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DC/DOX Film Festival 2024

Reality Check Workshop: The Future of Funding

Saturday, June 15
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Eaton Crystal Room

1201 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Reality Check Workshop: The Future of Funding

Lynnette Gryseels, Moderator; Director of Development and Fiscal Sponsorship, The Film Collaborative

Dawn Bonder, CEO The deNovo Initiative

Trevite Willis, Head of Development and Production, Best Yet Entertainment

Jenni Wolfson, CEO, Chicken & Egg Pictures

Gain insight into the minds of key decision-makers at various grant-making organizations that provide funding to documentary filmmakers, or from those on the frontlines in the funding arena. What do today’s funders perceive as the next horizon for funding films, and today’s challenges and opportunities in our field? What are their approaches and considerations in making strategic funding decisions? What outcomes do they seek? How and why do funders work with fiscal sponsors? Learn what they expect from your funding partners and how you can better position your project to secure funding successfully.

Director of Development and Fiscal Sponsorship, The Film Collaborative

Lynnette Gryseels is the Director of Development and Fiscal Sponsorship at The Film Collaborative and loves working with filmmakers tell thought-provoking stories that entertain, stimulate social change, and support their filmmaking aspirations. Lynnette holds a BA in Film Studies, a BA in Media Studies, and a BA in Business Marketing and has worked with notable film organizations such as the American Film Institute, Film Arts Foundation, Women in Film, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, and Hot Docs International Documentary Festival. Lynnette assists filmmakers in learning their craft through project development and fundraising support. At The Film Collaborative, she developed and launched the Fiscal Sponsorship Program and regularly advises filmmakers on fundraising strategies and sources, audience development, and film distribution strategies during the development and production process of filmmaking.

CEO, The deNovo Initiative

Dawn’s career has spanned myriad sectors of the healthcare and education public policy and delivery ecosystems. Her understanding of, and appreciation for the challenges to transformational change underly her passion for utilizing storytelling to illustrate systemic dysfunction and harm. She founded The deNovo Initiative to provide support for storytellers to create projects that offer a fresh perspective on issues that divide us.

Her film credits include Executive Producer for Agent of Happiness, Bad Axe, Body Parts, I Didn’t See You There, Pay or Die, Richland, and Shaken, and Co-Executive Producer for Beyond Utopia, Food and Country, Love Machina, and Songs from the Hole.

Her colleagues describe her as smart, funny, quick-witted, courageous, and irreverent. They also say she is kind, empathetic, ethical, and direct. Dawn follows rules carefully and breaks them knowingly.

Dawn earned a B.S. in business administration from Boston University Questrom School of Business, summa cum laude, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. A lover of people who make her laugh or think, Dawn has called Portland, Oregon home for 25 years.

Head of Development and Production, Best Yet Entertainment

Trevite Willis is an independent producer, and a film festival founder committed to courageous storytelling.

Ms. Willis is one of the Co-Producers on the Broadway-bound musical, The Wiz; Executive Producer on the Sundance 2024 film, Kidnapping Inc.; Co-Executive Producer on the Sundance 2023 film, To Live and Die and Live; and was an executive producer on the Sundance 2020 award-winning film, Forty Year Old Version. She is currently in production on The Inquisitor: The Barbara Jordan Documentary.

She has produced 7 feature films, including Cargo, Blood Bound, Maya and Her Lover, and Children of God, which had theatrical releases in the US, UK, and The Netherlands, won 17 awards, and sold in 24 territories.

Chief Executive Officer, Chicken & Egg Pictures

Jenni Wolfson, CEO at Chicken & Egg Pictures, is a leader in the art of driving social change through narrative storytelling. Since becoming the organization’s first CEO in 2013, Jenni has grown Chicken & Egg’s annual grantmaking from $450K to $2 million and cultivated multiple partnerships, including the MacArthur Foundation, Netflix, and LunaBar. She has also increased the community of supported women and gender-expansive filmmakers from 185 to 500+, including filmmakers who have won the industry’s highest honors, such as Peabody, Emmy, and Academy Awards. Under Jenni’s leadership, the organization has also garnered significant awards for its impact.

Previously, Jenni spent seven years as Managing Director at WITNESS, the international human rights video advocacy organization founded by musician Peter Gabriel. She began her career as a human rights activist, holding roles at UNICEF and the United Nations, including long-term missions on the ground in Haiti and Rwanda. She wrote and performed a solo play, RASH, about these experiences.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and BAFTA, Jenni holds an MA in Human Rights and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Strathclyde. She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and lives in New York City.