Off The Fence: Independent Distributor Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Cannes. A Podcast with CEO Ellen Windemuth

Ellen Windemuth launched OFF THE FENCE from her basement 25 years ago. In this week’s podcast, Ellen: Looks back at her company’s launch. Reflects on the particular challenges then for women in a male-dominated industry. Explores how Off The Fence grew into an industry-leading independent distributor / producer with a turnover of around $20 million. Describes her …

The Development History of NATIVE AMERICA, a $3-4 million Signature PBS Series. A Case Study

NATIVE AMERICA is a premium PBS series that explores the world created by America’s first peoples. It describes their foundational belief systems that synthesize science and spirituality. The 4-part series captures the incredible diversity of the expressions of these beliefs across North, Central and South America. Providence Pictures’ President and Executive Producer/Director, Gary Glassman was preparing …


The Fidel Archive Case Study: Inside a PBS / NGC International Coproduction

(Originally published, September 21, 2014). The PBS/NGCI documentary The Fidel Castro Tapes caught our attention with its compelling and unseen footage of the Cuban revolution and the Cold War drama that followed. We wondered about the challenges of creating an archive-based film about an 88-year old Spanish-speaking personality who can be dangerously controversial, and who …

Nat Geo Takes The Archive Global. Case Study: ‘Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes’

The archive continues to power primetime signature shows. But it takes imagination to find the topics, and the undiscovered ‘jewels’ in the archive that can tell stories in a fresh way and at an affordable cost. This week’s Case Study is Nat Geo’s Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes from Peabody Award winner Tom Jennings Productions. …

Hoff Productions: An Independent Producer Manages the Ups and Downs

This week’s story is about how to succeed in the very tough world of independent production. Our case study is Hoff Productions, whose ups and downs we covered back in 2010 in a popular post titled A Preferred Producer: Hoff Productions between Basement and Buyout. Hoff was on a ride. But, as you can see from …