Financial Struggles A Documentary Filmmaker Faces by Crime + Punishment’s Stephen Maing

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: Steve in an interview with the Sundance Institute you said you believe there is no financial incentive to draw the documentary process out past a year but obviously this [film CRIME + PUNISHMENT] took four years to make. I’m wondering how are you able to put in four years of time and not run out? Or did you run out of money several times and have to apply for grants?

Stephen Maing, filmmaker of CRIME + PUNISHMENT: Yes, I think most people working in non-fiction are finding themselves in situations that are shooting for years in order to prove to funders that they have a credible story or kind of like a proof of concept on hand. You hear it many times, you submit grant applications or to funders and they’ll say Well, come back when you have more, this looks really interesting to the point where people want rough cuts of work. It’s really a difficult path to finish an independent documentary because you are expending all of your personal savings or resources. Everybody is accruing (or most people are accruing) massive amounts of personal debt on credit cards and what not and so it’s very hard to justify.

Image courtesy of Crime + Punishment Movie

But yet when you feel like you are finding yourself in the crux of a kind of, perhaps never-before-seen story or access to individuals who have not had their stories told, that’s a compelling reason to find any reason to continue shooting. Luckily to be able to freelance in film for other projects was thankfully a way to sustain myself when times were tight. And then ultimately I was able to get funding thankfully from these really amazing organizations and individuals.

Watch the video on Youtube here


Image courtesy of Crime + Punishment Movie – NYPD 12 Walking To Their 2016 NBC Interview


Amidst a landmark class action lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, Crime + Punishment chronicles the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest and summons in New York City. A highly intimate and cinematic experience with unprecedented access, Crime + Punishment examines the United States’ most powerful police department through the brave efforts of a group of active duty officers and one unforgettable private investigator who risk their careers and safety to bring light to harmful policing practices which have plagued the precincts and streets of New York City for decades.





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