OUR MISSION: Documentary filmmaking is critical work, but can also be challenging and isolating. Since 1999, The D-Word has been a peer-to-peer global community that helps documentary professionals feel a sense of belonging. Through its online and offline programs and tools, The D-Word provides spaces for professional development, information sharing and relationship building, working towards greater sustainability and improved mental health for documentary professionals.
- An online discussion forum for documentary professionals from around the world;
- Virtual and in-person F2Fs (“face-to-face meetups) for networking, information-sharing, work-in-progress feedback, and social exchange;
- Special panels, talks, and forum topics that include coverage from major industry events and guests providing expertise on relevant topics.
- Providing a welcoming and open online space for working professionals in the documentary industry to share information, questions, successes, and challenges of filmmaking.
- Encouraging face to face connections and collaborations beyond the online space through organizing and encouraging others to meet up at film festivals, industry events, and in informal member-organized gatherings.
- Collaborating with other film institutions to further professional development, information sharing, and support systems for the field.
- Supporting and championing diverse voices in the documentary field by amplifying their messages and taking actions to encourage allyship and dismantle white supremacy in our industry.
The D-Word started in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker Doug Block that reflected the joy and angst of making his feature documentary, Home Page. He called it “The D-Word” because, at the time, it was a dismissive industry euphemism for documentary (as in: "We love your film but we don't know how to sell it. It's a ‘d-word’"). In 1999, Block transformed The D-Word into a free forum for documentary professionals anywhere on the globe. Since that time, largely through word-of-mouth, The D-Word has grown to become a leading worldwide community for documentary filmmakers. It remains free to join, and currently numbers over 23,000 members from 157 countries.
The most impressive aspect of our community is the warmth and generosity of our membership. If you are looking for contact information for a particular distributor or festival, chances are they have a representative in our member database, or someone in our forum will share their contacts with you. Need a fixer in Nairobi? Ask The D-Word. Looking for feedback on your funding proposal or trailer? Post it on The D-Word or workshop it at one of our F2Fs. Whether you need a camera, crew, or cool-minded perspectives on hot topics, members of The D-Word are here for you. We’ve even teamed up to broker a prison release for a filmmaker. We have helped support each other through 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic (through weekly video-chat meetups), and are reducing the stigma of sharing mental health challenges that are part and parcel with our work as a founding partner of DocuMentality. We are also working towards greater equity and transparency in the field by requiring pay or pay scale be included in job and gig classifieds.
We pride ourselves in keeping membership in The D-Word free. Aside from volunteer time by our hosts and others, there are real dollar costs to running The D-Word, including platform fees, computer security upgrades, design costs, and accessibility. If you would like to support these ongoing costs, you can make a donation through our fiscal sponsor The Film Collaborative.
If you want to contact the hosts, you can send an e-mail to info AT d-word DOT com. To reach any host or member of The D-Word, find them in People Search and locate their email address on their profile. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE US OR ANY OF OUR MEMBERS IN PROMOTIONAL EMAILS OR LISTS FOR YOUR FILMS, ORGANIZATION, OR SERVICES UNLESS WE HAVE ACTUALLY SUBSCRIBED.
Co-Hosts of the D-Word
Doug Block - New York, USA
Marj Safinia - Los Angeles, USA
Erica Ginsberg - Washington DC, USA
Peter Gerard - Brooklyn, NY, USA
D-Word Program Manager
Julie McElmurry - Charlotte, NC, USA
Alix Clements, Carmen Vincent, Gordon Skinner, Heidi Reinberg, Malikkah Rollins , Mitch Teplitsky, Simone Fary, Susan Kaplan, Veronique Doumbe Paul Steinbroner Philip Shane AK Sandhu Geoffrey Smith Michael LaPointe Bruce Nelson Sándor Lau Steven D. Williams Zhu Shen Connie Bottinelli