2024 Getting Real

We Don't Need to Reinvent the Wheel: Connecting to Audiences

Expired May 16, 2024 12:15 AM
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When thinking about getting our films seen, many filmmakers are focused on getting into a big film festival to land a big broadcast or streaming deal because we believe that is what will connect our films with audiences. Most times, this belief doesn't lead to a genuine connection with the public. Furthermore, for the majority of films that are not offered those deals, filmmakers can feel discouraged by what we imagine to be Do-It-Yourself solutions that involve lots of labor on the ground, little real support, and limited audience attention spans. Yet filmmakers and allies have been building audiences for our films since long before the streaming bonanza. Now more than ever, there are resources to connect audiences to our films, and models that emphasize cooperation instead of competition. In this panel, we will hear from on-the-ground examples of entities building a public for documentaries and finding innovative ways to get audiences invested in our films. 

Moderator: Winnie Wang (Hot Docs)

Panelists: Pulkit Datta (Tikkun Olam Productions), Lucas Rosant (Marrakech's Atlas Station), Elizabeth Woodward (WILLA), Paula Ossandón (Miradoc)

Biographies (submitted by the speakers):

Winnie Wang is a writer, and an industry programmer at Hot Docs, where they work on year-round funds, market delegations, and conference programming at the annual festival. Their work can be found in Cinema Scope, Documentary Magazine and Little White Lies.

Pulkit Datta is a producer, director, and film programmer, based in New York. Over fifteen years, he has worked on a wide range of scripted films, documentaries, commercials, short films, music videos and multimedia campaigns. His films have screened at festivals such as Toronto, Tribeca, Atlanta, Cinequest, Fantasia, LAAPFF, Cleveland, and OutFest. As a producer with Tikkun Olam Productions, he has co-produced the feature documentary ISRAELISM (Big Sky, CPH:Dox, Brooklyn Film Festival), and is currently producing climate activism doc series VS. GOLIATH. Pulkit is also a producer on INVISIBLE, a feature documentary about fibromyalgia (Amazon Prime, Tubi), the gun-violence themed short documentary DO WE BELONG? (The Atlantic, 2018 IDA Doc Award shortlist), and has produced the upcoming fiction feature JERSEY BOY. Pulkit has been a Producing Fellow at Center for Asian American Media as well as Impact Partners. He is also active in the filmmaking community, having established initiatives that nurture South Asian talent for careers in American film and television, as well as programming and curating for film festivals.

Lucas Rosant has been for many years or is still consulting and collaborating for different co-production forums and festival markets such as Crossroads - Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece), Dubai Film Connection - Dubai International Film Festival (UAE), Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland), Producers Network – Cannes Film Market (France), Tangier Film Festival (Morocco), Produire au Sud - 3 Continents Film Festival (Nantes, France), HAF (Hong Kong Film Financing Forum), Durban Filmart (South-Africa), Berlinale Co-production Market (Germany), the Cinemart (Rotterdam Film Festival), Marrakech International Film Festival (Morocco), and Venice Film Market. As a producer, he co-produced The Dream of Shahrazad (François Verster, South Africa, 2014, Best South African Documentary – Durban IFF 2015) and Remote Control (Byamba Sakhya, Mongolia, 2013, associate producer).

Elizabeth Woodward is a producer of documentary and narrative films, and founder of WILLA. She was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30, DOC NYC 40 Under 40, Berlinale Talents, and is an Impact Partners Producers Fellow and a Sundance Catalyst Fellow. Her recent films include ANOTHER BODY (SXSW Special Jury Award, Sundance Catalyst), YOU RESEMBLE ME (Venice Film Festival, executive produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Alma Har’el, Riz Ahmed) and ON THE DIVIDE (Tribeca Film Festival, POV on PBS). Other notable projects include Netflix’s THE GREAT HACK (Academy Award shortlist, Emmy nominee, BAFTA nominee, Sundance Film Festival), HBO’s hit series THE VOW: A NXIVM STORY (New York Times Best TV Shows of 2020). Her films have been supported by Sundance Institute, Impact Partners, Chicken and Egg, Film Independent, Field of Vision, The Gotham, New York Foundation for the Arts, the International Documentary Association, among others. 

Paula Ossandón is the Director of Chiledoc, which promotes Chilean talents and their films and series worldwide. She is also director and founder of Miradoc, distribution program for Chilean documentaries with 12 years of experience. Specialist in the documentary area, research, teaching, development of diffusion and marketing strategies, besides of impact campaigns with actions aimed at engaging audiences. She has led Chilean delegations to different foreign markets, organized industry meetings such Conecta, Meeting of the International Documentary Film Industry. She has experience as an editor in both print and digital media, and headed communication departments in both public and private entities. Since 2012, she is part of the Chilean Corporation for documentaries, which main lines of action are promotion, networking, training, diffusion, research and create ties and associative initiatives between members of the Chilean documentary community.