News from Doc U & the International Documentary Association (IDA)

Published On March 16, 2012 | By admin | Blog Post, film finance, film production, Independent Film

Doc U, the International Documentary Association’s series of educational seminars and workshops for aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers, is sponsoring another great event on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at The Cinefamily inLos Angeles.  This seminar is called The Business Side of Documentary Filmmaking and it features moderator Lisa Leeman (One Lucky Elephant, Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trunga), who will be discussing the ins and outs of accounting, business management and tax reporting along with Chris Perez, Associate at Donaldson & Callif, Jeffrey Schwarz from Automat Pictures, Lee Storey (Smile ‘Till It Hurts: The Up With People Story), and Michael Garelick, ATA, ATP, CEO/President, Garelick Business Management, Inc.

Doors open at 7pm with the discussion and audience Q&A being held from 7:30 – 9:00pm.  The Cinefamily is located at611 N. Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles and there will be a wine reception immediately following at the venue’s backyard Spanish patio. Tickets for IDA members are $15.00, IDA student members $5.00 and for Non-Members $20.00 and seating is limited. 

For those who are unaware of the programs sponsored by the IDA, they are taught by artists and industry experts and participants receive vital training and insight on various topics including: fundraising, distribution, licensing, marketing and business tactics.  Their mission is to support documentary filmmakers and further the art of the documentary.  Most of their events are held in either Los Angeles or New York, but they also offer a number of benefits that make it a worthwhile organization for anyone interested in documentary filmmaking to join.  One such perk is their Fiscal Sponsorship program, which started in 1998.  This is a formal arrangement in which a 501 ( c ) (3) public charity, agrees to sponsor a project that furthers our mission, for the purpose of fundraising through grants and donations.  This provides a viable alternative to starting your own nonprofit and lets you seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations for your documentary by giving you the oversight, support and endorsement of the IDA.  Last year filmmakers using the program raised over 3 million dollars to get their documentaries made and seen.  The IDA works with films in all stages of production including outreach and distribution.  As Fiscal Sponsors they take no ownership of the filmmaker’s project nor do they infringe upon creative control or copyright or prevent you from future sales or profit or profit from your profit.  They seek to be as non-intrusive as possible in monitoring projects with their main goal being to assure that the money raised is being properly dispersed and used for the project as intended. 

Another program the IDA sponsors is the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund which provides annual production grants totaling $75,000 to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate pressing issues in theUnited States.  Grants are made for up to 5 projects that tell and compelling story and focus on one of Pare Lorentz’s themes: the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.  The fund supports full-length documentaries reflecting the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz’s work with projects featuring objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, high production values, artistic writing, outstanding music composition along with skillful direction, camerawork and editing.  This program is made possible by The New York Community Trust and the deadline is April 23, 2012.

For information about the IDA and all of their programs visit their website at

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