Film Financing Day: Documentary Features

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

During four 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, distribution platforms and crowd funding opportunities 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 Registration

10:00 – 11:15a Opportunities in Public Television for Documentary Filmmakers 

This is a chance to hear what broadcasters and cable outlets are funding, how much money is available and how to get time on their channels. If you have ever hoped for a national broadcast, don’t miss this opportunity to hear directly from some of the most important decision makers working in public television and cable today.

Julie Anderson, Executive Producer of Documentaries and Development, WNET/Thirteen
Nikki Heyman, Coordinating Producer, POV
Carmen L. Vicencio
, Series Producer, America ReFramed   
Cynthia Lopez 
(Moderator) Former Commissioner, NYC Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment

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

11:30 – 12:45p Meet the Funders (Foundations and Film Funds) 

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
Anna Ponder
, Executive Director, Tribeca Film Institute 
Kat Vecchio
, Manager, Grants and Investments, Fork Films 
Leslie Fields-Cruz 
(Moderator) Executive Director, National Black Programming Consortium

Click here for more details on panelists for Meet the Funders (Foundations and Film Funds) 

12:45 – 1:45p Lunch

1:45 – 3:15p Online Originals and Crowdfunding Trends

Many broadcasters, cable outlets and online platforms have expanded their commitments to original content. And that includes documentaries. The panel of executives will review their editorial acquisition strategies, reveal upcoming commission opportunities and discuss their revenue share policy (if appropriate). Meanwhile, crowdfunding campaigns offer the potential to raise money for projects online and also help build an audience. The panel will discuss new crowdfunding trends and review effective campaign strategies that work.

Greg Cohan, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, Seed&Spark
Lindsay Crouse, Coordinating Producer, New York Times Op-Docs
Laura Turner Garrison, Development for Original Programming, Vimeo
Veena Rao (Moderator), Director/Producer

Click here for more details on panelists for Online Originals and Crowdfunding Trends

3:30 – 5:00p Case Studies: Successful Fundraising Strategies 

This panel features filmmakers who have successfully raised money from a variety of funding sources. What was their business strategy and who were their early champions? In this candid discussion, filmmakers recount their experiences raising financing, to include foundation and government grants, international co-productions, tax credits, private equity income, crowdfunding and other creative strategies. The producers review how to package projects for optimal benefit.

Mary Dore, Filmmaker, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry 
Tracie Holder
, Filmmaker, Joe Papp in Five Acts, Mudflow
Michèle Stephenson
, Filmmaker, American Promise
Marcia Rock 
(Moderator), Producer/Director of News and Documentary, NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute 

Click here for more details on panelists for Documentary Fundraising Case Studies

5:00 – 6:00p Reception

(Please note: Additional panelists to be announced! Programs subject to change.)


Producers Emily Harrold, Maura Kelly, Veena Rao, Octavia Taylor

Special Thanks to 

June 4 @ 9:30am
9:30 am — 6:30 pm (9h)

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

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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.