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Documentary Business

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Conferences & Markets

NEWF Pan-African Wildlife Congress: Breakout Funding by Nat Geo Society. Webinar with Noel Kok

I caught up with Noel Kok, the co-executive director of NEWF, Africa’s Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers Congress. In our webinar, Noel described how NEWF moved at full speed into training and mentoring filmmakers from all over Africa from its Durban base and brand new facility nearby in KwaZulu Province. National Geographic Society‘s Storytelling Program is NEWF’s …

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On the Road Again in ’24. Takeaways from NATPE and Realscreen Summit

The 2024 Conference season kicked off in earnest in January with back-to-back-to-back events in Miami (NATPE) and New Orleans (Realscreen). Producers, distributors, and content platforms all gathered once again to network and pitch as our industry tries to steady itself coming out of a challenging 2023. Cactus Tree Entertainment President Liz Levenson and True North’s …

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Sundance: How to Improve Your Chance of Acceptance into the Documentary Program

Producers submitted 1,809 feature documentaries for the Sundance program. Thirty-four films were selected, as I reported here. Six of the 34 selections (18%) had received prior Sundance support through labs or grants. That’s comparable to 19% in 2023, and 22% in 2022. Selected documentaries for 2024 in the ‘Prior Funding’ category are: Igualada / Colombia, …

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Netflix 2024: What You Need To Know Now!


Sundance 2024: $887 Million Spent on Docs That Missed Out??

A Sundance Film Festival award lags only behind an Oscar nomination as a measure of success for documentarians. 1.9%! Are those really the odds that a documentary will earn a slot on the Sundance program? $887 million! Did producers spend close to a billion dollars on all those submissions that missed out? Here is my 2024 update …

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WCSFP. Expert Takeaways from Seattle. My Pact Webinar with Ruth Berry, Ed Hersh and Dan Salerno

The World Congress of Science & Factual Producers (WCSFP) just wrapped in Seattle. What was the vibe? What do buyers want?  And not! Are times as tough as many say? Is it the “World Congress” or “First World Congress”? Industry veterans Ruth Berry, Dan Salerno and Ed Hersh were deeply involved in Congress, pitching projects, …

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World Congress: Five Big Takeaways by Dan Salerno

Dan Salerno shared his big Takeaways from the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers (WCSFP) which just wrapped in Seattle. Dan co-produced the famous What’s the Buzz session (covered in our post here). Here are his Takeaways: TOUGH YEAR 2023 was tough everywhere. On panels and in meetings, stories of budget and commissioning cuts were …

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Desktop Doc Netflix course


What’s the Buzz? Ten Categories. 43 Programs. Stand Outs at World Congress 2023

What’s the Buzz? launched World Congress in Seattle last week. The session’s curators were veteran programming exec and senior consultant Dan Salerno; Tom Brisley, Managing Director, Arrow Media; and Nathan Spencer, Development Producer, Arrow Media. Dan, Tom and Nathan sifted through hundreds of deserving shows to capture forty-three factual programs that stood out for their subject, editorial …

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How to Navigate SVOD, AVOD & FAST Options & Rights for Your Documentary. MIPCOM Webinar with Wendy Bernfeld

Wendy Bernfeld is expert in the key issues and opportunities related to SVOD, AVOD and FAST. I moderated her standing-room only presentation at MIPCOM, which we set about covering in this webinar. Wendy has more than 25 years experience in content licensing, rights strategy and management, and she is Canadian based in Amsterdam. Watch the …

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