Documentary producer and agent Kevin Iwashina shares how to understand documentary funding landscapes, ways to pitch your project, and the importance of positioning yourself as the unique voice for your project.

Key Insights

  • Documentaries are breaking through the marketplace and becoming more popular as a means for people to engage in cultural conversations.
  • Financiers, including high net worth individuals, are increasingly interested in the relevance of nonfiction content because it is mainstream and provides investment opportunities that aren’t as readily available in the fiction marketplace.
  • An agent like Kevin is looking for a “full package” when considering projects. The nonficiton space is very filmmaker-driven which means the quality & artistry of the filmmaker has similar value to the idea of the story itself. This means he is looking not only for a good idea, but also a charismatic filmmaker and surrounded by a creative team who can make the film successful in distribution.
  • Audience & financiers want to easily categorize projects. Simplifying the language you use to describe your project is important in communicating your ideas. For example, try using: “I am making a documentary with fictional elements” instead of “I am making an experimental film”.
  • If you’re a documentary producer, make sure you understand the marketplace. Do your research to understand who is working on and financing projects & which projects are being successful. 

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