The State of the Documentary Field: 2018 Survey of Documentary Professionals

The State of the Documentary Field initiative is a collaboration between IDA and the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) with the goal to understand trends and experiences of contemporary documentary professionals primarily based in the United States. The pilot report was released at Getting Real '16. The 2018 report reveals the first formal foray into this work. The study will be repeated every other year by CMSI, with feedback from the IDA.

Mapping the Documentary-Journalism Landscape

IDA and National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri, created a resource guide for documentary filmmakers working on journalistic projects. This guide is designed to help filmmakers find information and make decisions that journalists make every day. Whether it be questions of what rights the First Amendment guarantees, what rights to privacy people can expect or what ethical decisions must be made when telling the stories of someone else’s life, this guide lays out a way to find that information.

Best Practices in Documentary Crediting

Following more than 12 months of research and collaboration with industry stakeholders, the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA) published a set of formal industry recommendations for use by financiers, grantors, and filmmakers alike. The goal of the guide is to standardize the crediting landscape for documentary films big, small, and micro, towards clarity and parity. The DPA’s intention is that these crediting standards will clarify the criteria for various producer roles—serving film investors, donors, supporters, and filmmakers alike in credit discussions and negotiations. Importantly, the recommendations in this guide are crafted as a starting point, with the specificities of a project dictating where, when, and how exceptions are applied.

Best Practices in Fair Use

Documentary filmmakers have created, through their professional associations, a clear, easy to understand statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use. Fair Use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. It is a crucial feature of copyright law. In fact, it is what keeps copyright from being censorship. You can invoke fair use when the value to the public of what you are saying outweighs the cost to the private owner of the copyright.

Safe + Secure

Safe + Secure has been launched as a result of increased awareness about the risks to which documentary filmmakers expose themselves - and their crews, subjects and sources - in order to bring important stories to the world.