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Jennifer Merin

How Can I Fund My Documentary?

By December 18, 2008

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Mortgage your house. That's an obvious answer, and many documentary filmmakers have done just that when they're trying to finance and finish their projects.

But, what if you don't have a house? Or, what if your spouse won't agree to mortgaging it? Well, thankfully, there are alternative sources for funding.

It's all too true that grants from government sources, foundations and private investors are increasingly hard to come by. Money is very tight these days. So you have to be unusually inventive in your approach to fund raising.

Guidance to get you started in the right direction is at hand from the very entrepreneurial IndieGoGo. The fund raising model established by this start up is intriguing indeed and has already proven itself to be very workable.

The basic idea is that fund-seeking filmmakers post their projects on the IndieGoGo Website, and solicit donations--anything from several dollars to substantial sums--from people who take an interest in the project and would like to see it finished--either because they have a passion for the subject of the project, or a personal stake in the information that's to be revealed, or for whatever reasons they may have.

For hosting the fund raising site and facilitating the exchange, IndieGoGo takes a cut of each donation, but most of the money goes right to the filmmaker. Nice? You bet. Both for filmmakers and for people who want to participate in filmmaking without taking too much financial risk--they don't want to mortgage their homes, either.

You can add enticing incentives--a credit in the film, for example, as a premium for a donation of a minimum amount, or a private screening of the finished film that might be raffled off for donors who pledge significant amounts. Or people might want to donate in the name of a loved one, or as a gift to a film-loving friend. There are lots of way to play the game.

IndieGoGo has just announced that two of the projects it helped to fund have been accepted at the Sundance Festival next year. Which is an excellent indication of how effective this funding model can be.

Expore the IndieGoGo Website to see whether their program will work for you. And, if have funding tales to tell, advice to share or ideas for which you need a sounding board, let us know by leaving a comment.


November 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm
(1) Mehedee Hassan says:

Dear Dear

Hi i am from Bangladesh and i am a
documentary filmmaker.
Have their any opportunity to make documentary film.
You know in Bangladesh here have lots of subject for
making documentary.
Here attached my film link;

Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtSYqqIa4cI
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VaMIA2Sdko
Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_zoN_zUHjE

Thank you for your valuable attention.

Mehedee Hassan

May 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm
(2) documentaries says:

I suggest that you write about your documentary on the “What Documentary Are You Working On?” page, which you will find here:

Describe what you want to do, and what you need to do it. Also let readers know the level of your experience and expertise as a filmmaker and about your subject.

Hopefully, someone may express interest in working with you or helping you with funding.

Good luck!

December 30, 2012 at 2:50 am
(3) DEBARATI DAS says:


I want to do a documentary film.I had done already two documentaries.
But I want a proper funding such as I can express my word properly.

I am a woman of India.But I or we not get the proper respect of a human being.We are not backward in any aspect from a man.So what is our falt?
In bengali we the common women are called ‘MEYECHELE’. ‘MEYE’ means female and ‘CHELE’ means man.So we are not sufficient with only’MEYE’.
So my documentary subject is on the women who regularly fight with the male and society.The name of my documentary is ‘MEYECHELE’.
I had already completed my research work.
Please help me for funding such as I can reach the voice of these women to the world.


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