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Jun 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Documentary Fundamentals: Releasing

With Lana Wilson, Jason Ishikawa, Susan Norget, Gabriele Caroti and John Von Thaden

This session of DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS is about releasing your next documentary. How can you find and build audiences for your film?  How do you know if your film is best suited for theatrical, broadcast, or both?  How do digital platforms affect “traditional” models of distribution and release? How can you best utilize your film festival campaign?  What does a sales agent do and how do I get one? Another can’t-miss session!


Jason Ishikawa is an Executive at Cinetic Media where he oversees international sales for the company. Recent documentaries he is working on include Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Filmworker, Love Means Zero, People’s Republic of Desire and The Gospel of Eureka and this year’s Oscar Nominees Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Last Men in Aleppo and Strong Island. Prior to joining Cinetic, Jason worked at The Film Sales Company where he was the Senior Director of Acquisitions, Financing and Sales. During his tenure, he sold over 100 titles across domestic and international territories. Jason graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and holds a BA in Cinema Studies.

SUSAN NORGET (Susan Norget Film Promotion) is a film marketing and publicity agency that has represented the work of some of the world’s most acclaimed documentarians including Werner Herzog, Joshua Oppenheimer, Liz Garbus, Errol Morris, Steve James, and Jehane Noujaim. The company represents films at major international festivals, including Cannes, Toronto and Sundance, and has spearheaded over 400 release campaigns. Projects the company has promoted have been honored with 4 Best Documentary Feature Oscars (and 23 nominations), 87 Independent Spirit awards and nominations, 31 Gotham awards and nominations, 15 IDA Best Feature awards,19 DGA Best Documentary awards and nominations, and dozens of top Cannes and Sundance prizes. Susan works regularly with producers seeking distribution for their projects and offers strategic advice and creative gameplans to help successfully bring their films to the marketplace. She also frequently works on awards campaigns and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

John Von Thaden is the senior vice president of acquisitions for Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing. Since joining in 2011, has worked on negotiations for films including Albert Maysles’ IRIS, the Oscar-nominated I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Palme d’Or winners THE SQUARE and SHOPLIFTERS, and currently in theaters documentary RBG. He graduated from Boston University.

Gabriele Caroti is an independent consultant in film distribution and exhibition, focusing on audience development and strategy in marketing, publicity, and programming​. H​e’s ​worked with Kino Lorber (Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, Filmworker, etc.)​, Vanity Fair magazine​, the Quad Cinema, ​the ​Museum of the Moving Image, and more. ​From 2013-2017 h​e was the director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s film program BAMcinématek and its annual festival BAMcinemaFest. Under his leadership, film at BAM had record years in audience, revenue, and critical acclaim. Previously he worked for Film Forum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center/New York Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and in distribution for Kino International, Palm Pictures, etc. He is graduate of Bowdoin College.

Lana Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director, writer, and producer based in New York. Her most recent film, The Departure, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim and went on to be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. The Departure was called “A work of art” by the San Francisco Chronicle, “Moving…like a haiku” by The New York Times, and “A genuinely spiritual experience” by The Washington PostThe Departure was theatrically released in 30 US cities last fall, starting with a held-over run at New York’s Metrograph, and nationally broadcast on PBS this year. Wilson’s first film, After Tiller (co-directed by Martha Shane)premiered at Sundance in 2013 and went on to win an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. It was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, four Cinema Eye Honors, and the Ridenhour Prize. After Tiller was theatrically released in 50 US cities by Oscilloscope and nationally broadcast on POV. Wilson has also worked as a writer and producer for television. She is a 2018 Women at Sundance Fellow, has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Buy A Series Pass

DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS! A nuts-and-bolts professional development series designed for the emerging or intermediate documentary filmmaker, Documentary Fundamentals at UnionDocs is six-part program taking place over the course of one weekend. Buy a SERIES PASS ($125) or choose to attend individual sessions ($25/each). This program has been an ongoing series at UnionDocs for many years. It developed from our experience with documentarians who needed a better foundation across the board to navigate production and distribution as an independent filmmaker in today’s landscape.

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Jun 24, 2018
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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