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Panels & Workshops

Our year-round series of topical seminars led by experts in the documentary field.


Wed. April 12, 2023 @ 10:00 - 11:30am PT
A 90-minute workshop with Maya E. Rudolph, Vice President of Non-Fiction at Louverture Films.

Tue. March 14, 2023 @ 10:00 - 11:30am PT
Please note that this event is postponed and the new date will be announced here. All existing registrants will be able to join us at the new set date. Please also check your emails for further notices.

Tue. March 7, 2023 @ 9:00am - Fri. March 10, 2023 @ 10:30am PT
A four-part virtual summit that collaboratively explores the disparate yet interconnected fields of visual journalism and documentary film — and best practices that lie at the intersection of both.

Thu. March 2, 2023 @ 9:00 - 10:30am PT
When presented with a seemingly infinite number of possibilities, documentary filmmakers sometimes find themselves frozen in indecision about the direction of their project. In those moments of indecision, the emotional core of the film can get lost. In this 2-hour event, dual Emmy award-winning filmmaker Geoffrey Smith will help attendees to unearth “the beating heart of their film story, and to draw the most clarity, emotion, and drama from it.”

Thu. February 9, 2023 @ 9:30 - 11:00am PT
How do you make a film about the experience of incarceration? Given the complexities of consent and power, what are the ethics this work requires? What is an ethic of narrative reparation? With an introduction from filmmaker Anyé Young, filmmaker Adamu Chan thinks through these questions with award-winning filmmakers Brett Story, Jasmín Mara Lopez, and co-host and co-producer of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast “Ear Hustle” Rahsaan Thomas.

Thu. January 26, 2023 @ 10:00am - 12:00pm PT
A very small number of film festivals seem to hold an enormous amount of sway over a film’s sales and distribution prospects, as well as the filmmakers’ chances at creating a sustainable living through filmmaking. This perception drives many filmmakers to pin their hopes on just a handful of market-driven festivals that are most important in their region, whether it’s North America (where Sundance looms large), Europe (Cannes, which accepts very few documentaries), Asia (A-list festivals like Busan or Singapore) or elsewhere. In reality, there is a vast ecosystem of film festivals that can all contribute to the healthy life of a documentary film project, and distribution that doesn’t rely on the catalyst of perceived film festival success.

Thu. December 15, 2022 @ 9:30am PT
How much does it really cost to make a documentary? What does sustainability look like? What changes do we need to make for the well-being of the field?

Wed. December 7, 2022 @ 2:00 - 3:30pm PT
In this workshop, IDA’s Director of Artist Programs Abby Sun will walk filmmakers through the process of developing a film festival strategy that takes the particular expectations, needs, and prospects of your individual film into account. Guest speaker Chase Whiteside (América, co-directed with Erick Stoll) will provide a case study drawing on his own experiences navigating the film festival circuit with and without a sales agent.

Wed. December 7, 2022 @ 2:00 - 3:30pm PT
In this workshop, IDA’s Director of Artist Programs Abby Sun will walk filmmakers through the process of developing a film festival strategy that takes the particular expectations, needs, and prospects of your individual film into account. Guest speaker Chase Whiteside (América, co-directed with Erick Stoll) will provide a case study drawing on his own experiences navigating the film festival circuit with and without a sales agent.

Mon. November 7, 2022 @ 9:30am PT
Karin Chien from Distribution Advocates will walk us through a scan of the distribution landscape and talk with independent filmmakers Stephen Maing (Untitled Amazon Union Documentary, Crime + Punishment) and Emma D. Miller (What We Leave Behind, Untitled Mistress Dispeller Project) to shed some light the seemingly shadowy and intimidating world of distribution.