Documentaries Solve Problems
Almost all documentaries are made because of someone besides the filmmakers stepping in and wanting it to be made. There are lots of reasons, sometimes it’s a foundation or other granting organization, sometimes a media outlet will commission them, sometimes it’s the goodwill of fellow film-crew or family members stepping up. With the proliferation of documentary as both an art form and a broadcast media format, how a movie actually gets finished depends heavily on the subject matter, standing of the filmmaker and what the funder is getting out of the situation. Recently the L.A. Times wrote about an increasing source of documentary funding, brands who are trying to reach folks who tune out advertising by attaching their names to viral stories.
Aside from our work with high tech companies and various other ways we’ve interacted with brands, our feature had some early brand relationships. When “Girls Rock!” was released in theaters, we made a deal with Fender guitar, where they made several special one-off Girls Rock! Stratocasters in exchange for presence at the opening of the film. They were really supportive and un-intrusive, and in the end it was a win win, since our movie was about girls owning their noise, so making them feel like Fender saw them was positive, and the guitars helped us raise the profile of the movie. Obviously, our film release wasn’t the sole factor here, but Fender’s early presence in this world obviously paid off, with %50 of new guitar purchasers being women!