The Future of Funding & Marketing Documentary Films

So… tonight I went to go see Slumdog Millionaire with a friend of mine who’s a documentary film student and a bunch of her friends, some of whom are also film students. (I’ll write more about the movie in another post.) Afterwards, we all went to a restaurant and chatted.

We got into a discussion of their thesis film projects and how they weren’t sure how they were going to raise the money they needed to fund the projects.

This got me thinking. The notion that a documentary filmmaker would go to some rich dude and beg him to write a big check seems so antiquated.

We need a Kiva-like organization for indy/documentary filmmakers.

Where are the filmmakers who are coalescing a community of people around their ideas? Seems like those are the people that could have their community members each pitch in $5… $20… even $100. I wonder how many individual donations you’d need to match that of one big donor.

If at the fundraising part of the process, you’re already starting to build up a grassroots organization around the film, when it comes time to screen the film are you more likely to sell dvds or tickets to the screening and thus move yourself closer to profitability.

Lots of documentary films seem to be advocating a certain message or stance on an issue. They’d lend themselves naturally to a community coming together.


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2 thoughts on “The Future of Funding & Marketing Documentary Films”

  1. I thought there actually was a site for films but I couldn’t seem to find it in my bookmarks.

    A focused site might be able to do some recommendation based lending (“You loaned movie for film ‘Zombie X’ and we thought you might like to help fund ‘Zombie Z’.

    But even without that type of connection making, there’s a few microlending sites which don’t really restrict on topics.

    http://www.virginmoneyus.com/
    http://www.chipin.com/
    http://fundable.com/

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