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Documentary Movie as Revenue Source?

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  • barrieatkin
    Has anyone had experience using a documentary movie to raise money for a non-profit? Or helped raise funds for a film maker to make a documentary that in turn
    Message 1 of 2 , May 18, 2009
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      Has anyone had experience using a documentary movie to raise money for a
      non-profit? Or helped raise funds for a film maker to make a
      documentary that in turn benefits the non-profit?

      A very small documentary film maker is in the process of producing a
      film that personalizes the issues of one of my non-profit clients, also
      a very small organization. We're discussing how to work together to
      jointly raise funds for the movie and the organization. Here are some
      of the questions we're discussing - and seeking advice about:

      - How do we share expenses and revenues as we fundraise for the film?

      - In an era of viral marketing, how does the organization get credit for
      funds raised that might not be able to be tracked directly to our
      efforts?

      - Legal: What are some of the legal questions we need to consider? How
      do we develop a contract cost-effectively? (Are there some standard
      contracts to start with?) Note that both the organization and the film
      have 501(c)3 status through fiscal sponsors, which complicates the
      contractual process.

      - Financial: What type of verification should we request from the
      documentary film company?

      - What else should we asking?

      I welcome your advice.


      Barrie J. Atkin, President

      Atkin Associates LLC

      Barrie@... <mailto:Barrie@...>

      Phone: 781-788-6600
    • Allen Bromberger
      I have done several of these. From a legal point of view, there are several considerations. If donors are giving their funds to the nonprofit (or a fiscal
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 1, 2009
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        I have done several of these. From a legal point of view, there are
        several considerations. If donors are giving their funds to the
        nonprofit (or a fiscal sponsor), the nonprofit can hire the filmmaker
        to make the film. In that scenario, the nonprofit will usually own the
        rights to the film. Or, the nonprofit can fund the film in the form of a
        grant or an investment, but if the filmmaker retains the rights to the
        movie, the nonprofit has to be careful it isn't an "excess benefit"
        transaction (ie., the nonprofit pays too much or gets too little,
        thereby benefitting the filmmaker unduly). Finally, the nonprofit and
        the filmmaker can do the film as a joint venture and share rights, use
        and revenues (if the film generates any).

        So much depends on where the funds come from and how the film will be
        used. I strongly recommend a written contract prepared by someone who
        knows what they are doing.



        Allen R. Bromberger
        Attorney At Law
        41 Madison Ave, Suite 4000
        New York, NY 10010-2202
        P: 212.889.0575 ext. 208 | F: 212.743.8120
        www.perlmanandperlman.com <http://www.perlmanandperlman.com>

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        ________________________________

        From: npEnterprise@yahoogroups.com [mailto:npEnterprise@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of barrieatkin
        Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 9:06 PM
        To: npEnterprise@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [npEnterprise Forum] Documentary Movie as Revenue Source?

        Has anyone had experience using a documentary movie to raise money for a
        non-profit? Or helped raise funds for a film maker to make a
        documentary that in turn benefits the non-profit?

        A very small documentary film maker is in the process of producing a
        film that personalizes the issues of one of my non-profit clients, also
        a very small organization. We're discussing how to work together to
        jointly raise funds for the movie and the organization. Here are some
        of the questions we're discussing - and seeking advice about:

        - How do we share expenses and revenues as we fundraise for the film?

        - In an era of viral marketing, how does the organization get credit for
        funds raised that might not be able to be tracked directly to our
        efforts?

        - Legal: What are some of the legal questions we need to consider? How
        do we develop a contract cost-effectively? (Are there some standard
        contracts to start with?) Note that both the organization and the film
        have 501(c)3 status through fiscal sponsors, which complicates the
        contractual process.

        - Financial: What type of verification should we request from the
        documentary film company?

        - What else should we asking?

        I welcome your advice.

        Barrie J. Atkin, President

        Atkin Associates LLC
        Phone: 781-788-6600
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