While narrative filmmakers may be more familiar with seeking equity investments to fund their work, documentary filmmakers have only recently turned to this type of funding.
Equity investments frees documentary filmmakers from relying solely on grants, private donations, and crowdfunding, which is more typical for nonfiction. But what is an equity investment and how do they work?
An equity investment means that the investor (a person, group, or company) will own a stake in your nonfiction film or limited liability company (LLC) and is looking to recoup their investment. Using equity investments does not preclude a filmmaker from also accepting grants and donations – or other equity investors. For instance, a filmmaker may also work with a fiscal sponsor, such as a foundation, to serve as its nonprofit arm to receive the donations and then grant it to the film. Specific terms would be worked out with each film’s supporter.