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Practical Advice for Women Filmmakers, From the Sundance Institute

Photo of Caryn James By Caryn James | James on Screens May 28, 2014 at 12:46PM

What are investors looking for? How can women filmmakers learn to negotiate better? Takeaways from the Sundance/ WIF "Financing Intensive."
Sundance Financing Intensive
Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman/ Wireimage

I'd been assuming that women didn't have more trouble asking for money than men anymore, but that turned out to be either wishful thinking or delusional. A high-profile 2012 study commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles found that financing -- money, how to get it and what to do with it -- was the obstacle most frequently mentioned by independent women filmmakers.

 Studies can be disheartening unless they lead to solutions, and solving the problems the study exposed is just what Sundance and WIF set out to do. In April the two groups held a "Financing Intensive For Independent Women Filmmakers," which brought together mid-career directors and producers with successful women in the industry, for a day of honest, detailed advice. What are investors looking for? How can women learn to negotiate better? How do you maintain a long career?

The filmmakers were invited to participate, but the information was there to be shared. The Sundance Institute asked me to observe and write about it for the website, distilling the five top takeaways from the day. You can read my story, with practical tips from the event, here. The experience was energizing, informative and -- a word I don't throw around casually -- inspirational. 

This article is related to: Sundance Institute , Sundance Women Filmmakers Initiative, independent film financing for women, Women in Film Los Angeles, Financing Intensive for Women Filmmakers

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