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Hello friends,

These Men Without Hats

Here at Doc Society we are immensely proud to serve and support some pretty fearless filmmakers. Their working day is as likely to entail filming on the edge of an iceberg, rolling deep with vigilantes along the Mexico border or following a maverick activist town to town with the national secret police in hot pursuit. Often without the backing of a newspaper, broadcaster or studio, it’s the filmmakers out there on a wing and a prayer, talking truth to power who need more robust support and protection.

In response to this field-wide need (first laid out in CSMI’s Dangerous Docs report) funders and filmmakers have come together to develop tools to help mitigate risks, be they digital, legal, journalistic, or related to safety and health.

Safe+Secure is a joint project of a really wide collection of independent documentary funders including A&E, Bertha Foundation, Catapult Fund, Chicken & Egg, Chicago Media Project, Compton Foundation, Field of Vision, Filmmaker Fund, First Look, Fledgling Fund, Ford Foundation, Hartley Film Fund, HBO, IDA, Impact Partners, ITVS, MacArthur Foundation, Media Impact Funders, Perspective Fund, POV, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute and Wyncote Foundation.

We are excited to announce that today at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in Washington DC, where the first Safe+Secure filmmakers workshop is being held, we are launching the Safe+Secure Common Protocol and Filmmakers Handbook, both newly available on the Safe+Secure website.

These are tools which draw on the wisdom, advice and existing work of dozens of professionals including Judith Matloff at Columbia School of Journalism, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Rory Peck, Patricia Aufderheide and many more. We also relied on the field experience of filmmakers Marilyn Ness, Kirsten Johnson, Callum Macrae, Havana Marking, Liz Mermin, Orlando Von Einsiedel, Matt Heinemann, Brenda Coughlin, Lyric Cabral, Hollie Fifer, Sabaah Folayan and Nanfu Wang.

You already got yourself into a high risk venture with this doc business. At the very least, use protection! Safe+Secure has got you covered.” Marilyn Ness, Big Mouth Productions, Producer of E-Team, 1971, Trapped & Cameraperson.

“Do you want to stick it to the man? Safe+Secure brings us the tools and tradecraft we need to do it right." Brenda Coughlin, Producer of Dirty Wars

At a time when courageous filmmaking has never been more important, Safe+Secure resources, tools and training are essential and welcome support to the field” Patricia Aufderheide, CSMI.

This work will never be final but will keep improving with the insights and feedback from filmmakers so please be in touch if you’d like to share your field experiences and insights and help us to help you, help everyone. We’d LOVE to hear from you!

Stay serene as you read our mailout by listening to our SAFE+SECURE playlist featuring

Relax / Don't Do It /// Better Bitter
Hold It Down /// Moodymann
Risk to Exist /// Maximo Park
I'll Wait and Pray /// John Coltrane
Gimme Shelter /// Rolling Stones
Intrepid Explorer /// Motorpsycho
Protection /// Kelis


team Doc Society


The Doc Society team headed south to North Carolina this week for a bit of Southern hospitality and a whole lot of local love. Hosted by the Durham-based Southern Documentary Fund and our old friends at Working Films, the day-long project pitching and partnership forum featured 18 pitches, four case studies, and more than 150 organisers and media makers sharing their stories, forging new alliances and strengthening community ties.

From Moral Mondays to the battle for transgender rights, North Carolina is at the nexus of action on issues ranging from gerrymandering to addressing systemic inequality: media projects and presenters addressed all of these issues.

Local flavour came from projects such as A Curious Ragoo, a series on the real roots of Southern cooking; Tea Time with Alex a chat-show focused on LGBTQ issues, and So Good Pupas a social business featuring Salvadoran fare that in turn supports a scholarships scheme.

We’re excited to welcome Propel Capital to the family of Good Pitch funders. Our thanks also to the Perspective Fund inaugurating a micro-grant program, more than ,000 was committed on the spot to projects that now have community support and financial resources to get started. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

We’re heading to six more states in the coming months - next up is Texas!

So if you are a filmmaker or organiser working in the lone star state and want to get involved in Good Pitch Local please get in touch with

Good Pitch is presented in partnership with Ford Foundation and Sundance Institute. Good Pitch Supporters: CrossCurrents Foundation, Fledgling Fund, Hartley Film Foundation, Impact Partners, Perspective Fund, Propel Capital and Wyncote Foundation


As well as taking us deeper into local communities, Good Pitch Local is also a testing ground for taking us deeper into campaign work around individual films. These films can unite communities on opposing sides of the political spectrum and trigger difficult conversations around urgent local issues. Lindy-Lou Juror Number 2 was the first title we picked to do this work under the banner of the Good Pitch Local programme.

Directed by French director Florent Vassault, the film follows Lindy Lou on a journey to track down her fellow jurors 10 years on from delivering a death penalty sentence. Setting her remorse against the mixed reactions of the people who shared the weight of this decision, it’s a film which gently questions the morality of the death penalty.

Having seen how powerful this quiet film proved to be at True False film festival, we engaged Working Films to set-up a hyper-local screening tour of the film in Platte County, Missouri this September. Platte was identified by screening partner Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) as a timely territory to explore - a capital case will draw its jury from Platte later this month and Missouri is a deeply divided state, split 50:50 in its support for the death penalty.

The tour saw screenings at Missouri Western State University, Park Hill High School, Park University, Platte Woods United Methodist Church, Shiloh Springs Golf Course and Kansas City Public Library. A targeted PR campaign reached the Kansas City Star, the Missouri Times, Missouri Western and the News Tribune, securing prime time spots on Kansas City Public Radio and local Fox News.

Lindy and her devoted husband Ira made the two day journey up from Mississippi to be present at each and every screening - fielding difficult questions and facing heated debate during Q&A’s. Screenings sparked deep discussion around the need for increased support for jurors and better legal education for those serving on capital cases. Audiences generously shared their thoughts and shifts in feeling about the death penalty in a survey before and after screenings. The film has now been made available via private link to Platte County partners for circulation with their networks, enabling wider sharing and broader analysis of the effect Lindy Lou can have in this small divided community. We can't wait to share the results and, informed by our findings, to continue working with this special film.


We are welcoming not one, not two but three brilliant new staff members in the NY office!

Long time collaborator Patricia Finneran officially joins Doc Society after many years on team Good Pitch alongside her work with Sundance Documentary and her own impact producing consultancy Story Matters. She previously ran SILVERDOCS for AFI and was artistic director of IFP Market. Doc impact projects include Shadow World, Care, Tiny (Streetwise), Revolutionary Optimists, How to Survive A Plague and Bully.

Jaad Asante is joining the team as a Project Coordinator and will be focused on Doc Society’s new program Good Pitch Local, supporting the US team in the planning and delivery of local editions across the states as it roll out in 2018. She is a lover of all things non-fiction and enjoys working alongside exceptional storytellers. She recently completed her MFA at Temple University’s Film and Media Arts program and her thesis film How They Sway premiered this summer at BlackStar Film Festival.

Shannon Thomas is also joining the Jay Street team as the new Office Manager. Before Doc Society, Shannon worked with the Brooklyn Arts Council, KentPresents Ideas Festival, and the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. She is a graduate of Bard College and holds a Masters in Arts Administration & Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths.


We were so so happy to visit the one and only Paco Larrañaga, the subject of Give Up Tomorrow, in San Sebastian where he is now based. We first heard about Paco when Give Up Tomorrow was in Good Pitch Tribeca in 2010, presented by filmmakers Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco. We have learned a lot from Paco over the years about steadfastness, faith and generosity.

After 12 years in a high security prison in Manila, Paco was relocated to a jail in Basque in 2009 where he is still imprisoned.

As part of the prison’s rehabilitation system Paco was allowed to go to cooking school where he studied to be a chef. Hearing the ways he has built his life over there was a true inspiration. We were hosted to perfection - seafront strolls, too much tapas and endless dog escapades recounted.

For more about Paco’s story and the ongoing campaign for his release go to


We are looking for an energetic Accounts Assistant to work part-time (3 days a week) in our Frith Street office, supporting the Finance Team in all aspects of financial control and reporting within the organisation, and in communicating with funders and other stakeholders in both the UK and US.

Find out more at

Deadline for applications: Friday 17th November 2017.


The DOCSOC team in London is looking for an intern to come and help run the office. We are looking for someone super organised, energetic, practical who can work five days a week out of our central London office.

Duties will be varied but will include keeping us in stationary supplies to wrangling the phone company, booking a great venue for the next filmmaker party and helping build new shelving units.

Sound like a fit for you? Please drop a line to by Monday 30th October, telling us about your work experience to date and why you’d like to come and join the team.

There are no formal education requirements for this job but love of documentaries is essential. The position is a 4 month contract, paying London Living Wage plus travel expenses.

For more information go to:



WOW. So good to see Daisy’s film recognised by Grierson with a nomination for Best Cinema Documentary!

Check the trailer for Half Way here - and hear more from Daisy in her BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits interview.

Follow the film's brilliant campaigning work here and here


Following screenings in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and other cities across the US, Unrest is now launched on iTunes.

The team are reinvesting proceeds from the sale of Unrest back into the Time For Unrest campaign. This will help support their efforts to bring the film to medical schools, policymakers, and research centers around the world. The more people see Unrest, the more outreach they can do, and the bigger the impact the film will have.

Buy your iTunes copy today and help Jen get Unrest to the top of the iTunes chart! This is one of the best ways to make sure the film gets on the radar of millions of new viewers.

Follow the work of this vital campaign here


We’ve just hosted another lunch with Local Welcome and a group of refugees in our London office. Ben Pollard who organised the event had taken things up a gear this time though.

Serving lunch rather than dinner, this time we actually all cooked together in groups and then shared the food and talked more over the meal. Some cleverly prompted Q&A games kept us chatting while we chopped and ensured many stories were swapped. Memories too. We got to really understand what each other’s lives were like and what had come before.

Friendships and future plans were forged and we are keen to support Ben and the team further. To that end - let us encourage you to experience the same! By hosting your own lunch or dinner and meeting people who are newly arrived in your city.

You can find out how to get going here. It’s fun, hassle free, and the start of something very special.

Do also read the Local Welcome blog, and follow on twitter or Facebook.


Rounding up the SAFETY DANCE issue, we were proud to co-host the documentary community at the official BFI London Film Festival Doc Party. Congrats to all the non-fiction filmmakers in the festival.

There were cocktails on tap - a couple of classics (the drinks and the servers). There was dancing - safe and unsafe!

There was a lot of love in the room. Big thanks to all who came and brought such good vibes.

Again soon - we’ll keep you posted.

‘Til next month!

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