An Independent Film Company

Our-Town Project

The Our-Town Project was developed by ZaLahta Films as a means of assisting local community organizations in raising funds.

It is a unique partnership arrangement where we combine our documentary film making abilities with your knowledge of your community, to create a documentary about your town, its history, and its people. Your group's members will then sell copies of the finished documentary to raise money for your organization.

It is one of the most interesting, fun and creative ways you will discover to raise funds, but it is not without effort on your part. You will need to make the commitment to do a lot of the preparation for shooting a documentary, and then assisting with the shoot, along with marketing and selling the finished product. If this sounds like it might be for you and your group, please continue reading below ( there is a lot of text on this page, but we want you to have a pretty clear idea of what you'd be getting into if you apply and are selected).


From the applications we receive, we will pick up to 10 community groups per year as potential participants. (Some of the selection criteria can be seen at the bottom of this page.)

If your group is selected we will assign a scriptwriter to work specifically on your project. That writer will conduct extensive research on your town, and in the process will be in frequent communication with your group's contacts (that you will provide on your application form).

Your group will be expected to take advantage of your members' expertise and community contacts, playing an active role in gathering the necessary information that we will need to write the script.

Your unique position in your community will also enable you to provide historical photographs, documents, and names of knowledgeable people in the community who would be willing to share their knowledge on camera.

After we have written the script (note: script changes are to be expected while shooting) and have lined up interviews, shooting locations, and acquired any necessary permits, we'll show up in your town ready to begin shooting.

Because all production costs are covered before your group begins to make any money on the project, we work very hard to keep these costs low. This means the "crew" that shows up will be a skeleton crew (it could be just one person, as long as you've notified us that you will provide a sufficient number of assistants). We will expect your group to provide at minimum 5 fast-learning, tireless people who are willing to devote a few days to working directly with us in filming. The more help you provide the fewer expenses we will incur and that translates into more money for your group.


The marketing of the final product is also a mutual effort, but this is the aspect of the project where you really take the lead.

Just like with other fund raising activities, you will be selling to other community members. But with this project, you will be providing a unique product that the buyer actually wants and couldn't acquire from any other source. The desirability of the product will make selling a relatively simple task.


While shooting we keep a detailed log of our expenses. We only consider the expenses of travel, shooting, lodging and related costs. We do not "expense" our studio time nor the cost of the first ZaLahta Films employee on site. (If you provide enough assistants, we will not need to provide more than one employee, and so no personnel costs will be considered an expense to your project).

After we have selected your group for participation, your group's legal representative will be asked to sign a contract stipulating that you will sell a minimum number of copies of the documentary (the estimated number needed to reach the break-even point).

To help offset the initial cost, and to offer a unique opportunity to advertisers in your community, you can elect to sell advertising space in, or even sponsorship for, the project.

All revenue will first be applied to expenses associated with the shoot, reproduction and related costs. After those costs are covered, each additional sale will net your group about $7.

It's that easy. If your group sells 1,000 copies, your groups take could be $7000 or more. And we will be selling them too. All sales of your documentary from our website will also earn you the same amount as if you made the sale yourself.

And we will keep selling your documentary for the foreseeable future, and you can too, stretching this project into a multi-year revenue generator.

Plus, we retain all rights to the finished product, and will pursue selling the rights to air the documentary (you might be on local or national television). If we are successful in this pursuit you will share in any funds we receive that are directly related to your documentary.

If you are committed to making this work, and have the right blend of members to provide what we'll need, this might be the perfect opportunity for your group.

Below are some of the criteria we consider when selecting groups for participation:

The size of your community.
The number of members in your group.
The number of assistants you are willing to commit to providing.
The estimate of the number of copies of the product you believe you will be able to sell.
The interesting aspects of your community.
The number of "experts" you believe you can provide.
Your ability to provide historical photographs, video clips, etc.
The number of other groups that have agreed to work cooperatively with you/us on this .
project (historical society, government officials, chamber of commerce, etc.) .
How much fun we think we'll have with your group (we like fun).

Pendleton, Oregon