Skip to content

Filmmakers

   

Distribution, Marketing & Engagement

Looking for strategies to build and engage your documentary's audience? We've collected these tips for getting your documentary seen by the public with traditional and emerging distribution models, and for extending the life your film beyond the screen through ongoing dialogue and action.

Discover engagement strategists who can help make the most of your film campaign »

Browse a list of domestic and international film festivals to screen your film »

Recent Posts:

June 5, 2014
#docchat: “How to Get Your Film on Public Television” with POV’s VP of Programming & Production Chris White
Join the video chat on Google+ this Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 1-2 PM (10-11 AM PT), and ask your questions about how to navigate the public television submission process.
Read more »

May 21, 2014
10 Secrets for Making the Most of Your Film’s Broadcast Premiere
Picture Motion's Alexandra Pearson and Megan Ryan take us behind the scenes of the social impact campaigns of five remarkable films that aired on CNN, HBO, OWN and POV.
Read more »

May 21, 2014
10 Secrets for Making the Most of Your Film’s Broadcast Premiere
Picture Motion's Alexandra Pearson and Megan Ryan take us behind the scenes of the social impact campaigns of five remarkable films that aired on CNN, HBO, OWN and POV.
Read more »

May 1, 2014
#docchat: Documentary Engagement Strategy: Creating a Lasting Impact on Google+ (May 6, 2014)
Ask your questions about documentary engagement strategies for last impact on Google+! Tuesday, May 6, 12:30-1:15 PM ET / 9:30-10:15 AM PT.
Read more »

May 1, 2014
#docchat: Documentary Engagement Strategy: Creating a Lasting Impact on Google+ (May 6, 2014)
Ask your questions about documentary engagement strategies for last impact on Google+! Tuesday, May 6, 12:30-1:15 PM ET / 9:30-10:15 AM PT.
Read more »

April 25, 2014
5 Things Documentary Filmmakers Can Learn from Game Designers
Engagement, interaction, participation, messaging and the power of play: Five takeaways for filmmakers from Games for Change at Tribeca FIlm Festival's Innovation Week.
Read more »

April 7, 2014
POV’s 2015 Call for Entries is Officially Open!
Films submitted to this open call will be considered for the 2015 broadcast season and beyond. The deadline for submission is Monday, June 30, 2014.
Read more »

December 9, 2013
For Filmmakers: DIY Digital Distribution Platforms
So you've made your film... Now you start the biggest challenge of them all: getting it seen. We've complied a list of digital self-distribution platforms and asked each one why documentary filmmakers should pick their service over all the others.
Read more »

December 9, 2013
For Filmmakers: DIY Digital Distribution Platforms
So you've made your film... Now you start the biggest challenge of them all: getting it seen. We've complied a list of digital self-distribution platforms and asked each one why documentary filmmakers should pick their service over all the others.
Read more »

May 22, 2013
Lucy Winer (“Kings Park”) on Making a Career in Documentary Filmmaking
The filmmaker of Rate It X and Golden Threads is wiser after releasing many documentaries the "traditional way" and has turned to a new model for making a living as an independent filmmaker.
Read more »

May 17, 2013
For Filmmakers: Documentary Filmmaking Resources from POV
Check out our new resource for documentary filmmakers that covers everything from funding opportunities to online video platforms to "engagement" strategists you can hire for your film.
Read more »

May 13, 2013
Recommended Reading: The “360 Equation”: The One Business Model Every Filmmaker Needs To Know
Marc Schiller of BOND360 explains his company's approach to independent distributing.
Read more »

March 14, 2013
Vimeo Is All About Filmmakers With Its New Self-Distribution Service
Vimeo announced its new self-distribution service on Tuesday, so how does it work? Is it easy to use?
Read more »

January 30, 2013
Women of Transmedia
Liz Nord profiles eight of the trailblazing women she's learned from while making her own transmedia documentary.
Read more »

January 28, 2013
Dear Mandela: A South African Film Finds an American Audience
Dara Kell shares her experience self-distributing the documentary Dear Mandela. The film airs on Black Public Media's AfroPoP on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.
Read more »

January 24, 2013
My Brooklyn: Replicating Their Model in Your Community
Kelly Anderson, Director of "My Brooklyn", sheds insight into her successful community engagement strategy.
Read more »

January 22, 2013
Kickstarter: Tips from Three Successful 2012 Doc Campaigns
If you're thinking about fundraising for your documentary on Kickstarter, here are some words of wisdom from three successful campaigns in 2012.
Read more »

November 29, 2012
Seed&Spark: Introducing a New Platform and Ecosystem for Independent Film
This Saturday, December 1, Seed&Spark will roll out its platform, aiming to provide a whole new ecosystem for the funding and distribution of independent films.
Read more »

July 30, 2012
Could More Docs Be Box Office Contenders With Larger Distribution?
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, The Imposter, and Searching for Sugar Man have had impressive earnings at the box office recently, which begs the question: could these have been big box office contenders with a larger distribution and marketing campaign?
Read more »

May 31, 2012
Years After a Festival Run, ‘U.N. Me’ Filmmakers Take a DIY Path to a Theatrical Release
U.N. Me, the first film from director/producers Ami Horowitz and Matt Groff, had a modest festival run starting in 2009. Now, almost three years later, they've raised the money to release the film themselves.
Read more »

May 30, 2012
Why Ewing & Grady Are Choosing to Self-Distribute ‘Detropia’
The filmmaking team behind The Boys of Baraka, Jesus Camp and 12th & Delaware tells Doc Soup Man why they're self-distributing their new documentary, the lyrical Detropia.
Read more »

April 27, 2012
6 Golden Rules for Filmmakers on Social Media
What's the best way to ensure success online? Read six tips for engaging your audience from Elisabeth Holm (Kickstarter), Gary Hustwit (Helvetica), Julie La'Bassiere (FilmBuff) and Mike Knowlton (StoryCode, Murmur).
Read more »

March 31, 2012
What DIY Film Distributors Can Learn from the Launch of the Joffrey Documentary
Sheri Candler and Jon Reiss offered tips for getting a documentary to a niche group of viewers who might not be found through a traditional film distribution channel.
Read more »

January 10, 2012
The Iran Job & Tips for Managing a Viral Fundraising Campaign
On Monday, a documentary about an American basketball player in Iran ended a 50-day campaign that generated $100,000 in donations at the buzzer on Kickstarter after major media hits with CNN, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The Iran Job's Till Schauder tells Adam Schartoff how his team managed the campaign.
Read more »

January 5, 2012
Kickstarter Campaign Secrets from Record-Breaking Documentary Director Jennifer Fox
Jennifer Fox raised a record-breaking $150,000 on Kickstarter - the most raised for a finished film and the most per donor. Watch the interview with Fox to find out how she did it.
Read more »

January 3, 2012
12 Small-Town Documentary Film Festivals for 2012
A roundup of the nation's best small-town film festivals (with populations less than 100,000) for escaping the crowds, paparazzi and hype.
Read more »

December 20, 2011
Holiday Crowd-Fundraising Tips from 7 Documentary Insiders
The holiday season is no holiday for documentary producers looking to raise funds, but some documentarians say it's as good a time as any.
Read more »

December 20, 2011
Holiday Crowd-Fundraising Tips from 7 Documentary Insiders
The holiday season is no holiday for documentary producers looking to raise funds, but some documentarians say it's as good a time as any.
Read more »

November 29, 2011
Good Storytelling Takes Time
The news and documentary forms are complementary, but as guest blogger Heather McIntosh explains, popular online news is failing to lay a foundation for deeper inquiry.
Read more »

October 19, 2011
The Elusive ‘General’ Audience
In a second post in a series on finding an audience for your documentary, Edward J. Delaney looks at how an emphasis on your film's storyline can help you grow your audience beyond a small core of fans.
Read more »

October 17, 2011
Cultivating Micro-Audiences
Edward J. Delaney explains how to use the Pyramid of Audience Interest to define and expand your doc's niche audience.
Read more »

October 17, 2011
Cultivating Micro-Audiences
Edward J. Delaney explains how to use the Pyramid of Audience Interest to define and expand your doc's niche audience.
Read more »

October 4, 2011
How Digital Subscriptions Are Altering Our Relationships with Media
With independent distributors entering the digital subscription market, guest blogger Heather McIntosh considers questions of access, curation and ownership that emerge from consumers discarding their DVD collections for Netflix membership.
Read more »

September 22, 2011
Dynamo, Distrify & Distribber: Documentarians Test New Tools for Direct Distribution Online
The filmmakers behind the documentaries Until the Light Takes Us and Wake Up share their experiences with DIY video-on-demand.
Read more »

January 10, 2011
The Critics: Documentary Distributors’ Best Friends
Do you know who a documentary distributor’s best friend is? The film critic, that’s who. Take a look at 2010′s ten best reviewed films of the year at rottentomatoes.com: Marwencol Waste Land GasLand Toy Story 3 How to Train Your Dragon Exit Through the Gift Shop The Social Network Inside Job Mugabe and the White
Read more »

October 14, 2009
Outside the Frame: Results: Documentary Website Cost Survey
Freelance writer Amanda Hirsch, former editorial director of PBS Interactive, blogs about documentaries and the Web in her column, Outside the Frame. This is part 3 of my series on producing great documentary websites. Read part one and part two. The results are in! 24 filmmakers responded to our survey, “How Much Does It Cost
Read more »

July 28, 2008
Doc Soup: Major Marketing for ‘American Teen’
Every Monday, independent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup. This past weekend, American Teen hit theaters. I’d put it up there with about five other docs (Standard Operating Procedure, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, Young@Heart, Man on Wire and Religulous) as
Read more »

July 21, 2008
Doc Soup: What Does SnagFilms Mean for the Future of Documentary Distribution?
Last week, there was a big splash in the small pool that is the Internet documentary film community. A new site called Snagfilms was launched by former AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, ex-AOL chief Steve Case and venture capitalist Miles Gilburne. Heavy hitters, indeed. The site allows people like you and me to watch docs
Read more »

June 2, 2008
Doc Soup: On Docs, Distribution and the Cinematic Experience
Last week, two docs from 2007, What Would Jesus Buy? and Darfur Now were released on DVD. They both disappointed at the box office. I think I know why. I don’t like to knock a doc when it’s down, but when I noticed that they were both hitting DVD shelves, I thought there’s something worth
Read more »

December 12, 2007
For Filmmakers: What Does POV Look For in a Film?
One of the questions we’re asked most often here at POV is: “What do you look for in a POV film anyway?” Every year, more than 1,000 films compete for 12-15 slots on the POV broadcast schedule, so what’s a documentary filmmaker to do if she wants to fill one of those coveted slots? As
Read more »

Read more posts about:
Pitching & Funding | Production | Editing & Writing | Equipment & Technology | Social Media For Filmmakers

Share This

Submit Your Film

 
Guidelines | Tips | Submit »

The PBS documentary series POV is seeking independent nonfiction films for broadcast in 2015 and beyond.
Deadline: June 30, 2014




POV Hackathon
Teams of filmmakers and developers are challenged to create web documentary prototypes over two days of intense collaboration. Apply »



RECENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The Diverse Voices Project IV (DVP), with up to $100,000 in co-production funding available to emerging filmmakers, is POV's initiative to support stories about diverse communities produced by emerging makers.
Find out more »


The Project VoiceScape call for entries is now closed. Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV are searching for the next generation of documentary filmmakers! Winners were announced in April 2011.
Find out more »


The POV | Alpha Cine Award was awarded to a documentary filmmaker whose work was selected to Air on the POV series. The award was given in 2010.
Find out more »

Resources for Filmmakers

Find out more about the variety of funding, festival, and engagement opportunities available for independent producers.

Go »

POV Podcasts

POV brings a collection of documentary filmmakers, writers, experts, and viewers together for conversations about topics relevant to POV's nonfiction films.

Go »