The Prenups



Then read more about the widening range of filmmaking and grantmaking approches in the full Prenups guide.

Filmmakers and funders need each other more than ever. Filmmakers spend years of their lives creating powerful stories that let viewers slip into the skins of people they don’t know but come to care about, and these filmmakers need support to tell such high-impact stories. Funders bring tremendous knowledge, networks, analytical skills, money and other resources to social change efforts. They need powerful stories to put human faces on the issues they work on, because doing so helps influence public will.

When the conditions are right, a successful partnership can blossom. But if the conditions are wrong, and funders and filmmakers don’t understand each other and haven’t communicated their expectations in advance, the results can be disastrous. Active Voice has found that most sources of friction between filmmakers and funders revolve around three essential areas:

> Visions and Expectations

> Roles and Participation

> Business and Legal Issues

We didn’t choose the term Prenups accidentally. We’ve learned that both parties need language and guidelines in order to understand each other’s goals, standards, values and expectations—before they tie the knot. There are many kinds and levels of collaboration possible. Whatever role you play in a funder-filmmaker relationship, the Prenups can help to establish whether you and your partners see “eye to eye.”

Read about “Visions & Expectations”

Hear Perspectives from others – and submit your own!

Download the complete Prenups guide (PDF)

Share Your Perspective
Should funders and filmmakers work together? Why or why not? Have you ever talked about power dynamics with a funder/grantee? If so, what happened? Name one social issue film that has changed your life—why and how?

The Prenups are a work-in-progress and need your input! Did we miss an important question? Did you have a great collaboration you want to tell us about? Or do you believe that all independent films need heat-proof editorial firewalls to protect the filmmaker?

Let us know—we may ask your permission to publish your perspectives, either attributed or anonymously. (You decided.)