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The Filmmaker fund

About the Fund

In the spirit of fostering great work, the Filmmaker Fund is committed to both proven and emerging filmmakers with assistance at every stage of production and post-production.  Primarily, our role is to remove the obstacles that lie in the way of great work.  From early stage funding, through production, to a DCP, it is our aim to alleviate artistic encumbrances.

To be selected as a project of the Filmmaker Fund is to have a partner in the entirety of the journey.  That includes grants of up to $75K as well as access to low cost DCP services, an invitation to Sonoma retreats, festival navigation and distribution strategy. 


Who's Involved

David Eckles - Founder & Business Director

David brings the practicality of running a large business to running a foundation. Breaking away from corporate culture at a young age, David believed that he could create a different business model in his field of expertise.  That willingness to roll the dice led to the creation of the Helm Financial Corporation in 1980.  Ultimately, as the Chairman and CEO of Helm, David ran a nationwide rail company that leased almost twenty five thousand locomotives and freight cars.  Since selling Helm in 2005, David has devoted his business acumen to philanthropy, including, but not limited to, his own private foundation.  Since 2013, that foundation has been committed to funding documentary films that make vital social statements.

Minette Nelson - Founder

For fifteen years Minette honed her production skills creating commercials for national and multi-national clients. Her work has been profiled in Advertising Age, Ad Week and New York Magazine. She turned her expertise towards the non profit sector as a marketing consultant, writer and producer and has served on the boards of several organizations. She is currently on the Advisory Board of DocLands (CA Film Institute) and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. In 2012, shortly after forming a documentary film fund with philanthropist David Eckles she approached Director Marc Silver with the story that became 3 1/2 Minutes - Ten Bullets. It premiered at Sundance 2015 and was broadcast on HBO. She has also been an Associate Producer and Executive Producer on other films supported by The Filmmaker Fund.

George M. Rush is an attorney who has practiced law since 2001. George received his JD from University of California Hastings College of the Law (2000) and received his undergraduate degree in English from University of California at Berkeley (1996). He is dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers, stewarding them in the business and legal issues to make films both commercial and artistic successes. His clients include producers, directors, screen-writers and investors in development, production and distribution phases of filmmaking.

George also produces films, including: Entertainment (Sundance 2015), directed by Rick Alverson and starring Gregg Turkington and John C. Reilly, set for release in 2015; Ping Pong Summer, directed by Michael Tully and starring Susan Sarandon and Lea Thompson (Sundance 2014); The Informant, a documentary directed by Jamie Meltzer (2012 Doc NYC Grand Jury Prize Winner); and 4th and Goal, a documentary directed by Nina Gilden Seavey (2010).

Amal Murgian was born in Kenya and educated in the UK and the US. Her career in management, consulting and finance brings a balance to the creative work of filmmaking that she innately responds to. In addition to her private asset management position she sits on the board of Winton Capital Management and Chase Bank Kenya. Long involved in philanthropic work both in the US and Africa, her artiistic bent lends itself to the work that documentary does so well - championing issues, underdogs and the art of cinematic storytelling.