This section covers editorial control, the input process, as well as the real-life contingencies of documentary filmmaking. Editorial control is one of the most contentious issues in relationships between filmmakers and funders. Who has what kinds of control over what gets in the film and how those decisions are made is the topic of this section.
Both parties have understandably strong interests. Filmmakers work passionately on their films for a long time and often for little pay, and editorial control may be a “deal breaker.” Funders want to invest every dollar to maximum effect, and leaving editorial control to a filmmaker who may or may not share their goals feels like an awfully big risk. There are two extremes when it comes to editorial control—either the funder or the filmmaker has final say over what goes into a film.
This section of the Prenups is for people in between those extremes or who have not yet defined what their collaboration will look like. In addition, this section covers some of the real-life changes that happen in cinema verité documentary, when film subjects’ lives can change unexpectedly. Filmmakers are used to the notion that they follow a story rather than direct it. That prospect might not be so comfortable for a funder who wants a film to go in a particular direction or make a certain point.
It’s these real-life questions that funders and filmmakers should discuss:
Also in this section of the complete Prenups guide:
Photo credit: Members of the Namati team, the Skoll Foundation, and the Sundance Institute at the Stories of Change Lab. © 2016 Sundance Institute | Photo by Brandon Cruz.