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Exclusive: Impact Partners to Launch Emerging Documentary Producers Fellowship at DOC NYC 2015

Exclusive: Impact Partners to Launch Emerging Documentary Producers Fellowship at DOC NYC 2015

Impact Partners, the leading financier and executive producer of documentary film, will launch a new annual Emerging Documentary Producers Fellowship. The fellowship will be awarded to some of the industry’s most promising new producers at an inaugural ceremony at DOC NYC this fall. The goal of the new fellowship is to foster emerging producing talent by launching a program that consists of a yearlong series of workshops with some of the most prominent luminaries in the field of documentary film.

Guest documentary experts confirmed to participate in the 2015-2016 fellowship workshops include: Victoria Cook (“Page One: Inside the New York Times,”), Geralyn Dreyfous (“The Square”), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“Jesus Camp”), Liz Garbus (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”), Howard Gertler (“Do I Sound Gay?”), Julie Goldman (“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”), Amy Hobby (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”), Tabitha Jackson ( “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs”), Stanley Nelson (“Freedom Riders”), DOC NYC Artistic Director and Toronto Film Festival Programmer Thom Powers, Morgan Spurlock (CNN’s “Morgan Spurlock Inside Man”), Amy Ziering, (“The Hunting Ground”), plus others to be announced in the fall. The workshops will be moderated by Impact Partners Executive Director Dan Cogan (“How to Survive a Plague,” “Hell and Back Again,” “The Queen of Versailles”).

READ MORE: Make a Movie, Change the World: What It’s Like to Work with Impact Partners

“Impact Partners has been around for nine years and we’ve made 60 films. We have seen increasingly over the years that there’s a ton of support for directors, but there just isn’t the same level for producers. We felt like a lot of the producers we were working with could have benefitted from this kind of deep-dive in an intimate group over time,” Cogan told Indiewire.

Thom Powers, Artistic Director of DOC NYC, said in a statement, “Documentary producing isn’t something you learn from books. It’s like an occult knowledge acquired through mentors and practice. The most important secrets of massaging finances, personalities, legalities and unexpected situations are only shared in closed rooms. DOC NYC is proud to give a platform to this vital initiative.”

READ MORE: Attention, Filmmakers: Here’s Why a Grassroots Screening Tour Might Be Right for Your Documentary

Cogan agreed that “there’s no formal training that you can do to learn this stuff. There’s no film school that teaches you. We felt that we had been through it so many times ourselves and had such great relationships with filmmakers and producers, in particular, who we admire, that we thought we could bring this all to bear for a group of filmmakers every year to help jumpstart them through the process of producing.”

Speaking of the types of people the fellowship is geared towards, Cogan said, “They are people who have some sense of what they want to achieve, but they haven’t achieved it yet. They’re smart, they’re ambitious, they love documentary storytelling.” The idea is to create a formal mentoring process.

“I think the mentoring process is incredibly valuable for filmmakers and it doesn’t exist enough in part because documentary budgets often don’t allow you to have one producer fully paid, forget about having an associate producer or co-producer or whatever. There aren’’ a ton of opportunities out there for people to be mentored and get paid,” he said.

Specific details on the fellowship, who is eligible and how they can apply is listed below (with text provided by Impact Partners):

The Impact Partners Documentary Producers Fellows will participate in ten development workshops to be held in New York City, guided by eminent producers and industry experts with distinct areas of knowledge. Each session will explore a different aspect of film production facing young producers today. The workshops will cover film finance, festival strategy, marketing and distribution deal making, legal workshops and other critical topics. During each session, documentary luminaries will work closely with each fellow to choose topics and issues with immediate relevancy to their current work, offering hands-on advice, strategies and best practices.

Each fellow will also be awarded $2,500.  

For the inaugural 2015 program, five emerging producers will be selected. Nominations will be accepted from directors, producers, editors and other key crew members who have worked directly with the person on a previous or current film. Candidates must be nominated by current or former colleagues and cannot nominate themselves. 

The program is now accepting nominations through October 6th, 2015. Winners of the fellowship will be announced at a special awards event at DOC NYC 2015. For more information on the application and selection process, please refer to details below, or visit here

READ MORE: 10 Things I Learned from Self-Distributing My First Documentary

How to Apply

Nominations are now being accepted from documentary filmmakers and other key crew members who have worked with an emerging producer. A short nomination form is currently available on our website here. If you know someone you would like to nominate, please fill out the form and send it to fellowship@impactpartnersfilm.com. 

The deadline for nominations is October 6th, 2015. 

If you are a producer who is interested in applying, we encourage you to get in touch with filmmakers you have worked with in the past and ask them to nominate you. As nominations come in, candidates will be contacted with a brief application form. 

Who is Eligible?

This fellowship is created to support emerging documentary producers. 
We want to hear from the documentary community — who are the young producers who are creative, resilient and eager to grow? Who would benefit from mentorship and becoming a member of a new network of documentary producers? 

Applicants MUST have worked on at least one documentary film in a key crew position such as Producer, Line Producer, Co-Producer or Associate Producer. They may NOT have worked as “Producer” on more than 3 feature-length documentary films. Applicants must be based in New York City, or be willing to travel for all of the workshops. 

READ MORE: What Does Netflix’s Investment in Documentaries Mean for Filmmakers?

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