Funding Your Doc

You’ve locked in your subject and finished the research, what’s next? Production! But, how will you fund it? No worries, we’ll help you!

In Funding Your Doc, Lara Stolman (Director/Producer of Swim Team), leads a discussion that will provide ideas to create fundraising strategies for filmmakers without significant industry or institutional support/relationships, working on a small budget – even on a controversial topic. We will discuss filmmakers needs including festival circuit and distribution. Guest speakers include Heather White (Director/Producer of Complict and Modern Slavery and Your Devices), Carolyn Hepburn (Motto Pictures), and Mark Rossier (Director of Grants, New York Foundation for the Arts).

Mark Rossier is Director of Grants at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), where he oversees the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre and the Fiscal Sponsorship program, among other areas. Prior to joining NYFA as the Director of Development and Marketing in 2008, he served in the same capacity as the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York). He was also Director of Marketing at the Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey and Capitol Repertory Theater in Albany, New York. He has been a frequent grant panelist for NYSCA and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, among others, as well as a member of the nominating and voting committee for the Lucille Lortel Awards, which honor excellence Off-Broadway.

Heather White is an award-winning non-profit founder and documentary filmmaker with 25 years experience in international advocacy on labor and human rights issues. She has received major grants from Ford and MacArthur Foundations for her projects. Her documentary filmComplicit released in 2017 (co-Directed with Lynn Zhang) won eight international festival awards and has played in 35 film festivals. Her recent short film is Modern Slavery and Your Devices (2019), funded by the European Union among others. From 2011-2014 she was a network fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond B. Safra Center for Ethics and is the Founder / former Pres. of Verité ( –  a global non-profit organization with offices in four countries, recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative and recipient of numerous awards including Skoll and Schwab Foundations. 

Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy winning producer who joined Motto Pictures in 2010. Carolyn is a producer of A Thousand Cuts and an executive producer of The Mole Agent, both films will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In 2019, Carolyn produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner One Child Nation (acquired by Amazon Studios) and HBO Documentary’s Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival. She also executive produced Ringside which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and the Showtime docu-series Murder in the Bayou. In 2018, she produced Netfilix’s Take Your Pills which premiered at SXSW Film Festival and Discovery Channel’s Take Back the Harbor. Carolyn co-produced Life, Animated, which won three News & Documentary Emmys, the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at Sundance, and was nominated for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. She executive produced Weiner, winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize and produced 3½  Minutes, Ten Bullets, winner of the 2015 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Social Impact and nominated for an Emmy Award. Other recent projects include the Emmy-nominated Art and Craft; Emmy-nominated Humans of New York: The SeriesShadowman;and Indian Point. Carolyn is a member of AMPAS, PGA, BAFTA and NATAS.

Lara Stolman (pictured at top right) is an award-winning director, producer and writer of film and television. Her work has appeared in theaters, on Netflix, PBS, NBC, MSNBC, AMC, VH-1 and The New York Times website. After over 10 years of producing news and documentaries for NBC News and other broadcasters, Lara produced and directed Swim Team, an independent feature documentary film chronicling the rise of a competitive swim team made up of diverse teenagers on the autism spectrum. Swim Team was funded in part through grants from NYWIFT (the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness grant,) the Aetna Foundation, Easterseals and the Karma Foundation. Swim Team screened at over 50 film festivals and won 14 awards. It premiered theatrically at New York’s IFC Center, made its broadcast debut on PBS’ POV and launched on Netflix in April 2018. Swim Team has screened in over 200 communities,; continues to be booked by non-profits, schools, festivals and corporations; and is currently being distributed internationally for broadcast and on digital channels. Lara has written for HuffPost, Entrepreneur and others and she appears as a panelist, keynote speaker and guest teacher on diversity and inclusion, independent filmmaking and film distribution. Her speaking and teaching engagements have included: NYU, Columbia University, Comcast and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is part of the US State Department’s film diplomacy program, American Film Showcase and has traveled as a Film Envoy to Kazakhstan and Albania.

Produced by Anna Pasztor

February 3 @ 6:00pm
6:00 pm — 8:00 pm (2h)

NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
20 Cooper Square, 7th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10003


$15 for NYWIFT Members
$25 for Nonmembers
Register by prepayment online


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#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.