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Case Studies: Successful Fundraising Strategies

This panel features filmmakers who have successfully raised money from a variety of funding sources. What was their business strategy and who were their early champions? In this candid discussion, filmmakers recount their experiences raising financing, to include foundation and government grants, international co-production’s, tax credits, private equity income, and crowfunding. Overall, the producers will review how to package projects for optimal benefit.


Mary Dore
is an award-winning documentary producer who brings an activist perspective to her films. Dore grew up in Auburn, Maine and began her career working with a Boston film collective that produced independent historical documentaries, including Children of Labor (1977) which premiered at the New York Film Festival. She has produced television series for Maine Public Broadcasting and 13/WNET in New York. She produced and co-directed the feature documentary The Good Fight: the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War (with Noel Buckner and Sam Sills), which screened at the Toronto, Sundance, and London Film Festivals. She has produced dozens of television documentaries for PBS, New York Times TV, A&E, and the Discovery Channel. Her television work has won Emmys, Cine Golden Eagles, and Cable Ace Awards. Her feature She's Beautiful When She's Angry opened to great reviews, was screened in theaters across the US and Canada, and won several film festival awards. The film is now available on Netflix internationally, Amazon, YouTube, ITunes, Vudu and GooglePlay, and has been translated into 22 languages.

Tracie Holder
is an award-winning filmmaker, fundraising consultant and engagement campaign specialist. Clients include European Documentary Network, Active Voice, DocNomads and the Made in NY Media Center. She leads workshops both in the U.S. and abroad, 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 has raised $2 million for her projects from a mix of government funders, private foundations and individuals. Holder co-produced/directed/wrote Joe Papp in Five Acts, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and screened at more than 40 festivals internationally. She is currently producing Mudflow, a documentary set in Indonesia, directed by Academy Award®-winner Cynthia Wade and Executive Producer Abby Disney.

Michèle Stephenson
As co-founding member of the Rada Film Group, filmmaker, artist and author, Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling deeply personal stories in a variety of media that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime and MTV. Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary and Best News Coverage of a Contemporary Issue. The film also won the Jury Prize at Sundance, and was selected for the New York Film Festivals’ Main Slate Program. Stephenson was recently awarded the Chicken & Egg Pictures Filmmaker Breakthrough Award and is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Her community engagement accomplishments include the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award for a Film with the Greatest Impact on Society and a Revere Award Nomination from the American Publishers Association. Her recent book, Promises Kept, written along with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

Marcia Rock
(Moderator) has produced documentaries since 1984 and received many awards including three local Emmys. Her work covers international dilemmas, women’s issues as well as personal perspectives. She recently completed two films on veterans, Warriors Return about the struggle with post traumatic stress by Navajo veterans and Service: When Women Come Marching Home, about women veterans’ transitioning from active duty to civilian life. From the plight of salt harvesters in Ghana to the changing role of women in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Rock uses her insight and personal style of filmmaking to reveal women in a changing world. She recently started to do mini-doc book trailers for authors. Rock is the director of News and Documentary at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and she co-authored Waiting for Primetime: The Women of Television News with Marlene Sanders.

(Please note: Additional panelists to be announced!)


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts