired on PBS. Currently working on the feature documentaries, COCAINE PRISON and THE BOLIVIAN CASE, Ayala is developing two feature screenplays, EL COMUNISTA, about her grandfather, a leader of Bolivia’s indigenous workers, exiled Serbian Jew and friend to Che Guevara and WE THE WARRIORS, a cinematic exploration celebrating the survival of indigenous people across the Americas. She’s an alumnus of Film Independent, the Berlinale, Good Pitch and a Tribeca Film Fellow. Ayala is creating a network of minority filmmakers to break stereotypes created in an Anglo dominated media. She has a degree in Journalism from Charles Sturt University. Ayala is one of 12 prominent bloggers for the Huffington Post on the War on Drugs, has written investigative stories for the Sydney Morning Herald and is recipient of the Bertha Britdoc Journalism Award.

Dan Fallshaw

Dan Fallshaw

Dan is an award winning filmmaker who makes films to shift the balance of power. In 2006 he went to Mauritania to make BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA a film about corruption in the oil industry. In 2009, he co-directed, produced, shot, edited, the multi-award winning documentary STOLEN, which he sold to PBS. Fallshaw is currently producing and filming COCAINE PRISON & THE BOLIVIAN CASE. His projects have been pitched at major film forums, including IDFA, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc Fest, Good Pitch NY and IFP. Prior to founding UNF, Fallshaw was an Art Director for SBS TV Australia, developed creative concepts for agencies in London & Munich. He has an honors degree in Visual Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney and Saint Martin’s College in London. He is a qualified science teacher and taught children with special needs. Fallshaw is a Tribeca Film Fellow and alumnus of Film Independent. In 2013 received the Bertha Britdoc Journalism Award and is the CEO of United Notions Film.

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw is an African American writer, producer and Director and 2nd Assistant Director for numerous commercial projects, including Scandal, House of Lies, The Muppets, The Office, Heroes, Private Practice and Body of Proof. From 2002 to 2005 Shaw was the development and production executive for Point 7 Entertainment. She’s worked as Production and Talent Coordinator for BET, TV One and Comedy Central and the Inaugural Neighborhood Ball for President Obama. Her credits as an independent filmmaker include JOURNEY TO AFRICA; a feature documentary for which she won an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship at the Wexner Center and selected for the Film Independent Doc Lab. She’s an adjunct professor of Film at Santa Monica College and teaches at inner-city high schools in LA. Shaw uses her skills to teach children to create positive, educational projects, which are captivating and clever in storytelling. She holds a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters Degree in Cinema from Georgia State University.

Sloane Cornelius

Sloane Cornelius

Sloane is an indigenous social justice activist based in Nebraska. She is passionate about creating grassroots movements within minority communities that uncover and dismantle systems of injustice in hopes to promote equity and intra-community healing. Cornelius is currently working part-time towards her degree in Non-Profit Management and Justice Studies. She has joined UNF in 2013.
“As a registered member of my tribe, Oglala Lakota, my people are from one of the most political reservations in U.S. history. Our complex and complicated history with the U.S. government can be attributed to our ongoing persistence and resolve to see our traditions and history endure despite all odds. This has created in me a deep commitment to social justice, as well as my people. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find someone as passionate as I am about creating tangible and realizable change within native communities.”

Jeneffa Soldatic

Jeneffa Soldatic

Jen’s producer credits include the internationally acclaimed documentary Yes, Madam Sir, and numerous international theatre productions and short films since 1995. Jeneffa has a Masters in Fine Arts from the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School University, NYC. She then became the third Australian to be honoured with Life Membership to the prestigious Actors Studio. She is regularly invited to give master-classes, talk on panels and judge work internationally at Pace University in NYC, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok University, National Institute of Dramatic Art, University of New South Wales, Commune of Avigliano Umbro in Italy, ACA and is a current board member of Fundación Gimnasio de Actores in Venezuela as Head of the Advisory Council. Soldatic has led the educational distribution for STOLEN in 2012 and is an Associate Producer for COCAINE PRISON.

Violeta Ayala

Violeta Ayala

Violeta is an indigenous writer and filmmaker from Bolivia, best known for the controversial STOLEN that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, screened at 80 festivals, won 15 awards and aired on PBS. Currently working on the feature documentaries, COCAINE PRISON and THE BOLIVIAN CASE, Ayala is developing two feature screenplays, EL COMUNISTA, about her grandfather, a leader of Bolivia’s indigenous workers, exiled Serbian Jew and friend to Che Guevara and WE THE WARRIORS, a cinematic exploration celebrating the survival of indigenous people across the Americas. She’s an alumnus of Film Independent, the Berlinale, Good Pitch and a Tribeca Film Fellow. Ayala is creating a network of minority filmmakers to break stereotypes created in an Anglo dominated media. She has a degree in Journalism from Charles Sturt University. Ayala is one of 12 prominent bloggers for the Huffington Post on the War on Drugs, has written investigative stories for the Sydney Morning Herald and is recipient of the Bertha Britdoc Journalism Award.

Dan Fallshaw

Dan Fallshaw

Dan is an award winning filmmaker who makes films to shift the balance of power. In 2006 he went to Mauritania to make BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA a film about corruption in the oil industry. In 2009, he co-directed, produced, shot, edited, the multi-award winning documentary STOLEN, which he sold to PBS. Fallshaw is currently producing and filming COCAINE PRISON & THE BOLIVIAN CASE. His projects have been pitched at major film forums, including IDFA, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc Fest, Good Pitch NY and IFP. Prior to founding UNF, Fallshaw was an Art Director for SBS TV Australia, developed creative concepts for agencies in London & Munich. He has an honors degree in Visual Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney and Saint Martin’s College in London. He is a qualified science teacher and taught children with special needs. Fallshaw is a Tribeca Film Fellow and alumnus of Film Independent. In 2013 received the Bertha Britdoc Journalism Award and is the CEO of United Notions Film.

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw is an African American writer, producer and Director and 2nd Assistant Director for numerous commercial projects, including Scandal, House of Lies, The Muppets, The Office, Heroes, Private Practice and Body of Proof. From 2002 to 2005 Shaw was the development and production executive for Point 7 Entertainment. She’s worked as Production and Talent Coordinator for BET, TV One and Comedy Central and the Inaugural Neighborhood Ball for President Obama. Her credits as an independent filmmaker include JOURNEY TO AFRICA; a feature documentary for which she won an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship at the Wexner Center and selected for the Film Independent Doc Lab. She’s an adjunct professor of Film at Santa Monica College and teaches at inner-city high schools in LA. Shaw uses her skills to teach children to create positive, educational projects, which are captivating and clever in storytelling. She holds a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters Degree in Cinema from Georgia State University.

Sloane Cornelius

Sloane Cornelius

Sloane is an indigenous social justice activist based in Nebraska. She is passionate about creating grassroots movements within minority communities that uncover and dismantle systems of injustice in hopes to promote equity and intra-community healing. Cornelius is currently working part-time towards her degree in Non-Profit Management and Justice Studies. She has joined UNF in 2013.
“As a registered member of my tribe, Oglala Lakota, my people are from one of the most political reservations in U.S. history. Our complex and complicated history with the U.S. government can be attributed to our ongoing persistence and resolve to see our traditions and history endure despite all odds. This has created in me a deep commitment to social justice, as well as my people. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find someone as passionate as I am about creating tangible and realizable change within native communities.”

Jeneffa Soldatic

Jeneffa Soldatic

Jen’s producer credits include the internationally acclaimed documentary Yes, Madam Sir, and numerous international theatre productions and short films since 1995. Jeneffa has a Masters in Fine Arts from the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School University, NYC. She then became the third Australian to be honoured with Life Membership to the prestigious Actors Studio. She is regularly invited to give master-classes, talk on panels and judge work internationally at Pace University in NYC, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok University, National Institute of Dramatic Art, University of New South Wales, Commune of Avigliano Umbro in Italy, ACA and is a current board member of Fundación Gimnasio de Actores in Venezuela as Head of the Advisory Council. Soldatic has led the educational distribution for STOLEN in 2012 and is an Associate Producer for COCAINE PRISON.

About Us

"We live and work by our motto of making films with people, not about people."
United Notions Film.

1102

Hours of footage shot

20

Film funds won

82

 Festivals have shown our films

15

Awards won

FILMS

Our films stimulate debate and inspire people to take a stand.

STOLEN

“Pacy, exciting and hugely engrossing. Guaranteed to spark intense debate about the relationship between documakers and their subjects wherever it's shown.” Variety

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Filmmakers Ayala and Fallshaw follow Fetim Sellami, a Saharawi refugee, to North Africa for a reunion with her mother. Mother and child were separated when Sellami was a toddler. But the UN-sponsored reunion reveals a secret which spirals the film into a dark world the filmmakers could never have imagined. The black Saharawis start talking about a forbidden subject…Their enslavement. Stolen is a compelling, modern-day, real-life cloak-and-dagger thriller.

 

WATCH STOLEN

Watch Stolen today, rent it or buy it online here.

EDUCATION SALES

Stolen is available for sale to universities and colleges here.

CONNECT ON FACEBOOK

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via Stolen’s Facebook page

CONNECT ON TWITTER

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via Stolen on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 Stolen festivals

 

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Cocaine Prison

In post-production

From inside one of Bolivia’s most notorious prisons a cocaine worker, a drug mule, and his younger sister reveal the country’s relationship with cocaine.

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COCAINE PRISON begins in Bolivia’s notorious San Sebastian jail, a virtual citadel inside a crumbling old colonial house and follows the interlinked lives of Mario, a cocaine worker fighting for freedom, Hernan, a drug mule who dreams of being a drug-boss, and his younger sister, Daisy, who struggles to escape the lure to traffic cocaine. In a country where the cocaine trade isn’t ruled by violence, these three small fish dispel the gun-toting ʻNarcoʼ myth. The film questions the legitimacy of the US War on Drugs that has seen billions of dollars spent on repressive policies, targeting the “disposable”.

Bridging the ever widening gap between the North and the South this film brings a new perspective to the War on Drugs as it is waged in the Andes.

 

 

 

CONNECT ON FACEBOOK

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via Cocaine Prison’s Facebook page

CONNECT ON TWITTER

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via Cocaine Prison on Twitter

 

 

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THE BOLIVIAN CASE   

In post-production

The stranger-than-fiction story of three Norwegian girls caught with 22kg of cocaine in a Bolivian airport.

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Flying out of Bolivia, three Norwegian teenagers are arrested with 22kg of cocaine in their luggage, triggering a media storm that changed their lives forever. From the start, Stina Brendemo and Christina Øygarden, are portrayed by the media as naïve Europeans, while Madelaine Rodriguez, also Norwegian, but with an Uruguayan father, is branded the “Latin Trafficker.”

A year later, Christina, the only girl who could afford to pay bail, was issued an emergency passport under a different name by the Norwegian Government; a document she used to illegally escape prosecution in Bolivia. Upon her return to Norway, she goes to trial with four other teens implicated in the smuggling attempt.

Meanwhile, Stina and Madelaine are sentenced to eleven years in a Bolivian prison.

Three years later, Stina becomes pregnant while in prison and the Norwegian media is rabid for coverage. ALFA, a popular men’s magazine, pays Stina for the exclusive rights to her story, and finances a Hollywood-style escape for her that includes sending mercenaries to Bolivia.

While in prison, Madelaine gives birth but canʼt afford the hospital costs, so she sells her story to a tabloid magazine. Handcuffed by her feet to a hospital bed, she says, “It doesn’t matter than my name is Rodriguez, I deserve my freedom as much as they do.”

Today, Stina has become a celebrity in Norway, and Christina is acquitted in a Norwegian court, meanwhile Madelaine remains behind bars in Bolivia, serving an 11-year sentence.

The only hard fact is that each girl was caught carrying 7kg of cocaine in her bag. How did their lives turn out so different when they were caught committing the same crime?

Starting in a jail in one of the world’s poorest countries, Bolivia, the film’s journey will build towards the climax: a trial in one of the world’s richest countries, Norway, where for the first time the three girls will testify in the same trial. How will their portrayal in the media affect the outcome? How will perceptions and biases of family background, race, and class play a part in the minds of the jury?

The young Latino people in the film are the children of migrants. However, while their native tongue is Norwegian and they are born and raised in Norway, they still face intense discrimination. It does not seem to be a coincidence that solely the teenagers with a South American background are the ones with the harshest sentences.

Unraveling this stranger-than-fiction story behind the group of young people in the most publicized narcotics case in Norway’s history, THE BOLIVIAN CASE deals with one of biggest issues of our time: the power of media affecting justice.

 

CONNECT ON FACEBOOK

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via The Bolivian Case’s Facebook page

CONNECT ON TWITTER

Keep up-to-date with everything going on via The Bolivian Case on Twitter

 

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BIOHACKERS  

In development

An androgynous figure with dark spiky hair and tattooed pale skin sits alone at a kitchen table. She withdraws a large 7-gauge needle from her body and carefully picks up a silicon coated Neodymium magnet and pushes it into the open wound. Lepht Anonym is a “biohacker” who’s working to extend her senses and literally take evolution into her own hands. Through her self-inflicted transhumanist experiments, Lepht is revolutionizing the current understanding of philosophy, ethics, and science, propelling her into direct conflict with the billion-dollar biotech industry, the law, religion, the medical establishment and other biohackers who see her as a freak. Undeterred, Lepht is determined to invent new human sensory experiences, not just for herself, but for the future of all human beings. BIOHACKERS follows Lepht Anonym through her journey of human-computer symbiosis.

Developed with Sam Harrison.

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Cholets: Andean Palaces

In development

CHOLETS: ANDEAN PALACES is the story of an architectural revolution in Bolivia: a movement led by the indigenous Aymara people.

Set in El Alto, a rapidly growing and disorderly metropolis atop a desolate, high plateau of Bolivia, CHOLETS: ANDEAN PALACES follows well-known architect Freddy Mamani, and two nouveau riche Aymaran families building their dream “Cholets”: sumptuously decorated million-dollar Andean palaces with grand ballrooms filled with columns, offices, shops, apartments and even indoor football fields, concluding on the top floor with the family home— the finishing touch on these Andean Rainbows. They rise, colorful and animated: the robust build up of an emerging city of creativity. This is the New Andean Architecture. Mamani’s personal journey depicts the story of his city. At 14, he started working as a bricklayer’s apprentice. Today, he’s become one of Bolivia’s most sought after architects. Creating a new style with his contemporary Cholets, he’s started a cultural revolution in El Alto.

 

Consultant Services

Struggling to write a proposal? Want to know where to go to fund your doc?
UNF offers professional consulting for filmmakers to get their projects up and over the line.

Consultation with Violeta

Violeta is an expert in writing proposals and winning funding from all over the world; including Sundance, Tribeca and MacArthur Foundation. There isn’t a formula to writing a film.  After reviewing your proposal or treatment, V will spend an hour on the phone, meet personally or on Skype to help you to strategize your doc. From writing the liner, paragraph, page synopsis and story structure to where to apply for funding. Buying this $500 consult will get you well and truly on the right track. Click here to contact Violeta.

Consultation with Dan

About to sign a contract with a producer? Don’t know if you’re making the best decision? Dan can help you keep control of your rights and your control of the project. He can help with distribution plans based on what’s best for you and your film. Are you planning to attend a doc festival/market and want to know the best way to get your project in front of the right people? Dan can give you a heads up on how to get your film funded. Buy a $500 consult now and we will get you up to speed. Click here to contact Dan. 

Consultation with Violeta & Dan

Do you need help with your trailer or putting together a reel to apply for funds? Have you been selected for a pitching forum and don’t know what to expect? We can set up a complete film critique and consultation with both brains behind UNF Films. Remember our first film premiered at TIFF and was broadcast on PBS! We’ve pitched at every major forum in the world. V and Dan love sharing their expertise with others. Buy this item for $750 and we’ll get you heading in the right direction. Click here to contact Violeta & Dan.


Choose your consultant



Photos

Madeleine in hospital

Madeleine was handcuffed to the bed because the other two girls had escaped Bolivia.

Madeleine was handcuffed to the bed because the other two girls had escaped Bolivia.

STINA GETS OUT

Stina shows us her release papers minutes after regaining her freedom after years in jail.

Stina shows us her release papers minutes after regaining her freedom after years in jail.

FETIM, LEIL and MOCIA

Fetim with her girls walk across the top of a sand dune close to the Tindouf refugee camps.

Fetim with her girls walk across the top of a sand dune close to the Tindouf refugee camps.

THE RIOT

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Riot police watch on as the prisoners take to the roof during a riot at San Sebastian Prison.

COCHABAMBA

Cochabamba as seen from the local court house the day Mario waits for his verdict.

Cochabamba as seen from the local court house the day Mario waits for his verdict.

THE PROTEST

The Cocaleros take to the streets to demonstrate in support of the President Evo Morales.

The Cocaleros take to the streets to demonstrate in support of the President Evo Morales.

Inside the riot

During the riot inside San Sebastian Prison.

During the riot inside San Sebastian Prison.

THE RIOT POLICE

The prisoners take to the roof during a riot at San Sebastian Prison.

The prisoners take to the roof during a riot at San Sebastian Prison.

Dancing cholitas

In San Sebastian during Carnaval the prisoners invite local Bolivian pop groups to perform in the prison.

In San Sebastian during Carnaval the prisoners invite local Bolivian pop groups to perform in the prison.

Hernan’s birthday

Hernan's entire family came to celebrate Hernan's last birthday in jail.

Hernan’s entire family came to celebrate Hernan’s last birthday in jail.

Daisy listens to hernan

Daisy visits Hernan at San Sebastian.

Daisy visits Hernan at San Sebastian.

Hernan and Mario

Our two main characters from Cocaine prison pose for a shot in the 'patio' of San Sebastian prison. 2011.

Our two main characters from Cocaine prison pose for a shot in the ‘patio’ of San Sebastian prison. 2011.

DAISY DRYING THE COCA

Daisy prepares the coca to be dried in the sun, spread out on large tarpaulins secured with planks of wood.

Daisy prepares the coca to be dried in the sun, spread out on large tarpaulins secured with planks of wood.

THE COCA LEAF

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The coca plant growing in the sun

The jungle in El Chapare

The path to Daisy and Hernan's coca plantaion in El Chapare region of Bolivia.

The path to Daisy and Hernan’s coca plantaion in El Chapare region of Bolivia.

Hernan in his cell

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Hernan family bought him a cell for $5000 in San Sebastian Prison.

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