Last week, I brought you up to speed with some of our clients from the narrative side and now I want to let you know about some of our documentary talent.

One of the perks of working with The Film Collaborative is that I get to help these important stories reach a wider audience. Our docs have been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and have won both Audience and Grand Jury prizes at Sundance. In fact, Kalyanee Mam’s A River Changes Course won the World Doc Jury Prize at Sundance earlier this year. As a history buff and political activist, I think these filmmakers and their subjects all deserve special attention. I would also like to recognize that Marta Cunningham recently won the jury prize for best doc at Frameline where her Sundance doc Valentine Road was the centerpiece. In addition Yoruba Richen‘s LAFF doc The New Black won the audience award at Frameline and AFI (in the same week!). The film was also an honorable mention for the jury prize at Frameline. Below is just a small sampling of the visionary truth tellers we have worked with.

hit so hard

P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes are the ultimate power duo in the doc world. Their charm, passion for their work, and sheer charisma almost makes me forget that they work behind the camera. We handled festivals and advised on distribution for their 2011 doc Hit So Hard which premiered at SXSW 2011and was released theatrically by Variance. The film was nominated for a GLAAD media award and even helped get the band, Hole, to reunite.  In the short time since, they produced conspiracy theory doc Room 237 based on Kubrick’s film The Shining which world premiered at Sundance 2012 and even went to Cannes! The film grossed over $250,000 in its North American release. Ebersole directed and the duo produced the Lifetime Doc Dear Mom, Love Cher.

I am divine

Jeffrey Schwarz’s doc Vito world premiered at NYFF 2011 and screened in Berlin 2012 before opening both Outfest and Frameline and airing on HBO. Like Hit So Hard, it was also nominated for a GLAAD media award. Schwarz is as beloved for his films as he is for his flawless EPK’s.  He is back with TFC for his latest doc, I Am Divine, a look at the life and talent of the ultimate John Waters muse which world premiered at SXSW 2013 and was recently acquired by Wolfe Releasing. We are handling festivals and international sales.

Jennifer Arnold’s poignant and inspirational doc A Small Act debuted at Sundance 2010 and went on to air on HBO and was nominated for an Emmy! Since then this dynamo has been hard at work. She directed the doc segments Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, her ESPN doc The Diplomat was just at Tribeca and she has directed for the shows TableTop and Biz Kids.

David Weissman is a San Francisco icon. His films The Cockettes and We Were Here both brought important parts of Gay SF history to a wider audience and world premiered at Sundance. We Were Here went onto screen at Berlin and play a full week theatrical engagement at the 1,400 seat Castro theater. This touching doc on early AIDS activists was released theatrically by Red Flag Releasing, nominated for a Spirit Award and short listed for the Academy Award. Since its release, he has been generating headlines for highlighting his own problems in dealing with the sky high rent of the city and the harm imposed by the Ellis Act. He has since moved to Portland full time where he programs the only Queer Doc film festival in the world.


Then there is Kirby Dick and his film The Invisible War. TFC sold the film to New Video and Cinedigm (who have since merged) shortly after it won the Audience Award at Sundance 2012. This hard hitting doc about the rape and sexual abuse of soldiers in the US military has screened multiple times at the Pentagon and been cited for the changes in how the military handles sexual assault cases. It maintains a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for an Academy Award. In addition to sales, TFC handled festivals, broadening the stories of these victims’ to be heard all over the world. Given his prolific library of work (he’s had five films in competition at Sundance) we cannot wait to see what he does next.

The Film Collaborative feels very fortunate to have worked with filmmakers of this caliber and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for all of them.


July 11th, 2013

Posted In: Distribution, Filmmakers of note

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The Film Collaborative has been around for over three years now and in that time we’ve seen our films and members go on to win multiple audience and jury awards at Sundance, get nominated for Oscars and win Emmy’s, last year alone we had 6 films nominated for Independent Spirit Awards.

Not only are we dedicated to our current clients, we are just as invested in our filmmakers’ future projects and we wanted to follow up on what some of our TFC Alumni have been doing. This week we’ll highlight some of our narrative film directors.

weekend key art


Andrew Haigh’s Weekend took SXSW 2011 by storm, won the audience award and was released in the US by IFC/Sundance Selects. Andrew most recently directed an HBO pilot about the lives of gay men in San Francisco that was just picked up to series. The show, starring Jonathan Groff, will premiere in the spring of 2014.

Aurora Guerrero’s debut feature Mosquita Y Mari premiered in the NEXT section at Sundance 2012 and was acquired by Wolfe Releasing. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Aurora is hard at work on her follow up Los Valientes. She was awarded a $35,000 grant by San Francisco Film Society and we can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve for this film.

gayby poster


Jonathan Lisecki’s witty banter shined in Gayby which debuted at SXSW 2012. Nominated for a Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and released by Wolfe, the film has been making audiences laugh around the world. In fact, it reached as high as #5 on iTunes during Pride Week after being chosen as Movie of the Week by Apple. Jonathan co-produced and stars in Big Gay Love opposite Nicholas Brendan (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). The film just screened at Frameline and will be coming to Outfest later this month.


Spike Lee is certainly one of the more prolific filmmakers to come our way. Red Hook Summer premiered at Sundance 2012 and grossed over $300,000 when it was released theatrically by Variance. In what has been a busy year for the bold auteur, his documentary Bad 25 premiered at the Toronto Film Festival 2012 and aired on ABC. He has multiple films lined up in the next year.

Ira Sachs is another indie veteran, but his film Keep the Lights On brought him his widest audience to date. It premiered at Sundance 2012, won the teddy at Berlin, and was nominated for four Spirit Awards. It was snatched up by Music Box and was the highest grossing gay film of the year. Since then, Ira was named a Guggenheim Fellow and his follow up Love is Strange stars Alfred Molina and Michael Gambon.

Special Producers Shoutout

Laura Heberton, who produced Gayby, had Matthew Porterfield’s I Used to be Darker at Sundance this year and Bluebird at Tribeca.

Chad Burris’s film Ass Backwards brought him back to Sundance just one year after Mosquita Y Mari.

Next week we’ll take a look at what our documentary filmmakers are doing now.


July 3rd, 2013

Posted In: Filmmakers of note

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