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Doc U: Working With Publicists - How to Get the Most Out of Your Film's Release

International Documentary Association

Monday, May 20, 2013 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)

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International Documentary Association


Doc U

Working With Publicists
How to Get the Most Out of Your Film's Release

Monday, May 20, 2013 
 Discussion & Audience Q&A: 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Reception to Follow

The Cinefamily
611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

IDA Members:   Non-Members:
IDA Individual Member: $15
IDA Student Member: $5
  General Admission: $20
Click for Discount   Purchase Above

Join IDA now! For discounted admission prices and more!


How you release your doc—and how audiences see it—have changed dramatically in the past decade, offering filmmakers with more and more ways to connect audiences with their films. What hasn't changed is the value an experienced publicist can bring to your team as you try to get the attention of critics, bloggers, influencers and viewers, and perhaps pick up an award or two along the way.

Whether you're doing festivals, DIY, day and date, or multi-platform, a publicist can be the most valuable person at your side, helping to develop a release strategy, bringing in strategic partners, and getting the feature story that will deliver what every film needs to survive: eyeballs.

Moderated by Josh Welsh, Co-President of Film Independent, this Doc U will feature a panel of leading publicists for documentaries, including Amy Grey, President of Dish Communications, David Magdael, President of David Magdael & Associates, Inc. and Nancy Willen, Founder of Acme Public Relations.


Josh Welsh, Co-President, Film Independent (Moderator)

Josh Welsh is Co-President of Film Independent, the film arts organization that produces the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Film Independent at LACMA. Prior to becoming Co-President, Welsh spent ten years as the Director of Artist Development, where he was responsible for the overall design, strategic planning and implementation of the organization’s Artist Development programs . They include Filmmaker Labs for Directors, Screenwriters, Producers and Documentarians, Fast Track, Project Involve and the Grants Program. Welsh also ran the Fast Track film financing market at the Los Angeles Film Festival. In addition, he has been the year-round industry liaison for filmmakers in the Artist Development programs, and has administered Film Independent’s Grants program. He developed Film Independent's partnership with Fox Studios to create the Fox Writers Intensive, a four month screenwriting lab that introduces experienced writers with unique voices and backgrounds to Fox staff writers, showrunners, directors, screenwriters and creative executives. Prior to working on in Artist Development, Welsh was in Film Independent’s Programming Department. He has been a judge for UCLA’s Screenwriting Showcase and the Outfest Screenwriters Competition, a juror for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, served as a thesis advisor in UCLA’s graduate producing program, and has spoken on numerous panels and at film schools. Before moving to Los Angeles, Welsh earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He lives with his wife Bonnie Gavel and their daughter Isla, and in his spare time he is lead singer in the alt-country band Meatyard.


Amy Grey, President, Dish Commuications

Amy Grey founded Dish Communications in 1991 with the philosophy that relationships are at the heart of public relations. The company quickly expanded from her core programming clients to such entities as HBO Networks, Viacom, NCTA, A&E Networks, Discovery Networks, Sundance Channel; documentary filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Brett Morgen and Kim Longinotto; and special events for clients including HBO, History and IFC and the 2007 The Police Reunion Concert tour. Dish clients have won numerous awards including this year's Academy Award®- winning documentary short, Inocente, Academy Award® documentary feature nominee Gasland and many, many others. She has also been the publicist of choice for the International Documentary Association (IDA), Television Critics Association (TCA) and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA). Grey has chosen to build both her career and company around what she is passionate about: documentary film, television programming and music. Grey is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the International Documentary Association.

David Magdael, President, David Magdael & Associates, Inc.

As founder and president of David Magdael & Associates, Inc., his company continues to specialize in documentaries, independent films, directors, and public affairs issues for over a decade. From developing Oscar® campaigns for documentaries to creating film festival strategies for filmmakers and indie films to television broadcast publicity to theatrical release public relations and film unit publicity, the company has become an important entertainment communications firm that boasts a client roster including numerous Academy Award® winning and nominated documentary, animated and short films, Sundance Film Festival Award winners, Toronto International Film Festivals standouts, Tribeca Film Festival and South by Southwest gems and independent films. The company also works on studio projects and network broadcast films for Lionsgate, Paramount, Universal, Sony/Columbia, Variance Films, Zeitgeist, Showtime, HBO, Showtime, AMC, Relativity, Fox Searchlight, Rogue, Focus Features and Goldwyn.

Recent film projects include: Blood Brother; Open Heart; King's Point; Love Free Or Die; Call Me Kuchu; Sun Kissed; 5 Broken Cameras; If A Tree Falls; The Tsunami And The Cherry BlossomThe Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975; Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold; Wasteland; The Interrupters; Semper Fi: Always Faithful; Super Size Me; Mad Hot Ballroom; and others.

Nancy Willen, Acme PR

In 2000, Nancy Willen founded the entertainment public relations agency Acme PR specializing in documentary film. Acme's representation of its clients most frequently includes launching their films at major festivals followed by creating and implementing theatrical release and awards campaigns. Willen has run campaigns on many critically-acclaimed and award-winning non-fiction films including (among many others): The Invisible War, How To Survive A Plague, The House I Live In, Paradise Lost 3, Hell And Back Again, Senna, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Waste Land, Taxi To The Dark Side, Murderball, Capturing The Friedmans, Bowling For Columbine, and Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster. She is currently repping a number of award-winning docs including Lucy Walker's The Crash Reel, Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall's Call Me Kuchu, and Zachary Heinzerling's Cutie and the Boxer.

Acme's institutional clients have included the Sundance Institute and the International Documentary Association (IDA). Willen is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, served a nine-year term on the Board of Directors at IDA, and was an advisor at the 2011 and 2012 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Labs and Summits in Utah.


The evening's on-stage conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A, and a reception on the Cinefamily's backyard Spanish patio!

The use of cameras, audio recording devices, and video recording devices is prohibited at Doc U events.

For more information on IDA's Doc U: documentary.org/doc-u


Doc U: Working With Publicists
How to Get the Most Out of Your Film's Release


Monday, May 20, 2013
Doors Open: 7:00pm
Discussion & Audience Q&A: 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Wine Reception to Follow


The Cinefamily
611 N. Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036



Meters on Fairfax: 2hr parking until 8pm, free thereafter. Parking in the lot across Fairfax is $3.00. Non-permitted parking available in neighborhoods behind The Cinefamily.


Doc U is the International Documentary Association's series of educational seminars and workshops for aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers. Taught by artists and industry experts, participants receive vital training and insight on various topics including: fundraising, distribution, licensing, marketing, and business tactics.

Special support provided by:

Los Angeles County Arts CommissionHFPAT3Media
IMAX FirstCom Music
Brooks InstituteDepartment of Cultural Affairs - City of Los Angeles


Members and Supporters of IDA
Have questions about Doc U: Working With Publicists - How to Get the Most Out of Your Film's Release? Contact International Documentary Association

When & Where

The Cinefamily
611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, 90036

Monday, May 20, 2013 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)

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International Documentary Association

Founded in 1982, the International Documentary Association (IDA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that promotes nonfiction filmmakers, and is dedicated to increasing public awareness for the documentary genre. Our major program areas are: Advocacy, Filmmaker Services, Education, and Public Programs and Events.

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Doc U: Working With Publicists - How to Get the Most Out of Your Film's Release
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