2018 Film Financing Day: Documentary Features

Learn how successful documentary filmmakers can get their documentary feature films financed in this intensive all-day seminar. Hear from industry professionals who have successfully funded documentary features, as well as filmmakers who have successfully and creatively financed their projects.

During intensive panel sessions, panelists will provide insider perspectives and frank advice on what it takes to get documentaries made, as well as how ever-changing technologies, trends and distribution platforms are impacting the fundraising process. Gain fresh insights from some of the finest minds in the industry and position your projects for optimum success.


9:00 am


Cynthia Lopez
Media Strategist, Executive Producer, Content Advisor and Creative Consultant
Former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

Click here for more information about Cynthia Lopez



There is no substitute for researching a funders’ mission and purpose. In this panel we hear the funders’ POV and gain insight into what they look for in a proposal, grant application and trailer. More importantly, they share their current priorities. Learn common mistakes to avoid before you submit your application and take away strategies that will ensure your project stands out during the panel review.

Brittni Collins, Artist Services Manager, Creative Capital
Leslie Fields-Cruz
, Executive Director, Black Public Media 
Jenny Raskin, Vice President for Development and Filmmaker Relations, Impact Partners
Kat Vecchio, Director of Grantmaking, Fork Films
Cynthia Kane (Moderator) Producer

Click here for more details on panelists for Meet the Funders



Directed and Produced by Julie Cohen and Betsy West 

Julie Cohen
, Director/Producer, RBG
Marcia Rock 
(Interviewer) Director of News and Documentary, NYU Carter Journalism Institute; Chair, NYWIFT’s Documentary Programming Committee

This conversation features filmmakers who have successfully raised money for their films. In this case, what was the business strategy behind RBG and who were the film’s early champions? In this candid discussion, Producer Julie Cohen recounts her experience with film partner Betsy West in raising financing for the film and other creative strategies.

Click here for more details on speakers for Case Study #1: Successful Fundraising Strategies – RBG


(Attendees have an hour lunch break to grab lunch in the NYU neighborhood.)



As documentary films are becoming more mainstream, profits and sales potential are growing. Increasingly documentary filmmakers are attaching a sales agent to their projects. But many filmmakers still don’t understand this business side of documentary filmmaking. What does a sales agent do? How do you get one? When is the best time? All these questions and more will be explored in this panel.

Ben Braun
, Director of Sales and Distribution, Submarine Entertainment/Submarine Deluxe
Alexis Galfas, Cinetic 
David Kennedy, Saboteur Media
Alexis Alexanian (Moderator) Producer

Click here for more details on panelists for Demystifying Sales Agents



This is a chance to hear what guest speakers Justine Nagan, Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc., and an Executive Producer on its two signature series, POV (PBS) and America Reframed; and Jon Adler, Senior Director of Development for CNN Original Series are looking for in documentaries, how do they work with producers and how much money is available for productions. If you have ever hoped for a national broadcast, don’t miss this opportunity to hear directly from important decision makers working in public television and cable today.

Jon Adler, Senior Director of Development, CNN Original Series 
Justine Nagan, Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc.; Executive Producer POV(PBS) and America Reframed (World Channel in partnership with WGBH)
Marcia Rock (Interviewer) Director of News and Documentary, NYU Carter Journalism Institute; Chair, NYWIFT’s Documentary Programming Committee

Click here for more details on panelists for Television Opportunities for Documentary Filmmakers


The Rape of Recy Taylor
Susan J. Margolin (Producer)
Nancy Buirski (Writer/Director/Producer) 

Susan J. Margolin, Producer, The Rape of Recy Taylor
Duana C. Butler (Interviewer), Program Director, New York Women in Film & Television

This case study features Producer Susan J. Margolin who will discuss the business strategy behind The Rape of Recy Taylor. In this candid discussion, she will recount her experience in raising financing and her creative strategies for launching and completing the film.

Click here for more details on speakers for Case Study #2: Successful Fundraising Strategies – The Rape of Recy Taylor.


4:30 – 5:30pm 

Special Thanks to
Host Barbara Schock, Chair, Graduate Film Program
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University


June 21 @ 9:00am
9:00 am — 5:30 pm (8h 30′)

Tisch School of the Arts
New York University
721 Broadway, Screening Room 006

Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.