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Making Movies with Meaning: Your Call to Action

Making movies with meaning is not a pie in the sky idea. It's tangible, and there are practical steps that our team has tested in ten years of filmmaking. Through a case study into our latest documentary, Rising from Ashes, filmmakers T.C. Johnstone and Greg Kwedar will share in depth insight into making films through a non-profit model. We will investigate with the audience how to create a sustainable ecosystem around your film with partnerships in funding, production, distribution, and community engagement. Beyond the nuts and bolts and the step by step, the discussion will evolve into storytelling's significant place in the resolution of the world's greatest challenges. This is a rallying cry to build an army around stories that will motivate, inspire, and impact society.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How do you design a story that asks the right questions to catalyze audiences? The film itself won't change the world, people will.
  2. Fundraising: The difference between a donor, investor, and friend. How do you create a healthy financial model for your movie?
  3. How do you turn $1 into $10 of value? When someone donates to a film, they want to see the impact of their donation multiplied. This topic will investigate when to be lean and when to pay a premium, how to value your team and yourself, how to spend for theaters or backyards, and the power of your message to encourage generosity.
  4. What are your documentary's four areas of influence? Here we'll examine the four spheres of influence in your documentary's ecosystem... why they're important, and how to partner with them. Policymakers write laws, Celebrities influence culture, NGO's create opportunities for action, and Brands have resources. All are vital to your movie.
  5. The business of doing good. How do you balance your goals of money and meaning? You can find fulfillment at the intersection of commerce, art, and meaning, but it isn't easy.



Greg Kwedar, Producer, Gratis 7 Media Group

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