Filmmaker Services

Rescuing Jorge Prelorán’s Films From Storage And Time_786

We offer a robust menu of support services to media makers currently in production. Our major service is fiscal sponsorship, through which we are able to extend our non-profit status and offer fiscal oversight for projects. For information about fiscal sponsorship, applications, and sample sponsored projects, please contact Alice Apley. We are particularly interested in working with filmmakers who are producing innovative work that gives voice to those outside mainstream media.

Our services include:
  • Consulting services in areas such as fundraising, grant writing, production, story development, preservation & remastering, and outreach & distribution
  • Fiscal Sponsorship, which provides a 501(c)(3) umbrella for your project
  • Rough cut screenings held in on location at DER
  • Workshops & Panels at community events, film festivals & conferences
  • Access to the DER Research Library which houses 800+ films, texts, and archival material pertaining to social and cultural issues around the world
Some program highlights include:

Want to work with us? Please send your Filmmaker Services inquiries to: .


“I first came under the spell of DER’s movies in my undergraduate days at Harvard University with John Marshall’s terrific ethnographic films, including A Joking Relationship and Tim Asch’s compelling and problematic The Ax Fight. In my subsequent teaching career, I have often shown these films in class and curated them for public shows. It is exciting to find DER willing to work with me now to support my project on robotics, and to see this project coming round full circle in regard to my early inspirations. Both Alice Apley and Alijah Case have been generous in their advice and acute in their critical takes on my application and project. I am looking forward to our continuing dialogue as the film moves forward into production.”
– Abigail Child, director, Androids in America (working title)

“DER has been a reliable and trustworthy partner for many years.  Alice and her team understand the pressures and complications of producing independent nonfiction films. They are efficient with financial reporting, swift to communicate and poised to offer support from development to distribution. With a provenance SO deep and authentic, I feel grateful to be part of their tradition and on-going work.”
– James Rutenbeck, Scenes from a Parish, A Reckoning in Boston

“I was in search of an organization that would be engaged with my film Headhunt Revisited – and then I discovered DER. I think the best part of becoming one of DER’s projects was their ability to collaborate and provide support in grant applications, distribution outlets, and guidance in bringing the film out to the right audiences. The entire team at DER, especially Alice Apley, has been a key ingredient to the momentum in completing this production. I look forward to our continued relationship.”
– Michele Westmorland, director, Headhunt Revisited (2016 NEA recipient)

“DER fiscally sponsors three of my film projects. I can count on them to problem solve with me, respond to the quirky needs of the project and support the low budget independent nature of my work. They have my back! I highly recommend them.
– Margo Guernsey, Councilwoman, Pauli Murray: An American Life, and The Philadelphia Eleven

“Since 2012, I have been working with DER as a fiscal sponsor. They are not only extremely professional but also have a respect and commitment for the arts and cinema that is so rare. I have so much respect for the body of work they have supported and it’s an honor to be among the decades of amazing films and filmmakers in the DER family.”
– Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Hollow, Heroin(e)Rescue Boys

“DER and their team really worked out-of-the-box with us on Harry & Snowman. Not only did they help customize every aspect of our fundraising campaign, they were flexible and able to accommodate all of our needs as documentary filmmakers and fundraisers. Thanks to DER, we raised the money we needed and the film went on to become one of the top box office grossing documentaries of 2016.”
-Ron Davis, Director/Producer, Harry & Snowman

When I was just beginning to make films, it was, to say the least, difficult to find sponsors of any kind – much less fiscal sponsors – but DER took me and many other filmmakers under its benevolent wing and made it possible for us to raise funding from non-profits and get our films off the ground. DER sponsored my first major effort – Sherman’s March – back in the early 1980s and I’ve gone back for sponsorship for a half-dozen documentaries since then.  We are so fortunate to have their nurturing presence in the Boston Area.
– Ross McElwee,  Documentary filmmaker and professor of filmmaking,  Harvard University



Copyright issues: Center for Media and Social Impact (American University)
Legal services: Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Foundation and grant research: Foundation Directory Online
Working with funders: The Prenups
Media management and archiving: Activists’ Guide to Archiving Video
Impact Guide: The Impact Field Guide & Toolkit
Grants Directory: IDA’s Documentary Grants and Fellowship Directory