RECAP: How To Produce A Film in Philly

This Filmmaker’s Workshop held October 28, 2021 was aimed at storytellers in Philadelphia who would like to turn their film idea into a reality? It was presented with out friends at the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. [ See Video Excerpts Below]

The workshop provided  information needed to create a production company, lay the foundation for your accounting, connect you with the right organizations for a commercial license and give you a heads up on the legal issues you and your productions may confront.

The Panel addressed the following topics:

  • What business items do I need in place to be a legitimate production company and to be able to hire cast and crew?
  • How do I get permits for locations, shutting down streets or public areas?
  • Do I need to notify anybody of my production?
  • How can I make my filmmaking sustainable?
  • What kind of insurance do I need?
  • How would I set up my production company as a small business?
  • Do I need a physical office, an EIN? What tax stuff do I need to establish?
  • When and what do I need to negotiate with unions like SAG?
  • Are there any city, regional, federal discounts that I can take advantage of?
  • Are there any city/state fees or taxes I need to know about?
  • How to set up accounting for investors vs. donations?
  • Should I get a fiscal sponsorship?

The presenters did an admirable job answering the attendees questions and made themselves available for follow up.  This is a very short (15min) excerpt of the workshop.  Stay tuned for access to the entire evening on Vimeo soon.


Sophie HengSophie Heng | Business Development Manager, Creative Economy
Sophie has over 11 years of experience working in the public sector. In her current capacity, Sophie is focused on the implementation of economic development initiatives for the City including business attraction and retention efforts for the Creative Economy.

Joan Bressler| Director, Greater Philadelphia Filmmakers and ProgrammingJoan Bressler
the Greater Philadelphia Film Office’s program that supports local filmmakers.


Susan ReissSusan Reiff | Asst. Production Coordinator, Office Manager, and Exec. Asst. at GPFO Susan focuses her efforts on helping productions film in the area.


Sekou headshotSekou Campbell | Entertainment Lawyer
Sekou  represents intellectual creatives, including artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profits, to form and govern their businesses.

Eboni HeadshotModerator: Eboni Zamani | SIFTMedia 215 member, filmmaker, entrepreneur, and journalist.

Download PDF for this How to Produce a Film in Philly Workshop

This workshop is supported by the Independence Public Media Foundation.

SIFTMedia 215, a Black & Latinx Women Filmmakers Collective of Philadelphia, was awarded $215,000 for operating expenses from The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) as part of their initiative to support organizations that lift up storytelling and creative expression as pathways for communities building power.

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