In the digital age, making a documentary with an impact is deceptively simple. All you theoretically need is a smartphone camera and an Internet connection. But as any filmmaker will tell you, that’s like saying, “Here’s a fire and a fork—go make a gourmet meal for hundreds.”
Not only do docs require serious cash to film, edit, and produce—the bare minimum for soup-to-nuts production is $20,000—but funding is so tight in the film industry in general that even celebrities such as Zach Braff, Don Cheadle, Spike Lee, and Kristen Bell have resorted to crowdfunding to finance their projects.
Few know these challenges better than the team at Sundance Institute. Much more than the force behind the eponymous film festival, the Institute’s Documentary Film Program has helped independent filmmakers create some of the most arresting movies of the past decade, including Why We Fight, The Square, The Queen of Versailles, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and The Invisible War.
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