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DocShop is BSDFF's five-day crash course on documentary filmmaking. Come with ideas and questions, leave armed with knowledge on all aspects of the filmmaking process, from crowdfunding or grant writing for a new project, to editing, scoring and adventure filmmaking!

The special focus of 2015's DocShop is distribution. A variety of panels featuring industry veterans will help filmmakers choose a VOD service, discover the perils and rewards of independent publishing, and talk to panelists in one-on-one discussions for specific advice on the distribution process.

DocShop culminates with the 2015 Big Sky Pitch, an opportunity for filmmakers to present their work-in-progress clips and sizzle reels to a panel of industry giants for feedback and advice. The following is the schedule for the 2015 DOCSHOP:


FEBRUARY 9th – 13th 2015

All Events free to All UM Students & Pass-holders, for others  $10 entrance fee for non pass holders

Monday, February 9th

10am – 11:30 am BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED–ONE FILM’S APPROACH TO INDIE DISTRIBUTION: Workshop With an ever-changing ecosystem surrounding documentary distribution, how can we create the best long-term strategy for our very diverse films? While we’d all love to sign an international broadcast deal or find the ideal distributor or sales agent right away, many of us end up, at least in part, distributing directly—and creatively—to markets we’ve cultivated ourselves. Join Sue Arbuthnot and Richard Wilhelm as they discuss the benefits and pitfalls of “DIY” distribution, how to build new skills and resilience, and how this approach can ultimately enrich our experience as filmmakers?  With: Sue Arbuthnot and Richard Wilhelm; Location: UC Theater

12pm-2pm CANON WORKSHOP: CAPTURING AND DISPLAYING THE BEST POSSIBLE IMAGE. In this workshop we will discuss the technical differences between the many different media file types from the Canon EOS DSLR system and the Canon Cinema lineup, as well as what are the recommended outputs for your final product. Topics we will be covering will include comparing footage from DSLR and Cinema Camera, compression qualities, data size, and converting footage for final output.  In Partnership with Rocky Mountain School of Photography. With: Genaro Arroyo; Location: Holiday Inn– Glacier Room

3:30pm-5pm DISTRIBUTING YOUR OWN FILM: Workshop Learn from filmmaking veteran, Hunter Weeks, on how to succeed in independent distribution.  With: Hunter Weeks and Tracy Rector; Location: Holiday Inn– Glacier Room

Tuesday, February 10th

11–12:30pm A DOCSHACKATHON: THE NEW REALITIES OF DOCUMENTARY DISTRIBUTION AND LEGAL ESSENTIALS YOU NEED TO SELL WITHOUT BEING SOLD OUT:We all know it — the distribution reality for documentary films, traditional — transmedia — interactive — has transformed beyond belief in the past twenty-four months.  The theoretical pitfalls, pros and cons are everywhere apparent and nowhere easily explained— but we will bring them to you in practical terms: what you need to know and when you need to know it.  Actual examples of deals will be distributed and clips of shorts and excerpts of the traditional and non-traditional so you take away the big picture — and not just a few thousand words, but the knowledge you need from the panel of experts. Location: UC Theater


Making a film is a strange puzzle that is very hard to get right.  As filmmakers struggle to get their movies made and distributed, sometimes it's just one piece of that puzzle that unlocks a film's true potential.  We will look at the bizarre case of Roman Polanski's 1974 classic Chinatown, where Philip Lambro's original score was thrown out by Paramount at the last minute to save the movie and replaced with Jerry Goldsmith's iconic masterpiece.  We will "unpack" the powerful role of music in film by comparing and contrasting these two scores, looking at the different dramatic and compositional approaches of the composers, with lots of behind-the-scenes stories about the making of an American classic. With: BC Campbell; Location: UC Theater

3:30–5pm SECRETS FOR NEGOTIATING DISTRIBUTION DEALS- Keynote Address An off-the-record keynote by distribution guru Peter Broderick revealing the techniques for making the best possible deals and maximizing your revenues. Peter will highlight the mistakes you must avoid and the most effective negotiating strategies. With: Peter Broderick; Location: UC Theater

Wednesday, February 11th

10am–11am INTERNATIONAL AND ONLINE DISTRIBUTION- Panel Discover what differentiates online, local and international distribution, and which decision is best for your film. With: Tim Horsburgh of Kartemquin Films, Mia Desroches of NFB Canada, Julie Campfield of Roco Films; Location: UC Theater

11:30–12:30 GRANTS THAT WORK- Workshop Learn about the new and upcoming ways to fund your film with Alexandra Hannibal from the Tribeca Film Institute. With: Alexandra Hannibal; Location: Holiday Inn- Glacier room

1pm–2pm  VOD AND REAL COSTS- Panel With: Brian Newman of Sub-Genre and Mia Desroches of National Film Board of Canada; Location: Holiday Inn Glacier Room

2:10pm -4:10pm SEE YOUR DISTRIBUTION FUTURE: AN INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP Peter will give a nuts-and-bolts analysis of several key distribution breakthroughs. He will then improvise marketing and distribution strategies for filmmakers in the audience. Come prepared to pitch your project, describe your core audiences and leave conventional wisdom at the door. With: Peter Broderick; Location: UC Theater

Thursday, February 12th

9am - 5pm BIG SKY PITCH SESSION With: Alexandra Hannibal of Tribeca Doc Fund, Noland Walker of ITVS, Niki Heyman of POV Confirmed Location: UC Theater

Friday, February 13th

10am–11am SHORT FILM DISTRIBUTION- Panel With: Paige Williams(The Audience Awards) and Brian Newman (Sub-Genre) Moderator: Deny Staggs; Location: Holiday Inn– Glacier Room

12pm–2pm AARON WICKENDEN’S EDITING WORKSHOP How does an Editor help navigate the murky waters between concept and realization of a project? In this workshop, accomplished Editor Aaron Wickenden shares early work-in-progress excerpts from completed films and talks about the evolution of his edits over time. Wickenden is known for his playful approach to editing and irreverent use archival footage in films such as Finding Vivian Maier (2015 Oscar Nominee), Best of Enemies (Sundance 2015), and Almost There (BIG SKY 2015). A large portion of the workshop will be devoted to your questions so come caffeinated and curious.   With: Aaron Wickendon; Location: Holiday Inn– Glacier Room

2pm– 4pm CROWDFUNDING TO BUILD INDEPENDENCE- Workshop Emily Best, of Seed&Spark will present, the only proven path to independence as an artist is a direct connection to your audience. Crowdfunding is becoming a fundamental piece of most financing plans for independent film.  However, many filmmakers miss the opportunity to turn their film funding campaigns into audience-building opportunities that can last an entire career — and provide the groundwork for theatrical distribution that you control. Seed&Spark and Tugg are combining forces to invest in the future of independent film by offering a comprehensive Crowdfunding to Build Independence seminar.  This class for film-related projects will provide the crowdfunding action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience. With: Emily Best; Location: Holiday Inn- Madison Room

4pm–6pm VOD AND MAXIMIZING REVENUE- Workshop As we all know, today's film gets viewed not just in festivals and theaters, but on any of multiple VOD platforms, from cable to iTunes to Netflix to VHX. How do filmmakers get their films on these platforms? What kind of revenue is being made? How can you best position your film to maximize revenue, and what are the new models? Brian Newman runs Sub-Genre, a consulting company that works with both filmmakers and companies on building new digital business models. He's also been an acquisitions consultant for DirecTV, and negotiates VOD deals for many films each year. He'll teach you the in's and out's of VOD and how to build your audience and maximize revenue. With: Brian Newman; Location: UC Theater