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Getting Real is a biennial conference designed for and by documentary practitioners and focused on the business and art of nonfiction storytelling. The sixth edition of Getting Real will celebrate a decade of what is now the largest peer-to-peer gathering of its kind in North America. 

This four-day event provides a space for the field to hold constructive conversations, build lasting relationships, and tackle the ethical, creative, sustainability, production, and distribution challenges facing our growing community. The core of the conference programming connects participants who hail from diverse independent filmmaking sectors, geographic regions, and professional status, platforming the most exciting new and established voices dialoguing with each other.

Historically, the conference has drawn the most powerful players from the documentary field (major streaming platforms, deep-pocketed funding agencies, among others) and placed them face-to-face with independent documentary filmmakers from across the country and the world. Getting Real has hosted press-embargoed presentations where industry members felt comfortable relaying private data, as well as created intimate spaces for filmmakers to talk candidly about their experiences.

Conference Theme: Strategy, Networks, Access

The 2024 conference theme will encourage a groundswell of initiatives, research, connections, and action dedicated to connecting documentary filmmakers with their audiences. Thinking holistically about both the lives and afterlives of documentaries, we’ll spotlight how documentarians should access institutions, people, spaces, and resources so we can benefit from being in community with each other. Through this theme, the conference will explore several programming strands, including:

  • Networks. Documentary filmmaking infrastructures are often marked by limited resources that filmmakers compete over, especially when filmmakers maintain creative and political independence. It’s time to focus on the creation and sustenance of networks that cooperatively connect makers across physical and digital borders with the audiences we seek.
  • Strategy. As individuals working within larger systems, collective and effective action to create an equitable world and creative freedom can be difficult to imagine. We will build space for us to strategize around documentary language, production, and circulation.
  • Access. Over the past few years, documentarians are ingeniously questioning long-held tenets on what we promise to the people, institutions, and movements in our films, and what we expect from the institutions, companies, and individuals that support filmmakers. Our examinations of access will expand our understanding of how we make films, as well as how we profit off them.

Catch up on what you missed

The IDA communications and editorial team covers many conference sessions in addition to videos and transcripts

Find recordings of GETTING REAL '22 programming on our Youtube