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Getting Real is a biennial conference unlike any other event on the documentary calendar. Now in its fifth edition, this gathering brings documentary filmmakers and industry professionals together in a communal space where they can build lasting relationships, encounter inspiring ideas, and host constructive conversations about the many challenges facing our growing community. 

watch recorded sessions on youtube  

We’re excited to announce that Getting Real has a new shape in 2022. At this year's hybrid conference, we've created a dynamic platform that will allow us to connect our in-person Los Angeles gathering with a virtual audience from all around the world. Wherever you're located, we hope you join us from September 27 - 29, as we cultivate connections and shine a spotlight on the artists, thinkers, and organizers whose work points us towards a brighter future.

The Getting Real ‘22 conference keynote speakers are Erika Dilday, Anand Patwardhan, and Nanfu Wang. National Geographic's Carolyn Bernstein, the executive VP of scripted and feature documentaries, will also join the conference for an intimate fireside conversation. 

Our Theme: Flipping the Frame

At Getting Real '22, we'll approach documentary's foundational quandaries from a different angle. Traditional power dynamics — between funder and filmmaker, documentarian and subject, distributor and exhibitor — will be subverted, as we seek visionary solutions to age-old problems of documentary creation and circulation.

Our Focus: Community, Imagination, Reverberation

  • It's time to decenter the individual genius and shift our attention to the power of collective energy. We will honor the community initiatives that have contributed so much to the documentary ecosystem while also facilitating the growth of new collectives across borders and towards shared affinities.
  • Too often the documentary world allows practical factors, such as logistics and the marketplace, to guide its thinking. As the systems around us crumble, this approach has left our communities in a precarious place. We will build space for us to imagine new approaches to documentary language, production, and exhibition.
  • Conversations about documentary are often hamstrung by abstract concepts, such as "impact" and "collaborative filmmaking," that obscure reality. We will bring into focus the real-world reverberations of documentary projects as we instigate conversations about how we make films, as well as how we profit off them.

Key Dates

  • Earlybird Registration is open through August 17, 11:59 pm PT or until supplies last. Register now to save 20% on All Access and Virtual Together passes.
  • Press accreditation applications are open until August 29, 2022, 5 pm PT. Click here to apply.
  • Getting Real '22 Fellowship applications are closed. Applicants will be notified on August 12, 2022.
  • Getting Real '22: September 27-29, 2022.


Volunteer at Getting Real '22

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us on the in-person day of the conference on September 29 in Los Angeles! Our shifts are 4 hours long with various benefits. We are looking for people who are inspired truth seekers to help us make this event possible. Volunteers will receive a complimentary All Access pass to all Getting Real sessions, a custom conference t-shirt, and swag. All volunteers will also be entered into a raffle with multiple winners & prizes including one-year IDA memberships. Please sign up here, and we hope to see you at orientation!

Partner Conference: Doc Filmmakers Legal Ed Day

Funded by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and supported by FRONTLINE/WGBH, the UCLA Law Doc Film Legal Clinic, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are pleased to present a free event:

September 30, 2022, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
In-person location TBA
Zoom link for virtual participants will be emailed to registrants ahead of the event.

See the program & schedule here and register here.

The Getting Real Experience – Virtual Together

While historically Getting Real has been an in-person event, the conference pivoted in 2020 to a virtual edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though we missed the intimacy of the in-person setting, we realized that by introducing accessibility features and removing geographic barriers, we could welcome more perspectives to the conversation.

This year, Getting Real will be a hybrid conference, happening both in-person in Los Angeles and virtually. No matter who you are, or where you are, we want you to feel you’re genuinely part of the community at Getting Real.

Events (What You’ll Find at Getting Real ‘22)

  • 3 days (September 27-29)
  • 35 presentation and panel options across the conference
  • 12 private, facilitated breakout sessions for affinity groups in the documentary community
  • 3 case studies and 3 masterclass workshops, in which some of the greatest filmmakers of our times share insights on their films and careers
  • 3 keynote speeches, one every day, from a leading figure in the documentary field
  • 2 documentary series available to stream at any time during the conference via the virtual platform
  • At night, there will be 2 screenings, one available to all attendees virtually and one for All Access passholders, and a Closing Night Reception presented by National Geographic Documentary Films for All Access passholders
  • Click here for the most updated conference schedule (final announcement to come on Wednesday, August 31!)

There are two separate passes or paths for attendance:

The All Access experience includes a one-day, large-group gathering at the Directors Guild of America (DGA). In addition to the panels, keynotes, and breakout rooms of the conference, attendees will be invited to the Big Hub Breakfast, Closing Night Reception, and After-Party, all of which provide opportunities for mingling with directors, industry gatekeepers, funders, and thought leaders. 

For the virtual-only days of the conference, we will be opening community hubs throughout Los Angeles for attendees who are interested in continuing to gather in person.

The Virtual Together experience will be held on Zoom. We will also be working with grassroots organizations and universities to replicate the community hub experience in other cities around the world. Check back closer to the conference to see if there is a community hub located near you!

If you are not in one of the cities with a community hub, or if you do not feel safe/comfortable attending an in-person gathering, you will still be able to experience the conference through the same platform that all attendees will be using, and through Whatsapp and other online chat groups that conference programmers will organize.

All Access Pass (in person and virtual)

Virtual Together Pass (virtual only)

The All Access Pass includes:

  • Closing Night Reception — This centerpiece gathering is the perfect opportunity for mingling with directors, industry gatekeepers, funders, and thought leaders after the final, in-person day of the conference concludes. 

  • Big Hub Breakfast — On the last morning of the conference, guests will energize themselves with a delicious spread.

  • Conference Programming —  Including panel conversations, workshops, keynote speeches, and a film screening.

  • As well as everything offered in the Virtual Together Pass!

The Virtual Together Pass includes:

  • Virtual Platform — Our innovative virtual platform will encourage serendipitous moments, joy, and surprise. Jumping from space to space, having one-on-one conversations, and navigating the chat will be intuitive (but we’ll also offer tutorials for those who want a little guidance).

  • Global Access — You will meet conference-goers and peers from all over the world.

  • Online Communities — Option to join a curated Whatsapp group chat with other Virtual Together attendees.

  • Conference Programming — Access to all panels, discussions, and keynotes as well as virtual cocktail bars for chatting, networking.


Catch up on what you missed

The IDA communications and editorial team covers many conference sessions in addition to videos and transcripts

Find recordings of GETTING REAL '22 programming on our Youtube