Full course description
This class will meet ONLINE on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm eastern time.
This course is for students who want to produce a feature documentary and test the waters in the industry. Students should already have a concept in development or be working on a film. The objective of the class is to learn about the doc filmmaking business by diving into all the different stages necessary to make a documentary film, except for actual production. Students can partner up or work on their own.
We use examples from students’ current work and industry professionals, apply for grants, create budgets, watch each others’ trailers and give feedback, apply to pitch forums, and pitch each other (often). We will examine and possibly launch crowdfunding campaigns, learn about the industry players, and discuss the myriad distribution options available today. Special guests will be invited to join us. The following topics will be covered: concept crystallization, securing a protagonist, polishing your pitch, budgeting and fundraising, pitching to broadcasters, grants, crowdfunding, equity investments, crewing up, bookkeeping basics, industry who’s who—sales agents, distributors, producer’s reps, consultants—social media and other impact campaigns, pitch forums/trailers/networking, release forms and contracts, post-production basics, festivals, and distribution.
Sara Nodjoumi is a film producer, director, educator, and festival programmer. She produced When God Sleeps, co-produced by ITVS and WDR, executive produced by Motto Pictures, and supported by the Sundance Institute, the Catapult Film Fund, Fork Films, and various other domestic and international documentary organizations; the film premiered at Tribeca in 2017, has played at over seventy festivals worldwide, and has won numerous awards including the Golden Heynal for Best Music Doc at the Krakow Film Festival and Most Valuable Film of the Year from Cinema for Peace during Berlinale 2017. She also produced The Iran Job, which was released on Netflix and shortlisted for a German Academy Award. Sara and her producing partner Till Schauder are currently releasing their latest documentary Reggae Boyz digitally across America (Audience Award, 2019 Brooklyn Film Festival). She is an alum of the Sundance Creative Producer’s Summit and the IFP Cannes Producer’s Network Fellowship.
Sara was an Associate Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently the artistic director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival. She is currently in production with two feature documentaries: Untitled Nicky Nodjoumi Project is an art-heist thriller about her father’s lost art (supported by Catapult Film Fund and Sundance Doc Fund), and Kids, Life, Rock n Roll, a documentary about three pre-teens trying to form a band. Sara also teaches documentary producing at various institutions like DCTV and the Duke University School of Continuing Education.