There’s been a huge renaissance in documentary filmmaking and Indiewire’s been collecting some really great advice for documentary filmmakers, whether it’s about how to go about finding funding, making the best film you can, or distributing the film successfully, Indiewire has the information you need!
FINDING FUNDING FOR YOUR DOCUMENTARY
From the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam, here’s a look at what makes a pitch stand out at places like IDFA’s Forum.
Cara Mertes, who recently moved from the Sundance Institute to the Ford Foundation talks about why filmmakers need to consider impact.
From the Sheffield Doc/Fest, a panel of documentary producers talk about how filmmakers carve out a career for themselves across the world.
Lucy Cooke has figured it out: she has built a career out of sloths!
From the Sheffield Doc/Fest, a panel of experts explains how to fund a doc without compromising your principles.
DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION TIPS
Academy-Award nominated documentary director Marshall Curry (“Street Fight”) along with three first-time documentary directors with films at Hot Docs, provides useful tips for aspiring documentary directors looking to get their first project off the ground.
The filmmakers behind one of 2013’s most lauded docs, “These Birds Walk,” talk about how to make sure your documentary rises above the social issue cliches.
The DP of the insightful observational “Queen of Versailles” explains what makes cinema verite work.
From a book on video journalism, here are some tips on how to get documentary subjects to talk.
AJ Schnack and Nathan Truesdell explain how they got access to the Republican presidential nominees for their film “Caucus.”
The filmmakers behind “The Manor” show how to make a film about your family.
PBS dug around to find out what the most common tools for documentary filmmakers are. Here are the results.
A panel of experts at DOC NYC explain what to consider when looking for archival material.
Sundance programming associate — and now a programmer for DOC NYC and Nantucket — gives advice on how to make your documentary great.
First-time filmmakers at Hot Docs explain how they got to make their well-regarded films.
How to navigate conflicts — both within and between subjects and amongst collaborators — from IFW 2012.
Have a bunch of footage shot for your documentary? Find out what the people behind “Tim’s Vermeer” did.
Traveling the world to expose the military’s dirty wars, Richard Rowley explains how he made “Dirty Wars.”
How to make a film in a country that is vigilant about independent journalists, written by someone who makes films in Zimbabwe.
DISTRIBUTING YOUR DOCUMENTARY
Anthony Kaufman explores the issue of transmedia documentaries, and who exactly is watching them. The answers may surprise you.
The question you need to know the answer to…
When making a documentary about music, it’s probably a good idea to think about music festivals as a venue
Here’s a list of six case studies of documentary distribution that are working.
How the filmmakers behind “Terms and Conditions May Apply” developed a great way to engage their audience online.
A look at the nominees for the Puma Impact Award, with data on how they’ve made their impact.
How to make sure that people make sure your film has legs.
From two professors at Syracuse University explain why university screenings may benefit filmmakers.
BETWEEN TRUTH AND FICTION
In Keith Miller’s “Five Star,” which screened at The Tribeca Film Festival, the director uses non-actors to create an almost documentary feel to his narrative film. Relying on both documentary and fictional storytelling techniques, Miller blurs the line between the two. Miller describes why both techniques are equally “true.”
What to do about the burden of truth in documentary filmmaking? Check out this IFW panel’s responses to the topic.
Exploring the hybrid documentary in a feature article.
AND MORE FROM THE DOCUMENTARY WATER COOLER
An underlooked aspect of documentary filmmaking is animation and graphics.
Documentary recreations are often quite controversial. What are the ethics behind recreating scenes from reality.
Some live documentaries are really innovative projects. Why they might be the future of experimental documentary.
Alex Gibney shared his experiences with documentary filmmaking at the last IDA awards.
Ira Glass shares his insights of storytelling for the radio, in an effort to help documentary filmmakers tell their stories better.
Cinema Eye Honors asked documentary filmmakers to name what documentaries inspire them. Here’s a list of the top 25.
From Jessica Edwards’ book “Tell Me Something,” here’s some advice from documentarian legend Albert Maysles.
How should documentaries approach trying to criticize big powerful institutions?
We report from Hot Docs Forum, a two-day pitching event at Hot Docs 2014, about the key elements of a successful documentary pitch.
How do filmmakers express their creative vision in a film or throughout their career? On a panel at Hot Docs 2014, documentarians Margaret Brown, Barbara Kopple and John Zaritsky discussed what it takes to create a distinct cinematic voice and, ultimately, build an identity and a reputation through a body of works.