Category Archives: Filmmakers Workshop

January 21, 2010 Filmmakers Workshop

Join us for the CID Filmmakers Workshop first meeting of the year!

Preparing a proposal for the upcoming LEF Foundation deadline? Or other Foundations? Preparing a fundraising campaign with an appeal to individuals? Not sure if what you have written is telling the story of your film in a way that will make it stand out and have people running to you with money?

Join your fellow filmmakers in a peer proposal review session. Bring your materials (yes, budgets too) and we’ll break into small groups and do a read and review. Come get some feedback BEFORE you send it to a review panel. We’ll have the ability to screen some trailers and work samples too, if your question is about your sample.

Filmmakers Workshop
January 21, 2010

6:30-7:00- networking
7:00-8:30 – proposal review session
8:30-9pm trailer viewing & networking

IMPORTANT!!!! Please bring several copies of your proposals or materials. Don’t worry, you wil not be leaving them! It will just make it easier within the small groups for sharing.

Filmmakers Workshops are held at the new CID space at 93 Border Street in West Newton.
The workshop is FREE. Please feel free to bring some food or beverage to add to the snack table.

While RSVPs are not required, we do appreciate knowing if you plan to attend so that we can plan refreshments.



Filmmakers Workshop June 3, 2009

Filmmakes Workshop

Adventures in Independent Filmmaking

Join us as we screen Doug Block’s terrific documentary “The Heck With Hollywood”, about the trials and tribulations of getting an independent film marketed and distributed. The film follows three filmmakers for four years as they struggle to finish and find distribution for their films. Afterwards we’ll hold discussion, share stories and trade resources.

Doug Block is the founder and co-host of The D-Word, the online forum for documentary professionals. His most recent film “51 Birch Street”, was named one of the top ten films of 2006 by the New York Times and one of the outstanding documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review. “The Heck With Hollywood” was called “The Definitive work on the plight of the Independent” by Screen International.

Filmmakers Workshop
June 3, 2009

6:30-7:00- networking
7:00-8:10 – screening “The Heck With Hollywood”
8:10-9pm discussion/networking

Filmmakers Workshops are held at the new CID space at 93 Border Street in West Newton.
The workshop is FREE. Please feel free to bring some food or beverage to add to the snack table.

While RSVPs are not required, we do appreciate knowing if you plan to attend so that we can plan refreshments.

Doug Block will be speaking at the MAKING MEDIA NOW conference just two days later on June 5th! This is a great opportunity to see his work before the conference (it will not be shown there). You won’t want to miss this years conference which features such guests as Keynote Speaker Robert Greenwald, Doug Block, and Sandi DuBowski.

LEF Moving Image Fund- a new initiative for New England documentary makers

At the December Filmmakers Workshop, Lyda Kuth and Kathryn Ostermier from the LEF Foundation, made a presentation about the new LEF guidelines. The deadline for a letter of intent is January 30, 2009. Those selected to submit a full application will receive notification on March 1st. Aplications will then be due on March 27th. Final grant announcements will be made in May 2009. For more information about the Moving Image Fund visit their web page. The complete December session is available for viewing on the AIMM BlipTV website. Please note that it is in 10 minute segments- and you will want to make sure you start with Part 1.

A Weekend with Morrie

We are delighted to be welcoming back to Boston independent film fundraising guru and consultant Morrie Warshawski.

Morrie WarshawskiMorrie will be coming to present three workshops on December 6 & 7, 2008 at our new facility at 93 Border Street in West Newton, MA.  Tickets for each workshop are limited and are now on sale.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to brush up your fundraising skills and to jumpstart your career! Descriptions for all three workshops follow–registrations for each workshop are separate.


9:30-10am  Registration          10am-4pm workshop

Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members

Where are you going professionally, and how are you going to get there?  This workshop helps participants develop powerful strategies, tools and approaches supporting long range career planning.  For this workshop, Warshawski draws on his extensive experience consulting on strategic planning to introduce a series of highly participatory exercises designed specifically for individuals.  Participants will work on:
·        Indentifying core values;
·        Defining a personal mission;
·        Examining professional strengths and weaknesses,;
·        Creating a vision for the future;
·        Identifying circles of influence;
·        Identifying significant goals, and strategies to achieve those goals;
·        Marketing with integrity.


Saturday December 6, 2008


Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members
This highly participatory workshop gives a complete deconstruction of the Fundraising Houseparty – a very powerful and flexible way to raise donations from individuals for noncommercial projects media both large and small.  Topics covered include:

What projects are appropriate for houseparties;

  • Finding and preparing the Host;
  • Who to invite;
  • Timeline for and design of invitations;
  • Program sequence for the formal presentation;
  • What type of program clip to show;
  • How to make the “ask” and who should do it;
  • Follow-up activities.

Participants are encouraged to bring in samples of their own houseparty invitations and pledge cards (actual or proposed).  For an audio clip about houseparties from Warshawski’s appearance on Marketplace Radio, just go to his website:



9:30am- 5pm

Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members

Nationally recognized consultant MORRIE WARSHAWSKI returns to Boston to present his popular full-day workshop full of patented street-savvy, in-the-trenches advice on how to gets grants and donations for noncommercial independent film and video projects.  Looking for funding while maintaining a career as a media maker can be a competitive, elusive and overwhelming proposition.  Warshawski provides practical advice based on real experience to get filmmakers focused and effective at getting money for their projects.

The workshop completely demystifies the world of donations and grants by providing an introduction to all the basic principles of successful fundraising including:

  • Ways to approach individuals for donations (houseparties, direct mail, etc.);
  • How to get money from foundations and corporations;
  • Designing your project to make it attractive to funders;
  • Adopting the proper mindset;
  • Laying the groundwork for and conducting research;
  • Creating the perfect written grant proposal.

Warshawski’s class includes exercises, lecture, video clip examples, and an extensive handout packet full of information and references on fundraising.  A must for the beginning, emerging or experienced filmmaker who has any qualms about fundraising.

MORRIE WARSHAWSKI, noted writer and media consultant, is the former Executive Director of Bay Area Video Coalition and The Media Project, Inc.  His clients over the last 30 years include the American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, MacArthur Foundation, WGBH-TV, President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and many others.  Warshawski has served on numerous grant panels, has written over 500 proposals, and is the author of THE FUNDRAISING HOUSEPARTY, and SHAKING THE MONEY TREE: HOW TO GET GRANTS AND DONATIONS FOR FILM AND VIDEO- 2nd Edition.  You can find Warshawski and an audio clip on fundraising houseparties in cyberspace:

“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your AFI workshop.  It really clarified and supported my thinking on grant writing and fundraising in general.  It was nice to sit down for a day and just have all the steps outlined and discussed logically!”
– Rusty E. Frank, Los Angeles

“Your seminar is really amazing and so incredibly full of such useful information.  We funders ought to have a preliminary requirement that applicants attend your workshop before submitting their proposals.”
– Mary Smith, National Endowment for the Arts

“Packed with good info; good speaker; receptive to questions; obviously very experienced.”
– Boston Participant

“Your presentation was just terrific.  I am truly impressed with the wealth of information, articulately and logically presented in just a few hours time.”
– Bill Goetz, Portland, OR

“I took your SHAKING THE MONEY TREE class at AIVF in New York about 3 years ago,  and I’m happy to report that my documentary is not only finished, but aired as part of a Father’s Day Special on Cinemax this year.  I know of at least one other student in that class whose film is now complete and was picked up by HBO.  Your class was very instrumental in getting the first grants and donations.  So thank you !!”
– Cynthia Syrett, NYC

“A note of thanks to Morrie for his Shaking the Money Tree workshops.  After attending one last year, I finally got the guts to approach my first private funder — someone wealthy who had funded a doc I’d worked on previously (one in which I was hired as co-producer in post, well after she’d funded it).”

“Using the chutzpah and the tools I gained in the workshop and from the book, I wrote her a heartfelt letter.  She immediately called, and wrote a check soon thereafter.  With a serious donation now in hand, I felt “legit” and then wrote a different heartfelt letter to 100 friends asking for tax-free donations.  I got a 20% return, with amounts ranging from $25 to $1000+.  A real lifesaver to the project.”
– Danielle Beverly

“Thank you for your excellent workshops in NYC this weekend.  It’s always good, especially for an old hand like me, to be reminded of what it takes and to be inspired anew.   I especially need that now as I’m working independently, on a film, and not for a performing arts organization and need to be prepared to get money from individuals. The Zen tools you worked through with us are tremendous.  Thank you, sincerely.
– Sharon Levy, Dovetail Productions, Inc, New York


Domestic & International Film Financing Tutorial
June 18 & 19 from 6-10 pm BOTH NIGHTS
Location: 93 Border Street, West Newton MA 02465
(The NEW temporary space of the Center for Independent Documentary and the Filmmakers Workshop)

This tutorial will be taught by Sandra Schulberg (, one of the pioneers of international financing for independent movies. Ms. Schulberg has been active in raising money for independent productions and nurturing indie filmmakers for more than 20 years. From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Schulberg worked as Executive Producer for the private German media fund, Hollywood Partners, and structured its financing in a slate of films (including the Oscar-nominated movie QUILLS, starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet), all of which involved multiple international production partners. From 1989 to 1996, she served as a senior executive of “American Playhouse,” the PBS drama series, charged with raising funds from abroad. During the last three years, she served as Senior Vice President of its movie production subsidiary, Playhouse International Pictures. Her production credits include SHADOW MAGIC, UNDISPUTED, THE LAST YELLOW, WAITING FOR THE MOON (Sundance Grand Prize winner), I’LL TAKE YOU THERE, SHIMMER, ROOSTERS, WILDROSE, BELIZAIRE THE CAJUN, NORTHERN LIGHTS, ALAMBRISTA. Additionally, she was involved in the financing and marketing of more than a dozen Playhouse films, including SAFE, I SHOT ANDY WARHOLL, ANGELS & INSECTS, THE MUSIC OF CHANCE, AMATEUR, SIMPLE MEN, etc., and she helped Barbara Kopple to raising finishing funds for her non-fiction feature, MY GENERATION. She has been a key figure in helping to create worldwide markets for independent films as founder and former president of the Independent Feature Project (IFP) and as creator of the IFP Market. In 1980, Ms. Schulberg co-founded the niche film distribution company, First Run Features, which is also still operating today. She was one of the first nominators to the Sundance Institute’s Filmmakers Lab, and served on the Sundance Festival Advisory Committee for 5 years. She also served on the Board of ITVS (Independent Television Service) for 3 years, during which it created a new world affairs satellite channel, Link-TV, in cooperation with Internews. She served as a founding director of the New York Documentary Center and its Docfest film festival. In 1994, Ms. Schulberg received the IFP Spirit Award for her contributions to independent cinema. Her movies have been showcased and have won awards at film festivals throughout the world. She does a limited amount of private consulting to assist both experienced and fledgling producers.
Sandra Schulberg

Session I: Domestic Film Financing

Combining For-Profit and Nonprofit Monies
▪ How a movie qualifies for tax-deductible contributions
▪ Understanding the notion of “mission” under non-profit law
▪ Appropriate use of a fiscal agent
▪ Obtaining a PRI, a Program-Related Investment, from a foundation
▪ Development loans from private individuals
Key Elements of a U.S. Investor Offering
▪ Determining the right financial instrument and when to form it
▪ What your offering plan tells investors
▪ Synopsis
▪ Cast/Crew Bios
▪ Chain of Title
▪ Summary of Talent Agreements (producer/writer/director)
▪ Production Budget & Schedule
▪ Financing Plan
▪ Deal Structure (description of investment units for sale and ROI)
▪ Marketing & Distribution Plan
▪ Risk Factors & Disclaimers
Session II: Foreign Film Financing
International Co-Production
▪ Official “treaty” co-productions
▪ Non-treaty co-financing
▪ Tax-driven funds
▪ Regional economic funds
▪ The key Co-Production Markets
Foreign Sales & Distribution
▪ Principles of pre-sale financing
▪ Selecting and contracting with a foreign sales company
▪ Structuring foreign sales and foreign distribution agreements
▪ The role of collection agencies

Session III: Project-specific guidance from Sandra Schulberg
During the final session, on the second night, Ms. Schulberg provides specific financing guidance for each participant’s current feature project (whether fiction or non-fiction), applying her sense of the domestic and international opportunities and illustrating how they might be combined where appropriate. This aspect of the Tutorial has proved to be extremely useful and popular. It is conducted publicly, so each participant gets customized guidance but also learns from the discussion of the other projects.


Domestic and International Film Financing Tutorial
June 18 and 19 from 6-10pm both nights

Please fill out the form carefully and make sure your phone number and e-mail are correct, it is very important that we be able to contact you.
First Name
Last Name
Company or Organization
City, State
What is your primary role? (Producer, Director, editor etc….)

Are you a member of any of these organizations? (check all that apply) If so, you receive the discounted registration price ($40)
( ) Center for Independent Documentary (CID)
( ) MPC (Massachusetts Production Coalition)
( ) AIMM*
If you checked AIMM, specify which AIMM member:

*AIMM consists of Filmmakers Collaborative, Center for Independent Documentary, Central Productions, The Color of Film Collaborative, the LEF Foundation and WGBH Boston Media Productions. If you are a producer with CID, simply check the CID box above.

Registration fees:

$60 (regular)
$40 (discounted- member of one of the sponsoring organizations)
Please return this form along with your check payable to:
And mail to:
680 South Main Street
Sharon, MA 02067

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Jan 16th 2008 Filmmakers Workshop- The documentary then and now: a salon

We hope you’ll join us on January 16 for a unique discussion and celebration as we celebrate 25 years of the Center for Independent Documentary (CID) with a special gathering. For most of those 25 years, CID has hosted FREE monthly meetings for filmmakers with the goal of building community, providing support and skillbuilding, and sparking creativity.

Though they’ve been called various names over the years (“First Wednesday” screenings, “the independent producer group”, the “CID/AIVFsalon” and now “Filmmakers Workshop”)- they’ve continually provided an antidote to that most pervasive of independent filmmaking occupational hazards- isolation.

Some of you may remember when these meeting were held in members homes or when they were in the CID office in Newton. Each meeting, screening or workshop has featured talk and socializing. On the 16th, we’ll do both as we look back and forward, as we explore the documentary then and now.

Have an artifact or a story to share? Bring it! Ready to talk about the impact of changing technology on the documentary form? What looks fresh, new and innovative to you? What inspires you that you are bringing to your new/next film? What are the forces that are at work changing how you work and how are you adapting? We’ll share our thoughts, musings and practical concerns as we delve into these and other questions salon style.

We hope you’ll join us for this special salon evening.

DATE: January 16, 2008
TIME: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
LOCATION: Bernard Toale Gallery, 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End

PLEASE RSVP!! This is a FREE event, but, we would appreciate an rsvp so that we can plan for food and chairs.

TO RSVP just reply to this email. While RSVP’s are not required for this event, we appreciate you giving us a count of how many to plan for.

As we wind up CID’s 25th Anniversary, we hope that you’ll join us at one of the upcoming screenings of our filmmakers new work:

Judith Helfand and Dan Golds new film: EVERYTHINGS COOL at the MFA as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on January 18th at 8pm

Marty Ostrow and Terry Kay Rockefellers new documentary RENEWAL which will have a run at the MFA in Boston beginning on Thursday February 21st, 2008

and TODAY THE HAWK TAKES ONE CHICK by Jane Gillooly at the ICA on February 9, 2008

As we launch into 2008, we would like to give a special word of thanks to the tireless volunteers who make FILMMAKERS WORKSHOPS possible. PLEASE THANK THEM: Julie Mallozzi, Tracy Heather Strain, Megan Gelstein and Randall MacLowry. We also want to give a special appreciation to Bernie Toale, who not only allows us to enjoy his beautiful gallery each month, but who also carries chairs, sets up tables and offers complete encouragement and support. This program truly could not exist without all of your efforts. Thank you so much.

Filmmakers Workshop, March 21, 2007: Trailers & Sample Reels

Filmmakers Workshop: Trailers & Sample Reels
March 21, 2007 – 6:30 pm
Bernard Toale Gallery
450 Harrison Avenue, Boston’s South End

This workshop is FREE, but you must RSVP to to attend.

One of the most challenging things about making a film today is raising money, particularly for development activities. Most funders want to see work samples before they will support media projects. So, the first part of the challenge for filmmakers becomes funding production for the sample reel even before their stories are clear. The next challenge is to determine what and how to present the material so that funders will respond with a check. There are so many things to consider: How long should it be? Show an entire cut scene or just samples of a variety of materials? Add music? What about graphics? Do they want a trailer or a rough cut?

At this month’s workshop, with the help of moderator Llew Smith (“Forgotten Genius”/Nova) of Vital Pictures, we present three filmmakers who are looking for input to refine their sample reel to raise money and to gain distribution for their documentary projects.

Far Out: Life On and After the Commune – Daniel Keller, Charles Light & Jen Gilbert
Using historical material, footage gathered over decades and frank contemporary interviews, Far Out: Life On and After the Commune will trace the story of several members of two sister communes founded in the summer of 1968, the Montague Farm in Montague , Massachusetts and Total Loss Farm in Guilford, Vermont. Co-Producers/Directors Daniel Keller and Charles Light are the founders of Green Mountain Post (GMP) Films ( They have been making films about social and political issues for over 30 years and were both connected with the Montague Farm. Co-Producer/Director Jen Gilbert is a first-time filmmaker who brings with her experience with several media projects as well as 10 years working in large-scale project management and fundraising.

Animas Perdidas – Monika Navarro
Animas Perdidas (Lost Souls) is the story of a young Latina filmmaker documenting the emotional journey of her uncle, a military vet deported to Mexico, and uncovering the secrets of her family’s past. Against the backdrop of increased attention to the U.S.-Mexican border, Animas Perdidas explores national identity and ties, the lives of immigrants, and what happens after deportees are sent to a homeland they don’t consider home. Producer/Director Monika Navarro is a Filmmaker-in-Residence at WGBH. This is her first documentary film, funded in part by an Emerging Artist’s Grant from the City of Ventura Cultural Council for the Humanities. Monika is a first-generation Mexican-American and was raised in Southern California.

Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project – Tracy Heather Strain, Randy MacLowry
Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) is the author of the groundbreaking Broadway smash A Raisin in the Sun. This multiplatform media project includes the first feature-length biography about the trailblazing artist, activist and intellectual who became an international celebrity at 28 years old, and died just six years later during the run of her second Broadway play. Director/Producer Tracy Heather Strain and Editor/Producer Randy MacLowry are principals in Yellow Jersey Films, Inc. and The Film Posse, LLC.

March 21, 2007 Schedule
6:30 pm – 7:00 pm Refreshments & Networking
7:00 pm -7:15 pm Workshop Updates
7:15 pm – 9:00 pm Filmmaker Screenings & Discussion