What is your documentary experience and how have you been funding that work?
Irene: "I worked in-house as a documentary maker at The Guardian for six years before going freelance in 2019. When you work for any newspaper, there are certain stories they want to cover and I wanted to explore my own style, to make work that was longer and allowed me to spend more time with subjects."
Camille: "I co-directed another documentary, Derwisha, with Leïla Beratto. The film tells the story of a roofless two-storey house located 30km from Algiers where about 30 people, mostly Cameroonians and Ivorians, lived on their way to Europe. We self-funded the project for three years before teaming up with Lumento Films, a French production house, for the editing, colour grading and post-production. Often, I manage to finance my scouting via photo orders from the press, which allows me to write a note of intent, and then I try to meet producers. Also, obtaining scholarships related to photography allows me to switch to a documentary film project."
Michaël: "Usually, I make documentaries for TV channels such as France Télévisions and ARTE. I always work with a producer who manages the funding and budget, and they are responsible for finding a TV channel to finance the project. The producer normally has everything planned out before you start filming – expenses, travel costs, salaries. As an independent video maker you are not set up as a company so you can't pay salaries or pay taxes. TV budgets are higher than in photojournalism so there is more at stake. A channel won't want to take a risk on an independent filmmaker. If something goes wrong in the filmmaking process that might lose you money, the producer deals with it. I've always worked with the same producer, who happens to be my wife, and her colleagues. With a producer, it's not just about the money, it's also about working with someone you trust."