Learn the basics of Documentary film producing in only 4 sessions! 


Documentary Producing Certificate Introductory Course

This Documentary Producing course is a four-part series of classes, each presenting a specific aspect, process, or skill involved in producing documentary films. This course is for anyone interested, whether or not you have any experience.


Now accepting students for the following dates, must choose 1 of the 3 available classes below:


1. January 8th 2022 (Each Saturday morning @ 11:00 am-12 pm EST)  


3.  January 19th 2022 (Each Wednesday morning @ 11:00 am- 12 pm EST)


Location: Virtual (Zoom) 


Description: Why take the Documentary Producing Certificate Introductory Course


Producers have control over almost every aspect of a documentary film production.

They initiate and drive the movie forward, bringing together a production team, including the director, director of photography and sound. The producer’s primary responsibility is to guide a project from the idea to the screen. They lead the film from conception to producing the film, into distribution, marketing and beyond.


This four-part Documentary Producing Certificate Introductory Course will answer specific questions in key areas of producing, and explores the opportunities producers have today to develop, finance, budget and market a film. During each class you will learn skills essential to getting a documentary made and seen. To receive a certificate, attend all sessions. This Producer’s certificate class is taught by Producer and

Director Lesya Kalynska.  


Lesya Kalynska is an award-winning director, writer, and producer.

She develops film and television projects through her production company Pomegranate Studios. Originally from Kyiv in Ukraine, Kalynska has received her PhD in Slavic literary and linguistic studies from The National Pedagogical Drahomanov University in Kyiv. Invited by her father, a soviet dissident, she arrived in the United States in 1999 and began teaching undergraduate Ukrainian and Russian language classes at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In 2009 she received her MFA in writing and directing film from New York University, Tish School of the Arts.

She was one of the first Ukrainian citizens to be given an opportunity to study in the NYU graduate program.


She found early success with her short narrative film THE BALLOONIST featuring the renowned Georgian actor Kakhi Kavsadze. Her film received a best director nomination at the Fusion Film Festival and won the Best Student Film Award at the Hope and Dreams IFF in New Jersey.

She followed up as a producer on the highly successful film THE DEBT, directed by Levan Koguashvili, which was an official selection at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. It won several prestigious awards at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Manheim IFF, the Audience Award at the Los Angeles Annual Showcase and producing award at the first Run Film Festival in New York City.

In 2011, she directed TOP SECRET LEVEL 18. A documentary series made for television that premiered on 1+1, a widely popular Ukrainian TV channel. In 2013 Kalynska produced a feature documentary SALT IN THE AIR by Enrico Cullen and co-produced a short narrative film UKRAINIAN LESSONS by Ruslan Batytskyi, for which the filmmakers received the FIPRESCI Award at the Odessa International Film Festival. Kalynska is the recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Production Award (Golden Globes) for the documentary IN THE LAND OF THE LOST CRUSADERS, which she directed and co-produced.

In 2013 she embarked on a more personal project that would take her back to her beloved city of Kyiv in Ukraine. She began filming the Maidan Revolution and followed several characters over the course of 8 years, documenting their personal lives during the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. The project is supported by the Sundance Film Institute, the Bertha BritDoc Documentary Journalism Fund, SØRFOND and Fritt Ord Foundation Grants for Production (Norway), as well as the Bertha Fund Grant for development and IDFA, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival support (Netherlands) along with other supporting organizations. The film is projected to be released in 2022.

Lesya Kalynska currently lives and operates her production company in New York City.



What will it cover?


1. Documentary Types


In this session, you will learn the various genres of documentary filmmaking. It is important to understand what type of documentary you are making before the start of production.


Topics include:

- Different types of documentary

- Comparisons of styles and techniques

- Film case study


2. Story Development


Making a documentary has many challenges and telling a story that is clear, emotional and effective is one of them. We will explore the many ways of shaping a documentary film. We will cover the three-act structure, plot, theme, and character. We will also discuss specific films as case studies.


Topics include:

- Identifying your topic and idea

- Working with characters and shaping your story

- Structuring a documentary



3. Documentary Budgeting


In this lesson we provide you with a practical understanding of the budgeting process. We will discuss how to create a realistic and professional budget based on the needs of your film.


Topics include:

 - Business basics

 - Categories, Line Items and Rates

 - Budgeting for preproduction, production and post production



4. Documentary Grants


Most documentaries rely on foundation grants, non-profits, arts organizations and the kindness of individual donors. Independent filmmakers rely on these funding sources to a great extent. The documentary funding landscape is very competitive and applying for grants to top funders can feel overwhelming and arduous. This session will discuss the many elements within a proposal, partnering with nonprofit organizations, and discuss the grant writing process so that you'll have the confidence in applying for grants.


Topics include:

- The Grant Application

- Finding the money

- What top funders look for in a proposal?

- Research and identify diverse resources for doc film funding



Documentary Producing Certificate Introductory Course