Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Feb 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Documentary Fundraising: The Art of Asking

[su_spoiler title=”REGISTER” class=”my-custom-spoiler”]

Oops! We could not locate your form.


Draw a successful financial plan for your film!

A workshop dedicated to documentary fundraising

Raising money for an independent documentary film is a daunting task and a long process. What resources are available to you, and how do you create a road map to secure the financing you need? What are the building blocks for a successful project proposal, and how do you make your film stand out from the thousands of other documentaries seeking support every year?  

Writing a fundraising proposal before your film is made is certainly a challenge, as you never know where the story is going to end up until you start shooting and editing. This weekend workshop is geared to supporting documentary filmmakers with projects in all stages of production, including development, production and post-production. The workshop is exercise-heavy and takes a “learning through doing” approach. We will spend two days reviewing the basic pillars of documentary fundraising, including grant writing, crowdfunding and individual donations/investments. You will learn to assess, clarify and articulate the building blocks of your proposal, including understanding your audience, demonstrating access to your characters, crafting a realistic budget, articulating the themes and visual approach of your film, discussing and critiquing what makes compelling sample work/footage and learning how to craft a crowdfunding and social media campaign.

The goals of the workshops are two-fold: to create a robust understanding of the fundraising landscape for independent documentaries as well as prepare you to assemble the best possible proposal as you approach potential funders. Participants will hear from three successful filmmakers & producers who will speak from experience, and students will be encouraged to put this new knowledge into practice. Producer and Programmer Adella Ladjevardi will lead the workshop. Guest speakers include Lana Wilson, Tracie Holder and Anna Rose Holmer.


When: Saturday Feb 20th to Sunday Feb 21st, 10am-5pm
Where: UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Who is eligible?
Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, producers, grant writers.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in filmmaking practice and a project idea (if you have one), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Focus is on discussion. The goal is to develop a fundraising plan for your project and create a project template that can be tailored to secure financing.


 Please note that the service charge is waived if payment is made via check.

Checks can be made out to UnionDocs and mailed to 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

Participants coming from outside NYC are responsible for their own transportation and room and board during the intensive. UnionDocs can provide assistance in locating housing and guidance for getting around town for those not native to New York.

Refund Policy:
The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until January 29th. After January 29th, the fee is non-refundable.

Technology Requirements:
In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

 This workshop is two full days; please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule.



10:00am – 10:30am: overview of workshop + short introductions by students

10:30am – 12:30pm: presentation by Lana Wilson (Focus: Individual Donations + Crowdfunding) + student discussion

12:30pm – 1:00pm: writing exercise for students

1:00pm2:00pm: lunch (on your own)

2:00pm – 4:00pm presentation by Anna Rose Holmer (Focus: Grantwriting + fundraising trailers) + student discussion

4:00pm – 4:30pm: writing exercise for students

4:30pm – 5:00pm: case study


Day 2 – SUNDAY

10:00am – 10:30am: Overview of workshop

10:30am – 12:30pm: presentation by Tracie Holder (Focus: road map for grants +budget) + student discussion

12:30pm – 1:00pm: writing exercise for students

1:00pm2:00pm: lunch (on your own)

2:00pm – 4:00pm: presentation by Adella Ladjevardi (Focus: Financial plan & Grant Evaluations) + student discussion

4:00pm – 4:30pm: writing exercise for students

4:30pm – 5:00pm: case study


Adella Ladjevardi_UnionDocsAdella Ladjevardi is an independent producer and film industry professional with over 13 years of experience working in all aspects of the industry. She is currently producing a short documentary called Just a Dog by Andrea B. Scott and a feature documentary called U.G. by Matthew Dougherty. She is the co-producer of the fiction feature Icaros: a vision by Leonor Caraballo & Matteo Norzi, which was selected for the 2015 IFP Narrative Labs and is currently in post-prod. Previously, Adella was head of the Cinereach Grants Program (2009-2014), supporting the development, production, and distribution of dozens of award-winning films and, more recently, consulted as a screener and programmer at the Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festivals. She has served as a reviewer on documentary funding panels including the PBS series P.O.V, ITVS Open Call, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Catapult Film Fund, and IDFA Forum and has also served on the juries of the DocNYC and SilverDocs (now AFI Docs) Film Festivals. She began her career working for documentary distributor Icarus Films, before moving on to work at Zohe films for filmmaker Jennifer Fox, where she was the Assoc Producer of Fox’s documentary feature My Reincarnation (Broadcast on POV 2012 & nominated for an Emmy 2013) as well as Fox’s documentary mini-series Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (Broadcast on Sundance Channel and BBC Storyville 2008). Adella was also the Assoc Producer of Anne Aghion’s documentary feature My Neighbor, My Killer (Premiered at Cannes 2009 & nominated for a Gotham Award 2009). She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.


Lana Wilson_HeadshotEmmy-Award winning filmmaker Lana Wilson is a New York-based writer, director, and producer. Her feature documentary After Tiller went inside the lives of the four most-targeted abortion providers in the country, and was critically acclaimed for providing a moving and complex look at one of the most incendiary issues of our time. After Tiller premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, and went on to be picked up for distribution by Oscilloscope Laboratories, which released the film theatrically in 50 US cities. After Tiller was nationally broadcast on the PBS documentary series POV, and recently won the 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Award for Best Documentary.

After Tiller was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, four Cinema Eye Honors, a Satellite Award, and the Ridenhour Prize. It was named one of the five best documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review, and featured in “Best of 2013” lists in the LA Times, Village Voice, Indiewire, Artforum, and more. Flavorwire recently named it one of the “50 Best Documentaries of All Time.” It has played at over 100 festivals around the world, where it won awards including the Human Rights Award at the Full Frame Documentary Festival and the Grand Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Wilson’s new film, Last Call, currently in post-production, tells the story of a remarkable Zen priest doing suicide prevention work in Japan. It is being executive produced by Lilly Hartley (The Queen of Versailles) and Mike Lerner (The Square), shot by Emily Topper (After Tiller), and edited by David Teague (Cutie and the Boxer). Wilson is also writing an episode of the forthcoming National Geographic miniseries Story of Vice, directed by Matt Wolf. Wilson was previously the Film and Dance Curator at Performa, the New York biennial of new visual art performance. She holds a BA in Film Studies and Dance from Wesleyan University, where she graduated with honors.


Trailer for After Tiller:

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vbqXzxnqzU” width=”820″]



AnnaRoseHolmer-620x348 (1)Anna Rose Holmer was listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015.” Her narrative directorial debut, The Fits (Venice International Film Festival 2015, Sundance Film Festival 2016), is a selection of the Venice Biennale College 2014/2015 and the Sundance Institute Editing Intensive Fellowship. She recently produced Jody Lee Lipes Ballet 422 (Tribeca Film Festival 2014, Magnolia Pictures) and Mike Plunkett’s Salero (IDFA 2015). Produced in conjunction with Cinereach Productions, Salero was supported by grants from the MacArthur Foundation, the Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, NYSCA, Paley Center for New Media, and Snag Films. With filmmaker Matt Wolf, Anna co-directed and produced A Ballet in Sneakers: Jerome Robbins and Opus Jazz, a companion documentary to NY Export: Opus Jazz, (SXSW 2010 Emerging Visions Audience Award) which aired on the PBS Great Performances/Dance in America Series. Anna’s first documentary feature, Twelve Ways to Sunday, was one of ten films to participate in IFP’s 2009 Documentary Filmmaker Lab and premiered with Rooftop Films in 2010.

Ballet 422 poster courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Ballet 422 poster courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Salero Poster courtesy of Cinereach
Salero Poster courtesy of Cinereach
















[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/134321235″][/su_vimeo]



Tracie_Head ShotTracie Holder is a filmmaker turned fundraising consultant, producer and engagement campaign specialist. She is widely regarded as a “go-to” person and all-round resource for filmmakers seeking U.S. funding having raised $2 million for her own projects from a mix of government funders, private foundations and individuals.  Clients include Women Make Movies, Active Voice, European Documentary Network, DocNomads and the Made in NY Media Center. Holder leads workshops in the U.S. and abroad, tutors and serves on juries at international pitching and training sessions. She consults on numerous documentary projects and runs engagement campaigns using social issue films to help shape public opinion and influence public policy. Holder is a former board member of NY Women in Film & Television and Manhattan Neighborhood Network and grant panelist for national and local funders.  She is the co-producer/director/writer of Joe Papp in Five Acts, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and screened at more than 40 festivals internationally. The film will broadcast nationally on PBS/American Masters in 2016. Holder is currently producing Mudflow, a feature documentary set in Indonesia, directed by Academy Award-winner Cynthia Wade and Executive Producer, Abigail Disney.


Workshop Policies:

Registration & Cancellation To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via PayPal. After the registration deadline of January 29, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be cancelled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.


Feb 16, 2017
7:08 pm

Support UnionDocs’ next phase and new building by becoming a member

Peek in the window of our bustling building in NYC and tune into the ideas and energy bubbling up from the UNDO Center.

Tune into cutting-edge, powerful and poetic documentary programs and connect to conversations with the artists and thinkers passing through.

Now available at the Apple Store.



Unlimited access to all of our monthly offerings for the price of two espressos.



Keep it simple and save. Unlimited access to our sweet offerings for a reduced, annual fee and receive some added benefits.



In the neighborhood, a working artist, student or senior? This membership is for you. Fill out a quick form for a discount code to an annual membership.



Get all of the benefits of the Annual UNDO Membership plus an annual subscription to UnionDocs Editions, a set of publications, merchandise or special objects.

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

New limited editions out now!
Featuring the work of the UNDO Fellows.

FORMS OF ERRANTRY delves into the mesmerizing and haunting films of Miryam Charles and is edited by Lakshmi Padmanabhan. GEOLOGIC LISTENING centers the monumental and expansive work of filmmaker Deborah Stratman and is edited by Sukhdev Sandhu.

Pod Pod 2023 Group 02

Pod Pod is now accepting applications.
Apply today!

Calling all AUDIO MAKERS looking for a bit of motivation, peer support, collective production and a dose of inspiration for your personal project —  join us for 3 months this Fall!