g The Film Panel Notetaker: Independent Film Week - Funding Blueprints for Docs - Sept. 18, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Independent Film Week - Funding Blueprints for Docs - Sept. 18, 2008

Funding Blueprints for Docs
Independent Film Week
Thursday, September 18, 2008
10:00am - 11:00am
FIT – Haft Auditorium – New York, NY

I'm currently unable to post the names and companies of the panelists because they ran out of little books and the website version of panel descriptions is difficult.

My first impression of this panel was that it was 100% women. According to research on the Celluloid Ceiling, only small percentage (6% in 2007) of women are helming narrative films and three (1 American, Sofia Coppola) have ever been nominated for Oscars in directing. Women make up a little more than half the human population.

However, in my experience there are tons of women producing behind the scenes or making documentaries. In fact, part of my plan is to eventually parley my docs into a place where I’m also directing my scripts. That direction seems to be most productive path for me to follow my passion for commenting on culture and build my directorial portfolio. I’m not saying that’s for everyone, but I was burning to make NO Cross, NO Crown and from that, my obsession with American counter-cultures was defined.

In the panel discussion, I gleaned these lessons:

  • Funding is always a patchwork of sources; never expect a windfall or perfect timing.
  • It’s easier said than done, but try to line up international distribution. With the dollar being so low, you may actually have a shot at good money.
  • The US doesn’t have many options for re-sale. Consider co-producing internationally with funds who only grant funds to non-US filmmakers.
  • Read a lot and watch trends. Play on the cultural zeitgeist your film belongs in.
  • Do development. Spend the time, spend the money. Do research. Know your stuff.
  • Passion for the subject is infectious. Have it and don’t hesitate to show it.
  • There are different funds for development, production and finishing. Some offer different services: equipment, facilities, mentors programs, etc.
  • For As for fund raising: Ask, Ask for a specific amount and Ask Again.
  • Follow up on leads constantly. Be persistent. Demonstrate endless perseverance. There’s no other way.
  • Watch credits of films on your subject and scour them for resources.
  • Sales agents have increasingly come to aid filmmakers without producing the films.




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