On May 12, 2018, Animus Studios partnered with WIFVNE to host their first-ever Providence event, Women in Documentary Film: Finding Funding. It was an honor to welcome such an accomplished and insightful group of women on the panel and to host such a diverse group of attendees.
Moderated by WIFVNE President Alecia Orsini (far left), the panel featured (from left to right) Barbara Ghammashi (Women Make Movies), Denali Tiller (director and producer), Sara Archambault (LEF Foundation), and Megan Smith-Harris (Filmmaker & Festival Director, Ridgefield Independent Film Festival).
The conversation at the Cable Car in Providence included such broad topics as the journeys of the filmmakers, experience with finding funding and creating budgets, and thinking about the lifespan of the project –from concept to crew to festival circuits and reach in the wider world. The panelists each provided their unique perspective and experience with specific examples about what worked best for them, sometimes after trial and error. In hosting this event, Animus Studios had a goal: find a way to educate, inspire, and connect the local film community.
Dr. Maggie Rizzi, who was in the audience, offered this reflection: “Each of the panelists brought complementary knowledge and experience from the film industry and shared generously and effectively with the group … [T]here were valuable take-aways all afternoon. The information was practical, but as importantly, it was inspirational and encouraging. No one could have left without being completely invigorated and re-excited about their current projects. In addition to the amazing panelists, Animus brought together women from the area, all of whom now know each other and can use each other for support and resources. Brilliant.”
Some of the those valuable nuggets are provided below, in the hopes of continuing the conversation, and providing more resources for education, sources of inspiration, and points of connection.
- No matter what path, background or experience, it’s the passion to tell great, impactful stories that unites filmmakers. True artists want to help each other succeed — to not only tell their stories, but to be inspired by someone else’s story.
- People want you to succeed. Be persistent and keep following up.
- There are many ways to find funding for projects from grants, organizations tied to causes, networking events, and crowdfunding. To complete the funding for a project, its’s usually a combination of funding methods over a long period of time. A key element is to keep contacts and networks involved and invested with project updates via personal messages and social media.
- Think of the full journey ahead when keeping budget needs in mind: pre-production, production, post, marketing/festival circuit and distribution push.
- Build and surround self with a strong trusted team. Delegate activities (or in some cases, hire a producer) so, as the creator, you can focus on your vision and your role.
- Know your story and your vision while allowing yourself to evolve.
- Practice and perfect your pitch to ensure it is concise, direct, and clearly captures the project vision.
- Some of the key funding and support organizations named included the International Documentary Association, Hot Docs, Chicken & Egg, IFP, Women Make Movies, and LEF Foundation.
(At right, the panel, with Wendy Raad, Director, Operations at Animus Studios, in the lobby of the Cable Car.)
Animus Studios is excited to build community and momentum in the Rhode Island area. Animus Studios welcomes local filmmakers and artists to visit their studio space, meet their full team, and share stories. The panel was only the beginning to new connections and collaborations.
WIFVNE thanks the team Animus Studios for all their time, energy, and resources to put on the event. The reaction from Eileen Slavin speaks to why we do what do to support your voices: “In addition to providing valuable information on how to fund a documentary film project, the Women in Documentary Film event hosted by Women in Film and Video-New England and Animus Studios was a great way to connect with other female filmmakers in a welcoming and supportive environment.”