State of the Field: A Report From the Documentary Sustainability Summit

State of the Field: A Report From the Documentary Sustainability Summit

The sustainability of the documentary film field depends on robust cross-sector connectivity, peer networks, and public-sector engagement, a report from the National Endowment for the Arts and the International Documentary Association finds. The report, State of the Field: A Report From the Documentary Sustainability Summit (44 pages, PDF),  highlights key findings and recommendations from a February 2017 summit funded by the Ford Foundation and Fork Films that brought filmmakers, producers, distributors, film festival representatives, funders, and other stakeholders in the documentary film community together with government leaders. According to the report, partnerships between the tech industry and digital storytellers is becoming central to the future of the field, while the strengthening of collaborative infrastructure and strategic networks within the field would make it easier for organizations and filmmakers to pool resources, share knowledge, and align programming. The report also suggests that the documentary community could do a better job of accessing the expertise, technical assistance, and resources offered by federal and state arts agencies, and calls for further research to advance understanding of the documentary film ecosystem and the inclusion of documentary filmmakers in decision-making processes related to community development and arts policy.