For a documentary film to make a difference, a solid strategy for audience engagement and strong partnerships are key. Filmmakers often lack time to do this work themselves or the expertise and the funds to pay for it. Emerging artists, creators of color, and other underrepresented artists can face the biggest hurdles, despite the potential of their projects. Working Films’ response to this challenge is the Impact Kickstart, a program offering in-kind partnership and strategy development to underrepresented documentary directors with feature films in progress that hold great promise to catalyze action to address critical issues of our time.
Now in its third year, the Impact Kickstart program has helped underrepresented filmmakers create strategic goals for impact and specific plans to engage future partners, funders, and audiences in meaningful ways.
Up to four filmmakers receive an Impact Kickstart from Working Films each year. Those who qualify include directors of color, indigenous directors, undocumented directors, female directors with a majority female film team, directors who identify as LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming, and differently-abled directors can apply. Each selected filmmaker will receive in-kind support from Working Films for the planning, facilitation and reporting out from a day-long strategy summit with potential partners and funders for their film. This summit will leave filmmakers well positioned to carry out an impact campaign with a clear strategy, goals, partners and a report that can be used as a Letter of Inquiry for potential funders.
For nearly two decades, Working films has planned and led strategy summits to inform the plans for a film’s impact and solidify the commitments of partner organizations. Our team works in collaboration with filmmakers to outline priorities including: potential partners, target audiences, screening locations, and a clear vision for impact. From there, we work with filmmakers to create an invite list of aligned organizations, build out an agenda, and coordinate the logistics of the strategy summit. Both the film team and attending organizations will walk away from the summit with a clear sense of each other’s goals, current and future opportunities to leverage the film, and commitments to move the impact campaign forward in priority locations and in front of key audiences.
Deadline to apply is February 7, 2020. The application to apply can be found here.
Film director must identify as an underrepresented maker. We define “underrepresented” as directors of color, indigenous directors, undocumented directors, female director with a majority female film team, directors who identify as LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming, and differently-abled directors.
This opportunity is open to filmmakers with feature length documentaries or multi-part series in late production, post-production, or recently completed (within the last year of the current submission deadline) that address issues of social or environmental justice.
Films may feature stories from anywhere in the world, but the applicant must be living in the United States and planning an impact campaign to be carried out in the U.S.
Decisions will be based on: quality of filmmaking and content of storytelling, background of the filmmaker and their connection to the issues, the filmmaker’s commitment to social justice, potential for impact, and timeliness of the topic.
Filmmakers must be prepared for the impact strategy development to take place between February and July 2020. This does not mean that your film must be complete in this time period.
Email info(at)workingfilms.org with questions.