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UNITEDNOTIONS film


United Notions Film produces thought provoking films and media.

United Notions Film was established by award-winning filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw with the motto of challenging the status quo. They first began working together after travelling to Mauritania in 2005 where they made ‘BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA’, an investigative documentary about international corruption in the oil industry. In 2006, they went to the Sahara desert and shot ‘STOLEN’, a feature film that uncovered racial-based slavery in a UN-monitored refugee camp. The film sparked worldwide controversy when it premiered at the Sydney Film Festival 2009. ‘Stolen’ screened in 80 film festivals including Toronto and IDFA, won sixteen awards and aired on PBS. Questioning the media’s racism in Norway, in 2015 they made ‘THE BOLIVIAN CASE’ that premiered as a Special Presentation at Hot Docs, it was nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix (two of the most prestigious awards in the Spanish speaking world) and distributed by Ibermedia across Latin America to an audience of 625 million. In 2017, they trekked over the Bolivian Andes shooting a protest of people with disabilities and made THE FIGHT’  distributed by The Guardian Shorts, winner of the Doc Dispatch Award at Sheffield Doc Fest and Best Short at the International Human Rights Festival in Sucre, Bolivia. Their latest feature ‘COCAINE PRISON’ shot in a Bolivian jail for four years will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. United Notions Film is supported by PBS, Latino Public Broadcasting, Open Society Foundations, Sundance, MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca, Chicken & Egg, Bertha Doc Society, Puma Britdoc, IDFA Bertha, Fond Sud Cinema, CNC, Strasbourg Film Fund, Screen NSW, Screen Australia, The Norwegian Film Institute, Señal Colombia, 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

Director/ Writer and Producer: Violeta Ayala is an award-winning indigenous filmmaker, artist, writer and fighter born in Bolivia. Her credits include Cocaine Prison premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. The Fight (2017) distributed by The Guardian Shorts won the Doc Dispatch Award at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and Best Short at the International Human Rights Festival in Sucre, Bolivia. The Bolivian Case (2015), premiered as a Special Presentation at Hot Docs, was nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix (the two most prestigious awards in Ibero-America). Stolen (2009) which also screened at Toronto International Film Festival, screened in 80 festivals worldwide has won 16 awards and aired on PBS. Violeta is currently working on the feature version of The Fight and WAR, a documentary about black rights in Australia. She is also writing the screenplay El Comunista about her grandfather – a Serbian Jew, leader of the Bolivian Communist party and friend to Che Guevara. Violeta writes a popular blog at the Huffington Post, loves marshmallows on fire, French champagne, Sydney Rock Oysters and peanut soup made my her grandmother.

Dan Fallshaw

Dan Fallshaw

Producer/ DOP and Editor: Dan Fallshaw is an award winning filmmaker born in Australia, who makes films to shift the balance of power. In 2006, he went to Mauritania and made BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. In 2009, he co-directed, produced, shot, edited, and sold to PBS the controversial and multi-award winning documentary STOLEN. In 2017, Dan co-directed, produced, shot and edited THE FIGHT (Sundance & MacArthur) distributed by The Guardian Shorts, winner of the Doc Dispatch Award at Sheffield Doc Fest and Best Short at the International Human Rights Festival in Sucre, Bolivia. His producing credits include, The Bolivian Case 2015, (Screen Australia, NRK, Señal Colombia and Puma Britdoc) premiered at Hot Docs as a special presentation, has gone on to screen at 40 international festivals, broadcasted in Colombia and Israel, nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix. Cocaine Prison (2017) premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. Currently Fallshaw is developing a VR experience called PRISON X, funded by Tribeca and Screen NSW, THE FIGHT feature and WAR. Dan has an honors degree in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney and Saint Martin’s College in London.

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw

Producer: Redelia Shaw is an American Producer with over fifteen years of professional experience in commercial, independent television and film projects. She has worked in numerous capacities on projects network and cable including Fox, ShowTime, ABC and PBS. In 2013 her film, JOURNEY TO AFRICA; an interactive online documentary was awarded an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship to the Wexner Center and selected to the Film Independent Documentary Lab, where she met filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw. Later that year Redelia joined United Notions Film. Her credits as producer include THE BOLIVIAN CASE (2015), COCAINE PRISON (2017), THE FIGHT (In production), WAR (In development) and LIFE CRIME (In production). Redelia is head of the Media Production program at Santa Monica College, where she stimulates creativity, success and inspiration in students to fearlessly tell stories that matter. She holds a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters Degree in Cinema from Georgia State University. She is an alumnus of the Film Independent, the West Coast Regional Director of The National Council of Women in Entertainment and a member of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers (BADWest), Urban Mediamakers and Women in Film LA.

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

Director/ Writer and Producer: Violeta Ayala is an award-winning indigenous filmmaker, artist, writer and fighter born in Bolivia. Her credits include Cocaine Prison premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. The Fight (2017) distributed by The Guardian Shorts won the Doc Dispatch Award at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and Best Short at the International Human Rights Festival in Sucre, Bolivia. The Bolivian Case (2015), premiered as a Special Presentation at Hot Docs, was nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix (the two most prestigious awards in Ibero-America). Stolen (2009) which also screened at Toronto International Film Festival, screened in 80 festivals worldwide has won 16 awards and aired on PBS. Violeta is currently working on the feature version of The Fight and WAR, a documentary about black rights in Australia. She is also writing the screenplay El Comunista about her grandfather – a Serbian Jew, leader of the Bolivian Communist party and friend to Che Guevara. Violeta writes a popular blog at the Huffington Post, loves marshmallows on fire, French champagne, Sydney Rock Oysters and peanut soup made my her grandmother.

Dan Fallshaw

Dan Fallshaw

Producer/ DOP and Editor: Dan Fallshaw is an award winning filmmaker born in Australia, who makes films to shift the balance of power. In 2006, he went to Mauritania and made BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. In 2009, he co-directed, produced, shot, edited, and sold to PBS the controversial and multi-award winning documentary STOLEN. In 2017, Dan co-directed, produced, shot and edited THE FIGHT (Sundance & MacArthur) distributed by The Guardian Shorts, winner of the Doc Dispatch Award at Sheffield Doc Fest and Best Short at the International Human Rights Festival in Sucre, Bolivia. His producing credits include, The Bolivian Case 2015, (Screen Australia, NRK, Señal Colombia and Puma Britdoc) premiered at Hot Docs as a special presentation, has gone on to screen at 40 international festivals, broadcasted in Colombia and Israel, nominated for Premios Platino and Fenix. Cocaine Prison (2017) premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. Currently Fallshaw is developing a VR experience called PRISON X, funded by Tribeca and Screen NSW, THE FIGHT feature and WAR. Dan has an honors degree in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney and Saint Martin’s College in London.

Redelia Shaw

Redelia Shaw

Producer: Redelia Shaw is an American Producer with over fifteen years of professional experience in commercial, independent television and film projects. She has worked in numerous capacities on projects network and cable including Fox, ShowTime, ABC and PBS. In 2013 her film, JOURNEY TO AFRICA; an interactive online documentary was awarded an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship to the Wexner Center and selected to the Film Independent Documentary Lab, where she met filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw. Later that year Redelia joined United Notions Film. Her credits as producer include THE BOLIVIAN CASE (2015), COCAINE PRISON (2017), THE FIGHT (In production), WAR (In development) and LIFE CRIME (In production). Redelia is head of the Media Production program at Santa Monica College, where she stimulates creativity, success and inspiration in students to fearlessly tell stories that matter. She holds a BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters Degree in Cinema from Georgia State University. She is an alumnus of the Film Independent, the West Coast Regional Director of The National Council of Women in Entertainment and a member of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers (BADWest), Urban Mediamakers and Women in Film LA.

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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THE BOLIVIAN CASE   

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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THE FIGHT

Protestors with disabilities are taking on the government and enduring police violence to be heard.

People with disabilities are among the most discriminated against in Bolivia. Fed up of being ignored, a group of them journeyed across the Andes in wheelchairs and on foot to La Paz in an effort to speak with the president, Evo Morales. They were met with riot police and beatings.

Led by Rose Mery, an veteran of the struggle, along with newer protestors like Marcelo and Micky, the group camp in the streets a block from the main plaza in La Paz. The police erected 3m high barricades, they station tanks and 400 police to stop the protestors in wheelchairs from entering the plaza. Violent confrontations flared up between police and the demonstrators, including the use of pepper spray and a water cannon. The government refused to discuss their request for a pension of $70 a month and the protestors suspended themselves from the city’s bridges in their wheelchairs. As public pressure grows, could Rose Mery and her fellow fighters win?

 

Cocaine Prison


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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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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