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Silverdocs 2012 Preview

by Erica Ginsberg, Docs In Progress Executive Director

Can you believe this is the 10th anniversary of Silverdocs?   We may think of this as our neighborhood film festival, since the main venues are only a few blocks away from Docs In Progress.  But, in reality, Silverdocs is one of the top all-documentary film festivals in the world.  And that's what we love about it - the global and the local come together.


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PBS Needs Indies - Guest Blog from Kartemquin Films

For those of you who may not be documentary filmmakers (or even for those of you who are), you may not be aware of a recent decision PBS made which has the potential to impact independent documentary producers.  While the decision to move PBS' two flagship independent film series Independent Lens and POV, from Tuesday nights to Thursday nights may, on the surface, seem like no big deal, it actually has a great deal of potential impact and has caused an uproar in the documentary community. 

Chicago-based Kartemquin Films -- which has been producing documentaries for more than 45 years, including a number which ended up on PBS (The Interrupters, Milking the Rhino, In the Family, The New Americans, and Hoop Dreams just to name a few) -- has been particularly vocal on the issue, publishing an open letter to PBS on March 15.  We recently asked Kartemquin's Communications Manager, Tim Horsburgh to share more of the story of the "PBS Needs Indies" campaign.


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12 Tweetable Crowdfunding Tips

Some crowdfunding quick tips from Docs In Progress Treasurer Kiley Kraskouskas of Thinking Forward Media and Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg.


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Are you caught up with the technology at the expense of e...

Docs In Progress welcomes guest bloggers from time to time who  provide perspectives on different aspects of documentary filmmaking.  Today we are pleased to feature Andrew Zinnes, co-author of the The Documentary Film Makers Handbook and producer of The Documentary Summit, a traveling two day professional conference for documentary filmmakers which will be coming to Washington DC on March 10-11.  Since one of the topics which will be discussed at the summit will be the balance between technical values and storytelling, we asked Andrew to offer his two cents on the matter.


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12 Things You Should Look for in a Fiscal Sponsor

Fiscal sponsorship is something that many documentary filmmakers seek out so they can raise grant funds which are only given to nonprofits and are able to accept contributions from donors who want a tax deduction. How to decide on the right fiscal sponsor? So much of the emphasis has been on what fiscal sponsors are looking for in fiscal sponsorees and yet fiscal sponsorees also should explore all their options to find a fiscal sponsor who is a good fit for their project.  Too many filmmakers focus only on which fiscal sponsor takes the lowest admin fee and not enough on all the other factors which can make or break a successful fiscal sponsorship relationship. After giving talks at the Foundation Center on Fiscal Sponsorship in the Arts, our Executive Director Erica Ginsberg adapted her presentation into this list of considerations.



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E is for Elementary

What do you think of when you hear the term “elementary?” Does it have a negative connotation, as though it means something too basic, simple, or easy? Does it take you back to the carefree days of elementary school? Does it make you channel your inner Sherlock Holmes: “Elementary, my dear Watson?”

One word can mean so many different things, just as one topic can be treated in so many different ways by different filmmakers. At Docs In Progress, we define “elementary” as a the aspects of a subject which are necessary to learn in order to progress to understanding more complex one. Building blocks, if you will.

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E is for Everyone

At one time, the door to documentary filmmaking was very heavy.  You had to go to film school and then apprentice under someone for a long time.  Cameras, editing systems, film, and film processing were out of the price range for most individuals.  Even if you made a film, you had to break through the few tightly-curated outlets for documentary in order to get it seen.


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E is for Early


And nope we don’t mean the midnight Black Friday Sales. Rather, we mean getting an early start on the giving season.

This year, why not give to Docs In Progress? We recently kicked off a new fundraising initiative -- a scholarship program which will allow those who cannot afford to take our documentary production classes and youth documentary filmmaking summer camps to do so.


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Is Film School the Way to Go?

Every summer, Docs In Progress gives an opportunity for our summer intern to write an article of interest to the Docs In Progress community.  This year, Fay Gartenberg examined the question of how one can best educate themselves in documentary filmmaking. 



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Silverdocs Impressions

This year, in addition to the dispatches from Matt Radcliff and tweets from Erica Ginsberg, Docs In Progress reached out to many of our program alumni to get a sampling of the word on the street about what they got out of the festival and conference.  Here’s what they had to say…



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