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Doc U Recap: Focus on Funding

By IDA Editorial Staff

How can a filmmaker insure that their proposal gets to the top? What can you do to really stand out? Do you understand the distinction between distribution, outreach, and community engagement?

Attendees of Saturday, October 15’s Doc U: Focus on Funding – Getting Grants for Your Documentary were lucky enough to get the answers to these questions and more straight from the mouths of five documentary film funders from five leading organizations.

IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin gives his opening remarks and introduces moderator Morrie Warshawski.

The day began with the Meet the Funders panel, which was moderated by nonprofit and fundraising consultant Morrie Warshawski and included Tamir Muhammad of the Tribeca Film Institute, Rahdi Taylor of the Sundance Institute, John Lightfoot of California Council for the Humanities, Emily Verellen of The Fledgling Fund, and Lisa Kleiner Chanoff of Catapult Film Fund.

Established and emerging documentary filmmakers take down priceless advice from the funders.

Emphasizing that the morning would be full of dialogue, Morrie started off by asking everyone what makes each of them passionate about their work. The powerful and inspiring responses set the tone for the rest of the morning, which was filled with sound advice and practical notes on how to make sure your documentary project has the greatest chance of achieving success.

Our esteemed funders in front of an eager crowd at the Downtown Standard Hotel.

We have since received an overwhelming amount of support and praise for this Doc U:



"The fundraising speakers were all awesome, insightful and illuminating. I gained a lot from hearing how the different organizations approach the selection process."
-Anonymous seminar attendee



"The seminar with Morrie was one of the most interesting and enriching educational moments if my career. It totally revitalized and focused my current projects and kickstarted me into a new way of thinking about my work and the scope of it. He was engaging and funny and enlighting in many ways."
- Alessandra Pasquino

Upset to have missed out on such a unique opportunity? Register for a free IDA account and start receiving email updates and newsletters about upcoming events today!

After the panel, several lucky attendees got the chance to have lunch with one of the five funders. Here are several aspiring documentarians chatting with Tamir Muhammad.

Another table full of lunching documentarians.

After lunchtime, Morrie took over with his talk on The Art of Getting Grants.

All photos ©2011 Humberto Mendes, IDA

Doc U is the International Documentary Association's series of educational seminars and workshops for aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers. Taught by artists and industry experts, participants receive vital training and insight on various topics including: fundraising, distribution, licensing, marketing, and business tactics.

Special support provided by:

Los Angeles County Arts Commission HFPA AXIS PRO IMAX
HBO Archives Indie Printing


Members and Supporters of IDA