Is Investment in Documentary Films Profitable?

Is Investment in Documentary Films Profitable?

Investing in any artistic project creates a certain duality since the interests of the financial backer and artist are rarely aligned. This is especially the case with documentary films that hold some duty towards the public. Even so, this doesn’t mean there’s no profit to be found from investing in documentary films. If done in a smart and organised way, it is possible to earn from your investments for years after the film is initially screened.


Films are investments and should be treated as such. The goal is to diversify and invest in a variety of films: both in terms of genre and the types of audiences they will attract. Similar rules apply to financing movies, and it’s important to remember that your projects might not need to make money right away. It’s perfectly fine to keep your eggs in multiple baskets, especially if you know the profits of one is likely to cover the costs of the others. 


It’s also important to acknowledge that investing in a documentary isn’t the same as investing in a business or stock. Movies have a role to play in their industry, but that isn’t to say they are guaranteed to make bank. Movies that garner praise from viewers can lead to eventual profit, but this is often a long and complicated road that requires patience and the funds to stay afloat in the meantime.

Faster Production Pace

There are ways to use your funds more effectively, such as reducing the costs of production and therefore rendering your investments more profitable. This can be done without affecting the movie’s most vital aspects. Creating separate production departments allows the film to be completed on two tracks at once, saving time and labour in the long term.

Unfinished Projects

It is also profitable to take on projects that are halfway through production. Many unfinished projects are perfect for pitch meetings, where creators showcase their work to investors.

The Role of Streaming

Another aspect of the business is streaming: a major player in the film industry today. Streaming services can put a portion of their funds towards the documentary film industry since they have other more mainstream projects capable of picking up the financial slack.


At the end of the day, the most important asset of any film is the creative talent and the personnel behind it. Investing in filmmakers should be at the front of your mind when taking on any new project. This will sometimes mean helping to promote and educate young filmmakers.


Investing in documentary films may not seem like an instantly lucrative model, but it can turn a profit: even in the face of new, major players such as Netflix and Disney+.