The Film Festival Alliance is proud to endorse the Documentary Producer Alliance’s (DPA) initiative to provide a more equitable festival experience for film producers.
The letter below from the DPA outlines the importance of producers, their requests, and why they are valuable members of film teams who deserved to be recognized.
It is our hope all FFA member organizations will consider taking these actionable steps toward change to help improve our industry for all filmmakers. Read the full letter below.
“An Open Letter to Film Festival Programmers, Marketing Directors, and Publicists,
We are reaching out to you as the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA) in the hope that we can turn a new page.
Over the past five years, we have contacted many of you personally, to ask that you include documentary producers, for both features and shorts, in your festival announcements, press releases, and catalogs. While we are immensely grateful to all those who have responded to our requests—DOC NYC, Sundance, Tribeca, and others—we want more film festivals to include producers in their listings and in the full film festival experience.
Producers are the unsung linchpins holding documentary projects and the field together. This normalized absence of recognition for the role we play has wrought genuine harm to our careers, our livelihoods, our mental health, and our imaginations. Your collective recognition will go a long way toward supporting our profession and helping us to be seen as the filmmaking collaborators that we are.
Many people do not understand what producers do. Alongside directors—but often independently—producers develop stories; secure access to participants and locations; write proposals and create decks; raise money; hire DP’s, editors and other creatives; conduct interviews and oversee shoots; ensure that our productions are healthy and safe; mitigate legal risk; liaise with funders, advisors, distributors and sales agents; submit to film festivals; launch and manage impact campaigns, and more.
Producers Are Filmmakers Too.
To recognize the “day-to-day” producers who receive the “Produced By” or “Producer” credit at the time of submission, we ask that you:
- Include producers in your festival announcements and programs – in advance of and during the event, in print, social media, on your website, and onstage
- Extend us a badge or pass and include us in our films’ Q&As
- Include us in your travel and accommodation budgets – we love to support our films in-person
- Invite us on panels to speak with audiences about the work we do
- Organize producer gatherings and meet-ups during your festival
- Include producers in the awards announcements for awards like Audience Award and Best of Fest, and consider adding awards and/or recognition specifically for producers.
Producers and festivals are partners in this magical but messy field of documentary film, and we need each other, deeply, to survive. We are your loyal and faithful champions.
We hope that you will commit to standing with us, too.
With kind regards,
To launch the initiative, DPA and FFA are jointly hosting a panel discussion with doc producers and a festival director The Festival Experience: Documentary Producers Are Filmmakers Too on April 14, 2021 at 2pm EST/1pm CST/11am PST (archived recording will be available).
Register here: https://bit.ly/3u9ZkdI
Joining the discussion are:
Thom Powers, Festival Director, DOC NYC
Sabrina Gordon, DPA, producer, Quest
Chris Renteria, DPA, producer, Whose Streets?
Rebecca Stern, DPA, producer, Tre Maison Dasan
Barbara Twist, moderator, Associate Director, FFA