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.

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.
Hear about a spectrum of field-led research efforts and the activism it inspires. Researchers and activists will discuss a range of research methods and strategies for putting the results to work for change.
In this documentary grant writing workshop, IDA’s Program Officer, Dana Merwin will demystify the process and discuss authorship’s role in documentary projects with IDA grantees, Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu.