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Friday, May 14, 2010

Making Your Media Matter Conference 2010: the documentary 'Lioness' and its outreach

Producer/director of Lioness, Meg McLachlan, spoke about her funders and her outreach: Fledgling NYSCA, ITVS, Chicken and Egg provided $100,000 outreach funding for her film on returning female VAs. Since its release in 2008 the film has had impact in: activating a discussion on veteran health care and needs of returning women combat soldiers and is lately being used as a training tool in rural health centers. The editorial decisions that the filmmakers took ie. not taking a line on the rightness of the war gave her better access to subjects, also enabled her to go in with an attitude of discovery, but moreover has also increased the potential partnerships for the film– e.g. women groups, network of women’s VA groups, staffers on capitol hill. For Lionness’ outreach plan, traditional devices have played a bigger part --face to face meetings and bringing returning VAs featured in the film to these meetings has been very important. In getting into the Dept of Defense circles women sitting on these committees have been key, many of them having a military connection, as Vietnam nurses etc, and because of the age of these women, face time was an effective tool-- more so than say, social media. Cultivating these relationships proved to be a key move, through them the Lioness team were able to access the DOD circuit, conferences, eventually got invited onto their panels. In a later development their partners e.g. VA offices, eventually became their distribution partners. They are now at the point where they are starting to break the film into clips and where these are being used as a curriculum in North Carolina primary care health centers. McLaghlan ended with several take-aways: try embed your film into institutions. Be credible with your subjects. Be flexible in terms of opportunities – and cultivate good funder relationships.

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