1st Edition

The Documentary Distribution Toolkit
How to Get Out, Get Seen, and Get an Audience

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 19, 2021
ISBN 9780367715458
November 19, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Mapping out a diverse journey through documentary distribution, this book is a comprehensive global how-to reference guide providing insights into the landscape of documentary distribution; targeting the right audiences to expand the reach of your documentary; and building a sustainable career.

Detailing how to prepare your documentary, strategies for crowdfunding, working with documentary organizations and online platforms, and outlining the channels to consider, The Documentary Distribution Toolkit demystifies the process of distributing your documentary. Featuring case studies and interviews including filmmaker Alice Elliot, representatives from public television stations such as ARTE, ZDF, Al Jazeera, TRT (Turkey), NHK, as well as drawing on author Rachel Gordon’s over 20 years of experience working in documentary distribution. Foregrounding documentaries for non-profit and educational purposes, each chapter gives guidance on how to think locally and globally, on money matters to consider, and personal questions to answer before proceeding to help filmmakers manage their time, money, and energy wisely.

This book empowers the filmmaker to distribute their documentary in an effective and strategic manner. Providing concrete advice on how to navigate the documentary ecosystem beyond the classroom, this is the ideal book for professional and emerging documentary filmmakers, as well as students who are looking to distribute their documentary films.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Paul Lewis


Chapter 1: Prepare Yourself: Think Before You Shoot

Chapter 2: The Hard Work of Crowdfunding

Chapter 3: Documentary Organizations Worth Your Time and Money

Chapter 4: Now Available Online – How to Stream

Chapter 5: Creating Community – Partnerships With Purpose

Chapter 6: Educational Facilities and Academic Professional Development

Chapter 7: Public Broadcasters and the Specialty TV Ecosystem



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Rachel Gordon has been working in documentary distribution for over 20 years. After working at the National Film Board of Canada, she collaborated with independent documentarians for several years and then did grassroots audience building for the International Monetary Fund. She has also worked as an independent filmmaker, directing and helping produce 5 short films screened at festivals across the United States and the United Kingdom. www.rachelgordonmedia.com


 'Rachel Gordon provides a clear-eyed, straightforward roadmap to self-distribution to the filmmaker who seeks to shepherd their own film through its public life. Practical, candid, and full of real-life examples from filmmakers who have both found success and learned from their mistakes, this book should be an essential companion to any filmmaker anticipating the end of production and the beginning of their film’s journey into the world.'
Caitlin Boyle, Founder, Film Sprout. 

'The Documentary Distribution Kit is a must-read for filmmakers who want to distribute their films in the 21st century. If you want to learn about classic distribution avenues but also new and innovative ways to reach a broad audience and make some money – this is the book for you. '
Elena Dirstaru, documentary filmmaker