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Jun 29, 2024 at 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Documentary Fundamentals: Financing

With Marley McDonald, Brian Becker, Penny Lane, and Gabriel Sedgwick

This session of DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS is about pitching and financing your next documentary. This session will address the eternal question: how to finance your doc? What are the pros and cons of different fundraising options and how does someone get started on this process? Pitching, how to pitch and successfully apply for grants, and routes to markets will be discussed in this can’t-miss session.

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$175.00Add to cart

DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS: A professional development series designed to give the emerging or intermediate documentary filmmaker an inside look at the filmmaking process from pre-production planning to post-production and distribution. Over the past few years, UnionDocs has developed this ongoing program for documentarians that desire a better foundation for navigating the modern landscape of independent filmmaking. This six-part program takes place over the course of one weekend at UnionDocs. Buy a SERIES PASS ($175) or choose to attend individual sessions ($35/each).


Marley McDonald is a filmmaker, animator, and painter living in Queens, New York. In 2021, she was chosen as a Points North Fellow and worked as an additional editor on Penny Lane’s film Listening to Kenny G. Her associate editor work includes Spaceship Earth, and the Golden Lion-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. She most recently directed and edited her debut feature, Time Bomb Y2K (co-directed with Brian Becker) for HBO.

Brian Becker is a New York-based filmmaker who directed and produced Time Bomb Y2K (co-directed with Marley McDonald), which premiered on HBO in December, 2023. The film’s festival run included True/False Film Festival, Hot Docs, Sheffield DocFest, IDFA, Camden International Film Festival, and DocNYC. Brian served as archival producer on Free Chol Soo Lee, MLK/FBI, and Spaceship Earth, and as co-producer on the series Bobby Kennedy for President. Brian is a 2022 Doc NYC 40 Under 40 recipient, Impact Partners Producing Fellow, Points North Fellow, and a FOCAL Jane Mercer Researcher of the Year award nominee. Before turning to production, he worked as a mosquito ecologist.

Penny Lane has been making award-winning, innovative nonfiction films for over a decade.  This includes six features – most recently Confessions of a Good Samaritan, premiering at SXSW 2023 – and over a dozen short films.  A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, Lane has also received grants and awards from the Sundance Film Festival, Cinereach, Creative Capital, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute, Wexner Center for the Arts and many others. Penny has been honored with mid-career retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, San Francisco DocFest, Open City Documentary Festival and Cinema Moderne. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.

Gabriel Sedgwick hails from the grim and frostbitten kingdom of Sweden but lives in New York City, where he has produced both fiction and documentary films that have screened at festivals including Sundance, Toronto Int’l Film Festival, SXSW, Rotterdam, Full Frame, and New Directors/New Films. His productions include director Penny Lane’s documentaries Hail Satan? (Magnolia Pictures) and Listening to Kenny G (HBO) and Lanre Olabisi’s fiction features August the First and Somewhere in the Middle (Film Movement), as well as executive producing Brian Becker and Marley McDonald’s Time Bomb Y2K (HBO). On the shorts side, he produced the sea-monkey documentary Just Add Water for CNN Films, which garnered massive online popularity with eight million views and counting. He’s a Sundance Creative Producing Labs fellow, Berlinale Talent fellow, two-time Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee, and enthusiastic karaoke participant.

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Individual Session Pass
Individual Session Pass - Financing
$ 35.00
25 available


Jun 29, 2024
11:00 am – 2:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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