Part 1: Camden International Film Festival: Points North and Pitching

In its second year, Points North
at the Camden Film Festival is the place for New England filmmakers to connect with people in the documentary film industry. The impetus behind Points North was to connect New England filmmakers to the industry, and the industry to New England filmmakers.  And it’s succeeding at both.

CIFF board member Louise Rosen assembled an A-list  group of industry representatives to attend, and I heard from more than one industry delegate that their experience at Points North was unique. They’re  asked to participate in many conferences and panels, but at Camden the filmmakers here were leaning forward in their seat, eager to absorb information—which made it gratifying for the industry members. Delegates also commented on the strength of the work they saw and the diversity of subject matter.  There were opportunities for filmmakers and delegates to informally socialize, which actually worked because people were relaxed and comfortable (except CIFF director Ben Fowlie, who has mastered the art of appearing calm).

This year I participated in the Pitch Forum, a new component of Points North that is sure to continue.  For the Pitch Forum, only New England filmmakers were eligible to submit their projects; of the 25 applications received, 6 were chosen to be pitched to a panel of 10 industry delegates. 

I had the opportunity to attend pitching forums at both IFW and CIFF, where I heard similar advice , so I thought it might be worth summarizing.  I apologize if you have heard this all before, as there is lots of advice out there for how to pitch your project.


  • Always presume someone else out there is working on your “topic.”  The zeitgeist is real ( spirit of the times) and continually reflected in film ideas.
  • A topic is not an idea.
  •  An idea is not a story.
  • Trailer is your proof of concept.  It’s a way of demonstrating that you know what your story is about and this is how you’re going to treat it.  (Ideally, the DP and editor for the trailer and the film are the same).
  • A pitch is NOT an opportunity to TELL your story.  Too much information, and they no longer need to see your film.
  • You are selling yourself more than your film.
  • Leave a bit of intrigue when you’re done.  

Part 2 – Financing and Distribution lessons from IFW…

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