WORK(shop) it abroad!
As a thriving community of documentary filmmakers in the Pacific Northwest becomes more and more connected, and opportunities to get an education in documentary filmmaking abound, what do we do once we’ve got that education, or made our documentary film? Send it off to festivals? Try to sell it to television? Netflix? All of these are viable options, but what about casting the net a bit wider?
Documentary film is a language spoken more and more frequently around the world, and as an organic extension of this, more and more venues are opening up for documentary filmmakers to connect and exchange. As non-fiction storytelling evolves, integrating new technologies and new ideas, documentary film is charting territory that fiction filmmaking has yet to solidly grasp.
If you’re in early development of a project, or if you’re ready to look for distribution, it’s a good idea to consider tapping into the international documentary filmmaking community.
Documentary filmmaking is developing differently around the world. In Europe, for example, co-productions abound, with individual government culture grants bringing multi-country productions together, accompanied by a European Union grant supporting cross-cultural collaboration. Many films get funded this way, compared to our more crowdfunded film financing culture.
In many countries, documentary film festivals have built in a film market that is largely populated with films generated in the festival’s own curated filmmakers’ production mentoring program or workshop. Participating in these workshops builds your network, and your film’s potential.
This column will host a peek into a variety of international opportunities for you to develop, complete and shop your documentary projects, and to experience excellent documentary filmmaking. Some are free, some are not. Scholarships exist for others.
The end of May hosts the first session of DOK.Incubator, a 6 month long documentary workshop held over three sessions. The workshop accompanies documentary film proejcts from rough cut, to fine cut, distribution strategy and all the way to pitch at the DOK Leipzig Festival, through hands-on feedback sessions and development consultation from a wide panel of documentary professionals. The sessions take place in The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, and bring together a selection of film projects from around the world. The DOK.Incubator workshop enforces one firm rule for participation – that the director, editor and producer be present for the workshop. Their goal is to develop these three core elements to ensure a film’s success.
DOK.Incubator offers young filmmakers the possibility to participate in the workshops as an observer (for a fee). Check their website for details, in case you’re passing through Europe this year.
This year’s workshop will host nine projects, including the Belgian crossmedia project Emergency Exit, Dreaming of Denmark, about an Afghan asylum seeker in Denmark, and a Germany/Azerbajan co-production about tradition called Holy Cow. Submission deadlines are in the spring (already past for this year), and there are tuition costs.
In our next article, we’ll have some feedback from the producer of one of this year’s selected projects about her experience at the workshop.