59 – Film Funding & Distribution with 'Big Sonia' Filmmakers

Funding & Distribution

Film marketing & promotions, crowdfunding, and theatrical distribution are topics that, at some point in time, all independent doc filmmakers will need to know about.  So if you’re looking to start arming yourself with some knowledge that’s going to potentially culminate in a successful release and maybe even in theatrical distribution then this is the show for you.

Two filmmakers who know this journey as well as anyone and are currently having spectacular success with their independent documentary film is Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday. Their current film, Big Sonia, has not only won over twelve film festival awards, played theatrically in a number of cities, but just this past week set a new record for the all-time highest grossing film to ever play the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Kansas City.


Podcast Conversation

  • crowdfunding strategies outside of the Kickstarter & Indiegogo platforms
  • how to run a successful promotions campaign for your theatrical screenings
  • how a company like Film Sprout can propel your film to outreach and screenings
  • how to film particularly sensitive scenes


In Addition

5 Tips for Crowdfunding Your Doc, as discussed in this podcast episode:

  1. Clear Your Calendars
  2. Become Friends with Facebook (Social Media, in general)
  3. Email people consistently, but not constantly
  4. Use an intro video
  5. Have fun


Related Resources


Watch the trailer:





Film Sprout


A boutique distribution firm that helps social-issue filmmakers create
robust community and campus screening initiatives for their documentaries. This was a service that Leah & Todd used for their doc, Big Sonia. They spoke glowingly of the work that Film Sprout did in getting Sonia out into the world!


Women You Should Fund


A rewards-based crowdfunding platform that Todd & Leah were very happy with while working together during their crowdfund campaign.  They may be a nice fit for your own campaign!



Top Resources



Learn how to plan, fund and share your documentary film




#DocLand The Documentary Life‘s very own flagship filmmaking community which offers you step-by-step tutorials, industry expert webinars, private Facebook group, industry-standard templates and extensive resources, to assist you in the planning, funding and sharing of your documentary film.

Visit #Docland to learn more.



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Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

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