Get Your Documentary Funded And Distributed
Authors: Jess Search and Melissa McCarthy
Published 2005 by Shooting People
So you want to make a documentary. You've got a great idea and a camera in your hand, but without consideration for funding and distribution how is anyone going to see a finished film? Jess Search and Melissa McCarthy are on hand to help with Get Your Documentary Funded And Distributed. Search is co-founder of Shooting People, a premiere resource and network for the filmmaking community and leader of the Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation. McCarthy is editor of the Shooting People documentary network and has extensive experience of writing, and curating film festivals.
While a first glance the book’s pages seem rather too dense with text, the well-organised index actually makes it very accessible to use. The introduction charts the recent rise to prominence of the documentary, mentioning many great documentaries from Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line (1988) to Fahrenheit 911’s huge box office takings and it’s scooping of the 2004 Palme D’Or. Stating, “It’s an exciting time to be making documentaries,” it is packed with information and tips from filmmakers and people in the funding/distribution industry.
Chapters include information on production companies and public and private avenues for funding throughout the UK as well as Europe and North America. The distribution information comprises a chapter on distribution for short documentaries –where many filmmakers will start – as well as a full guide to film festivals around the globe where filmmakers can tout their films. While the guide provides countless vital addresses for useful organisations this is much more than just a directory for reference. Along the way there are stories from successful documentary makers and producers from Morgan Spurlock (writer/director, Super Size Me (2004)) and John Smithson (producer, Touching The Void (2003)) to Franny Armstrong (writer/director, McLibel (2005)). Indeed, as champions of independent emerging filmmakers Search and McCarthy use McLibel as a model for unconventional funding and distribution because it was made through people donating time for free and appealing to supporters to raise money for the DVD release. In this way, the guide encourages filmmakers to break the commercial mould and use creative ways to market their films.
Get Your Documentary Funded And Distributed is possibly a little pricey at £25, but Search and McCarthy have put their own years of experience into producing a really useful guide that provides inspiring and essential information for any budding Michael Moore’s.