Help Support DER

Through nearly 50 years of film curation, stewardship and distribution services, Documentary Educational Resources (DER) has developed into a one-of-a-kind resource documenting intangible culture, historical processes, and the lives and perspectives of underrepresented people. The collection offers a compendium of models for cultural documentation, from indigenous media production to diverse collaborations between community members, filmmakers and researchers. Established in 1968 by John Marshall and Timothy Asch, whose films were among the founding collection of the Smithsonian's Human Studies Film Archive, DER now distributes nearly 1000 titles, reaching audiences in all 50 states and internationally.

DER also provides invaluable support to both up-and-coming and veteran filmmakers and film productions through our Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Our program enables them to access foundation funding and individual donations, as well as a variety of support services helping make their visions come true.


Please consider supporting the efforts of independent media creation and distribution by donating to Documentary Educational Resources directly. Your tax-deductible donation will be used to support DER's ongoing and new initiatives. Read more about them below!

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Current DER Projects:

DER Online Initiative

The landscape of film distribution is changing. Educators, students, researchers and others expect online access to film information and to the films themselves. In order to stay apace with the field, keep DER's collection of films accessible, and broaden our service to the community, we are planning a much-needed redevelopment of our website, with new architecture, new graphics, and new content. Same mission. Same great films.

Your support will:

  • Improve our catalog search so educators, researchers, museums and festivals can find the films they need
  • Provide more services for filmmakers regarding fundraising, film festivals, distribution, and archiving
  • Expand resources for educators from study guides to filmmaker interviews, print materials to podcasts
  • Build a platform for dialogue, connecting filmmakers, students, educators, archivists, exhibitors and visual anthropologists around the world

DER Community Screening Program

DER Community Screening Program

In supporting the DER Community Screening Program you will help DER reduce or waive screening fees so that college and university students, community groups, and mission based organizations can hold free public screenings with the goal of sparking meaningful dialogue, increasing cross-cultural understanding, and supplementing academic pursuits and curricula.

We are constantly receiving requests for screenings that, unfortunately, we cannot fulfill. Supporting this program will give community groups and students in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, regions, and countries access to tools they can use to educate themselves and those around them.

Future Projects:

Expanding DER Digital

In addition to the streaming options currently available from DER Digital, we will offer films via streaming directly from our website. Film distribution is moving online and we want to increase the accessibility to our titles for all. Read more read more

Building a Scholarly Database

DER will build a scholarly database of anthropological film. With funding from the National Science Foundation, we've begun discussion with filmmakers, anthropologists and archivists about building an extensive scholarly resource. Read more read more

What are people saying about DER?

“They take extraordinary films that are really about what it means to be a human being, and I think people will look back and when they look at America's greatest organizations DER will stand firm over the last hundred years as being an organization that really had a future vision to seeing how one can really make documentation and preserve all of the strange and lovely ways we are human beings.”
Sarah Elder, filmmaker, The Drums of Winter
“DER is synonymous with ethnographic film in the United States… They're a one-of-a-kind institution.”
John Bishop, filmmaker
“If I want to show something or discover something about any place in the world,
I think of DER as the place to go”
Laura R. Graham, filmmaker Owners of the Water


Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council