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Educational Seminars

Our year-round series of seminars, panels and workshops focusing on the art, craft and business of documentary filmmaking. Become an IDA member to access previous seminars online.

In this IDA members’ only workshop, veteran marketing expert and researcher Fred Greene will give a brief presentation on different moments filmmakers can position and present themselves in their projects. Greene will follow this talk with a series of short strategy sessions with pre-selected projects workshopping their written materials and conclude with an audience Q&A.

This 90-minute event is developed through IDA’s Getting Real Fellowship and will bring together filmmakers from Bangladesh and Taiwan who have experience negotiating the international film circuit. Facilitated by programmer Pei-hua Chung (Taiwan International Documentary Festival), filmmakers Huang Yin-yu (Green Jail) and Farid Ahmad (Waiting for Winter) will share a film with event registrants ahead of their conversation around shared concerns. They will discuss this complicated landscape, touching on topics from international co-productions, the assumptions behind ideas of universality in narrative structures, and the unsaid challenges of being platformed. This event is presented in partnership with Dhaka DocLab, TFAI and Taiwan Docs.

A four-part virtual summit that collaboratively explores the disparate yet interconnected fields of visual journalism and documentary film — and best practices that lie at the intersection of both.

How do you make a film about the experience of incarceration? Given the complexities of consent and power, what are the ethics this work requires? What is an ethic of narrative reparation? With an introduction from filmmaker Anyé Young, filmmaker Adamu Chan thinks through these questions with award-winning filmmakers Brett Story, Jasmín Mara Lopez, and co-host and co-producer of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast “Ear Hustle” Rahsaan Thomas.

How much does it really cost to make a documentary? What does sustainability look like? What changes do we need to make for the well-being of the field?

In this workshop, IDA’s Director of Artist Programs Abby Sun will walk filmmakers through the process of developing a film festival strategy that takes the particular expectations, needs, and prospects of your individual film into account. Guest speaker Chase Whiteside (América, co-directed with Erick Stoll) will provide a case study drawing on his own experiences navigating the film festival circuit with and without a sales agent.

Karin Chien from Distribution Advocates will walk us through a scan of the distribution landscape and talk with independent filmmakers Stephen Maing (Untitled Amazon Union Documentary, Crime + Punishment) and Emma D. Miller (What We Leave Behind, Untitled Mistress Dispeller Project) to shed some light the seemingly shadowy and intimidating world of distribution.

This panel takes a step by step approach to demystifying tax incentives and helping documentary filmmakers better understand how to utilize them.

This conversation brings together human rights experts, advocates, filmmakers, and mental health professionals to discuss what it means to ethically document survivors' stories, the potential for shared standards across fields, and the meaning of informed consent in a media context.

Hear from a member of the working group, a mentor/mentee editing team, and industry producers who are working towards change in the edit room.