SXSW Film 2015

Financing for the First-time Indie Filmmaker

Odds are you’ve donated a few bucks to a Kickstarter campaign. Perhaps you've also attended a fellow filmmaker’s fundraising fiesta. Collecting checks might not look hard from the sidelines, but when it comes to financing your own independent film, the undertaking can feel like an endeavor of Everest proportions. In a cold sweat, you may be asking yourself: “Where does a first-time filmmaker even begin this financing adventure? How do I find and secure funding sources that are aligned with the mission of my project? And how do I not screw all this up?”

Before you max out your credit cards or dip into that 401K, know that despite what you may fear, it is possible to secure funding for your project. Attending this hour-long discussion won’t solve the riddle of these burning questions, but it will provide some well-earned know-how and tips for connecting with the folks who can support you and your cinematic vision.

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  1. Hot diggity dog, I've just written my first masterpiece, and I'm ready to produce this puppy. Where do I even begin in terms of financing? Who should I enlist on my team to help with this daunting endeavor?
  2. Let's explore the veritable smorgasbord of funding sources, such as crowdsourcing, grants, and government incentives. How do I identify and select sources that fit my project's scope? Are there differences in the way in which these sources should be approached? Realistically, how much can I expect to receive from these sources on my first try? I'm new to fundraising, and inexperienced at asking for money. What are some resources that can help me hone these skills?
  3. How do I meet investors with missions that are aligned with my vision and project goals? What would make an investor want to take the plunge and jump on board a new filmmaker's project? How do I build their trust?
  4. How do I start generating buzz for my project in the pre-production phase? What are some tips for identifying niches markets, capitalizing on talent's fan-base, and developing provocative social media campaigns?
  5. What are some common mistakes new filmmakers can avoid? Uh oh, it looks like I may have committed one of these no no's. How do I recover from my blunder? Lets leave our audience soaring on a high note with your favorite piece of advice or financing success story.



Melissa Zakri, New York Program & Events Administrator , Screen Actors Guild Foundation

Meta Information:

  • Tags: finance
  • Event: Film
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Funding
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner
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