The panelists at last year's Camden Points North Pitch
Meghan Brosnan The panelists at last year's Camden Points North Pitch

Filmmakers looking to get in front of the documentary world's heavy hitters in an idyllic coastal Maine town should look no further than the Camden International Film Festival's Points North Pitch.  And for the first year ever, CIFF is offering the winner of Indiewire's CIFF Project of the Week a travel stipend and accommodations during the festival!


Last year, the pitch, which included Phil Engelhorn (Cinereach), Judith Helfand (Chicken + Egg Pictures), Brian Newman (Sub-genre), Daniel Chalfen (independent producer), Beth Janson (Tribeca Film Institute), Christopher Hastings (WGBH) and more, opened up to filmmakers beyond New England.

The 2012 Camden Points North Pitch winners were "In Country" filmmakers Mike Attie and Meghan O'Hara.  Attie told Indiewire, "We were initially not sure, but once we saw a list of the panelists -- Judith Helfand, Simon Kilmurry, Daniel Chalfen, Phil Englehorn -- we knew it would be a good opportunity.  But the event itself exceeded our expectations. The key is that it's a small, intimate environment. You're in Maine, not NYC or LA, so all of the filmmakers, broadcasters and funders hang out together, see movies together, etc. It was not only the pitch, but the access you get to key people in the world of documentary."

O'Hara added, "Camden really turned a corner for our film. We've had a huge amount of attention in the last six months and I believe none of that would have happened without Camden. When we pitched at HotDocs -- one of the biggest international markets in the world -- we had already met a bunch of the people there when we were at Camden. It gave us a huge leg up. When you've already shared clam chowder with someone in Maine, it makes it easy to write to them about your film. The last major piece is [festival director] Ben [Fowlie] & [Points North director] Sean [Flynn].  They are very well connected & respected in the Doc Community and they take a personal interest in seeing that your film succeeds. I think that personal attention is what makes Points North one of the best places to launch -- especially for first time filmmakers."

READ MORE: Why Emerging Filmmakers Should Pitch at the Camden International Film Festival 

Indiewire is giving one filmmaking team a chance to get to Camden before the final decisions get made at the end of August/beginning of September.  

The best pitch at Camden wins a $1,000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources and 60 hours of free sound mix or color correction services from Modulus Studios in Brighton, MA worth approximately $10,000.  One New England filmmaking team at the pitch will win a $3,000 scholarship from the Maine Media Workshops. We'd like to help you become eligible for those prizes.

Here's how it works:

  • For the first week of July, 1 thru 4, all Projects of the Day will be CIFF Points North Pitch submissions, selected by Indiewire.
  • July 5-8, readers will select one of the CIFF projects as Project of the Week.
  • The winner will receive -- in addition to a consultation from SnagFilms and eligibility for Project of the Month -- a guaranteed spot at the Points North Pitch, two passes to the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum, a travel stipend and accommodations for the duration of the festival.  
  • While projects must submit to the pitch by August 9, 2013, prospective pitches must have applied to CIFF and filled out the form below by Sunday June 30, 2012, at midnight in order to be eligible for the CIFF/Indiewire Project of the Day.

To submit your film for the CIFF Points North Pitch, fill out the entry form here, and to make sure you're eligible for the CIFF/Indiewire Project of the Week contest, fill out the form here.  In order to be eligible for the CIFF/Indiewire Project of the Week contest, you must submit both forms.

Here's the official press release from the Camden International Film Festival:

Camden International Film Festival Announces Points North Pitch Call for Entries

Documentary filmmakers invited to pitch their works-in-progress to a distinguished panel of industry delegates at two-day forum in Maine

Camden, Maine – The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced that the Points North Pitch is now open for submissions. Part of the two-day Points North Documentary Forum held during the festival, the pitch is a unique opportunity for documentary filmmakers to present their feature-length work-in-progress to a panel of influential industry decision makers. Past panelists have included representatives from HBO, ITVS, POV, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, A&E IndieFilms, BBC, ARTE, Discovery and Participant Media, as well as leading executive producers, festival programmers and funders. The pitch is open to all international filmmakers and the deadline for submission is August 9, 2013 at 11:59pm. 

All participating filmmakers will be eligible to win the Points North Pitch Award and MODULUS Finishing Fund, which includes a $1000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources and 60 hours of free sound mix or color correction services from MODULUS STUDIOS worth approximately $10,000. Selected New England-based filmmakers will also be eligible for a separate prize that includes a $3000 tuition scholarship to the Maine Media Workshops. Past winners of the Points North Pitch Award include BETTING THE FARM by Jason Mann and Cecily Pingree, MOSQUITO by Jesse Epstein and Hannah Rosenzweig, and IN COUNTRY by Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara.

Six projects will be selected to participate in the Points North Pitch, which includes an invaluable pitch training session led by industry experts. Past trainers have included executive producer Andrea Meditch (Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World), filmmaker/funder Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl, Chicken & Egg Pictures) and Ryan Harrington (Tribeca Film Institute). Selected filmmakers will also receive two VIP passes to the festival, accommodations in the Camden area, and a stipend for travel expenses. 

In a partnership with indieWIRE, one project will be selected by audience voting as part of the indieWIRE / CIFF Project of the Week Contest during the week of July 1-7. Details will be posted on the Points North website.

On Saturday, September 28, filmmakers will take the stage of the historic Camden Opera House and will be given exactly seven minutes to present both a verbal pitch and a trailer or sample clip from their work-in-progress. The Points North Pitch is free and open to the general public, providing a unique opportunity both for filmmakers to secure vital support for their projects and audience members to see how documentaries are developed and evaluated in their early stages.

"We are thrilled to see filmmakers who have pitched at the forum go on to do great things and build on relationships that started in Camden," says Points North Director Sean Flynn. Since winning Pitch Award at Points North, IN COUNTRY has received the Garret Scott grant and has been selected by the Hot Docs Forum and IFP Labs, as well as recognized as one of the “50 indie films to look out for in 2013” by indieWIRE. BETTING THE FARM went on to premiere at the 2012 Silverdocs Festival, and played to sold-out crowds as the official Opening Night Film of the 2012 Camden International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. 

Says Ben Fowlie, founder and executive director of CIFF: “We've seen tremendous growth in Points North over the last few years and we’re particularly excited about building a community of support around the work of emerging filmmakers from New England and beyond.” 

Now in its fifth year, the Points North Documentary Forum has become New England’s largest gathering of both documentary filmmakers and key industry decision makers.  In addition to the pitch session, the two-day conference program will feature workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions, one-on-one meetings and networking events running concurrently with the festival from September 27 – 28, 2013 in the Camden Opera House. 

Points North is dedicated to providing independent documentary filmmakers opportunities for both professional development and creative inspiration in an intimate, small-town setting, helping build a vibrant regional filmmaking community while sustaining a conversation about new directions in nonfiction storytelling. The forum is supported by the LEF Foundation, the Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation, the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Media Workshops, Documentary Educational Resources, Modulus Studios, IFP and indieWIRE.

More information about the Points North Documentary Forum, including an application for the pitch, can be found at: