A Massive List of Summer 2015 Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About
It's summer, and if you've got the time, we've got another massive list of funding and career opportunities to get your next film off the ground!
The following grants, markets, and pitch opportunities are organized by deadline from July to early September. An asterisk next to the grant title (*) means that grant is open to both doc and narrative films. To find out more specifics on a grant, click on the title and get started.
If you're working on a documentary that touches on mountain culture or the environment, the MountainFilm Commitment Grant will support up to five filmmakers a year with $5,000. From MountainFilm:
Grants are awarded to filmmakers, photographers, artists and adventurers whose projects are intended to move audiences to action on issues that matter. Interested parties should apply if they’re creating a work that can be presented in a theater, gallery or more broadly on television and online. We are particularly looking for projects that will have a positive and tangible effect on specific and vital issues. It's also essential that the project is invested with both the passion and capacity to be completed fully.
Deadline: July 10
Growing each year, the organizers of Camden International Film Festival have expanded the Points North Fellowship for five lucky filmmakers to receive two All Access passes to the festival, four nights of accommodations and a stipend to subsidize their travel to Camden for the Points North Pitch and industry mentorship to launch their doc project. From CIFF:
The Points North Fellowship is a unique opportunity for five documentary filmmakers (or filmmaking teams) to develop their feature-length works-in-progress through a combination of focused industry mentorship, workshops, meetings and a public pitch session at the Camden International Film Festival.
Deadline: July 24
If you live in North Carolina or have a story set there, you could get $1,000 - $5,000 for development, production, or post-production from the SDF:
The Southern Documentary Fund seeks documentary films made in or about North Carolina for our annual filmmaking grants. These grants are made possible thanks to generous support from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.
Deadline: July 31
A core component of Sundance's Documentary Film Program, this competitive grant looks for artful films about relevant topics, and it can get you $20,000 to $50,000, depending on which area (Development, Production/PostProduction, Audience Engagement) you are applying for. From the Sundance Institute:
The Sundance Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display: artful film language, effective storytelling, originality and feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience. Preference is given to projects that convey clear story structure, higher stakes and contemporary relevance, forward going action or questions, demonstrated access to subjects, and quality use of film craft.
Deadline: August 3
If you are in the advanced stages of development, or in production or post-production on a creative documentary, you could score $25,000-$50,000 from the respected Tribeca Film Institure. From TFI:
The TFI Documentary Fund, presented by The Orchard, supports and furthers the development of exceptional character-driven, non-fiction works that spotlight contemporary themes with an original focus and bold, creative filmmaking. This fund allows TFI to financially support many audience-grabbing genres that fall under the documentary field.
Deadline: August 3
Not so much a grant as a co-production investment, ITVS puts in serious cash for documentaries, and while they don't give out feedback to all applicants anymore, they will do so if you make it to the second round. (Filmmakers have often said applying multiple times to Open Call is the only way to go!) From ITVS:
Open Call provides completion funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject, and from any viewpoint. Projects must have begun production as evidenced by a work-in-progress video. Open Call funding is only available to independent producers who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and its external territories.
Deadline: August 7 (opens July 10)
The National Endowment for the Humanities is the big daddy of government support for documentaries that address the humanities. The application process isn't easy (you need an experienced team, a non-profit organization or fiscal sponsor, two humanities advisors, and a lengthy application -- Ken Burns' project descriptions are rumored to have been around 40 pages) but the payoff is worth is: one to three year grants in the $100,000 to $650,000 range. From NEH:
NEH encourages projects that feature multiple formats to engage the public in the exploration of humanities ideas. Film and television projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas and drawing their content from humanities scholarship. They must be intended for national distribution. The program welcomes projects ranging in length from short-form to broadcast-length video.
Deadline: August 12
Like the above production grants, the development grants are for documentaries that address topics in the humanities, and the application process is just as extensive. The awards range from $40,000 to $75,000. From NEH:
Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script or a design document and should also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.
Deadline: August 12
The Alter-Ciné Foundation offers $10,000 (Canadian) to filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America with a documentary project in your native language that fits in with the aims of the Foundation. From Alter-Ciné:
The Alter-Ciné Foundation is inspired by this ethics. The Foundation offers a yearly grant to young film and video makers from Africa, Asia and Latin America to direct a documentary film on the theme of rights and freedoms, including social and economic rights, women’s rights, the right to culture and artistic creation.
Deadline: August 15
Hot Docs, one of the world's best documentary festivals, aims to support doc filmmakers that are citizens and residents of countries in continental Africa through funds and mentorship. From Hot Docs:
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is a grant program providing financial support to African documentary filmmakers for development and production. Development grants of $3000 - $10,000 CAD and Production grants of $5000 - $40,000 CAD are awarded to approximately four to 10 projects annually.
Deadline: August 19
If you're looking to develop an Australian documentary or co-production, you could get up to $30,000 for development from Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program assists experienced documentary makers to achieve planned outcomes for the development of their projects. This could include further research, writing the next draft of a script or treatment, strategic shooting and/or editing to attract marketplace development or production finance, or compiling a sizzle reel.
Deadline: August 21
If you're just starting out on a documentary, you know how hard it is to raise money for it in the beginning -- especially when you have nothing to show for it yet (because, hey, you need money to shoot!). The Catapult Film Fund will give you $5,000 to $20,000 to shoot enough footage so you can fundraise for the rest of the project. From Catapult:
Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes. Our mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their film projects to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find. We support powerful stories, and moving storytelling, across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives.
Deadline: August 21
If you're a film based in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and you're looking for either production or post-production support, Visions Sud Est can be good for 20,000 Swiss francs on narrative features and 10,000 Swiss francs for documentaries. From Visions Sud Est:
The Swiss fund Visions Sud Est was initiated by the Foundation trigon-film Baden and the Fribourg Film Festival, with the collaboration of Nyon's Visions du Reel and the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland.
Deadline: August 26
For documentary producers looking for a partner to help get your documentary made, try this program from Screen Australia:
The intention of the Producer program is to provide producers with the flexibility to drive projects both creatively and commercially, with Screen Australia funding as the foundation for growing and securing deals. The program is designed to support innovative documentaries with a strong creative vision in the context of today’s evolving media and distribution landscape and the commercial realities of increasingly fragmented sources of finance.
Deadline: September 18
The Scottish Documentary Institute is rapidly becoming a renowned force behind interesting documentaries coming out of the region, so if you're based in Scotland, the Consultancies are a good way to get your foot in the door. From SDI:
Scottish Documentary Institute is offering year-round submissions of Scottish documentary projects in development (shorts and features) to our Docscene project pool. The projects will then be steered towards forthcoming training programmes or other funding opportunities, depending on theme and scope: Seed Funding, Interdoc, the Edinburgh Pitch and prepared for other submissions to funders, meet markets or pitching forums. The aim is to improve quality of project development and increase the talent pool.
For documentary filmmakers that have an low-budget Australian doc looking for 20% of their funding, try this program from Screen Australia:
To be eligible, a project must have Significant Australian Content, be a documentary, having regard to the guidelines compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), be a single-episode program of at least a commercial half hour in length, or a series of at least two episodes each of which is at least a commercial half hour in length (interstitials or series of interstitials are not eligible), and be intended for distribution to the Australian public, with a clear and demonstrable path to audience...
This new fund offers £10,000-50,000 to doc filmmakers from any country in a mix of grants and investments. From BRITDOC:
The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.
If you have a social justice documentary at the rough cut stage, take a look at the JustFilms eligiblity to see if you can apply. (A few topics of docs that are not eligible: health, sports, early childhood, advocacy, educational, scientific.) If you are located internationally, see if you are in one of the ten places where the Ford Foundation has regional offices. From the Ford Foundation:
JustFilms focuses on film, video and digital works that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world...Beginning in 2011, we are investing $10 million a year over five years in documentary projects that address urgent social issues and help us understand our past, explore our present and build our future. Our goal is to expand the community of emerging and established filmmakers who often lack funding, and help them to realize their visions and reach audiences.
Since narrative film is based on a for-profit model (even a tenuous one) there are less grants and more potential investors than its documentary counterpart. However, grants are out there! If you find your project ineligible, there are also film co-production markets -- where you can meet and pitch your film to the financiers who are in a position to fund your film.
If you're a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, the Film Board of Canada has ten provinces that offer emerging filmmakers $3,000-$5,000 grants a year in technical services to complete your film. Deadlines depend on the province, so be sure to check them out individually. From NFBC:
The National Film Board’s mandate is to reflect Canadian values and perspectives through the production and distribution of innovative Canadian audiovisual works accessible in relevant media of today. The Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to help developing independent filmmakers complete their films/videos by providing technical services and support.
Deadline: June/July (check for your specific region)
Coinciding with the BFI London Film Festival, the PFM selects project to meet potential investors for films with a budget over €1 million, and has a parallel MicroMarket for films with budgets under that amount. From Film London:
The Production Finance Market (PFM) connects international producers and financiers to encourage new film financing relationships, and is the only event of its kind in the UK. The PFM is open to producers with feature film projects of €1m+ aimed at an international audience and for international financiers seeking new projects.
Deadline: July 3
If you're an Australian-based filmmaker, you have got to get in touch with Screen Australia! The government film agency throws down major funds low-budget features, documentaries, and large format programs. From Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program aims to assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.
Deadline: July 13
If you're making a film that touches on important issues and can be involved with the San Francisco film scene at some point between pre and post production, you could get $15,000-$50,000 to make it from the San Francisco Film Society! From SFFS:
The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants support feature narrative films that through plot, character, theme or setting explore human and civil rights, antidiscrimination, gender and sexual identity and other social issues of our time.The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant provides tangible encouragement and support to meaningful projects nationally that benefit and uplift the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. In addition to the cash grant, recipients receive various benefits through the Film Society's comprehensive and dynamic filmmaker services programs.
Deadline: Opens July 13
This Film London initiative is meant to warm-up low-budget features from emerging British filmmakers. This year, Film London is also offering development funding up to £10,000 along with production funding, distribution funding, and professional training. Six films will get £100,000 for production and additional support to make the films. From Film London:
This unique scheme doesn't just fund films; it offers the next generation of filmmakers a proven programme of training-through-production, as well as distribution support. Championing London's diverse and dynamic emerging filmmakers, we offer development funding for shortlisted projects, as well as production and distribution support to the eventual greenlit films.
Deadline: July 14
From financing forums, market meetings, networking, and fellowships & awards ranging between 1 - €4,000, the Pixel Market can be a great place to get your project up and running. From Power to the Pixel:
At The Pixel Market Meetings, 35 project teams will engage in a series of 1-2-1 business meetings with over 150 international financiers, commissioners and platforms from film, TV, online, mobile, games, interactive, publishing, live events, the arts and advertising. The Pixel Market Meetings day culminates in an awards reception where the following prizes will be awarded: ARTE International Pixel Market Prize, Cinekid Pixel Market Prize,IFP Pixel Market Prize. At The Pixel Market Finance Forum the top 8 projects out of 35 projects selected for The Pixel Market will present at The Pixel Market Finance Forum in front of a 400 strong live audience and to a panel of over 35 leading producing, finance and distribution experts.
Deadline: July 16
If you have a production company in Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus, or a German production company with a partner in one of those areas, you could get 80,000 EUR for your next narrative feature or documentary. From WCF:
Together with the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Foreign Ministry and German producers, the World Cinema Fund works to develop and support cinema in regions with a weak film infrastructure, while fostering cultural diversity in German cinemas. The World Cinema Fund supports films that could not be made without additional funding: films that stand out with an unconventional aesthetic approach, that tell powerful stories and transmit an authentic image of their cultural roots.
Deadline: July 16
If you have a film that has a strong connection to the Mediterranean, the Balkan regions, or Central Europe, this co-production forum might be for you. From Thessaloniki IFF:
CROSSROADS introduces producers and directors to a variety of industry professionals from all over the world. The programme is varied and provides the opportunity to meet, formally and informally, distributors, broadcasters, sales agents and consultants. CROSSROADS’ goal is to support the producers of feature-length fiction film projects that contain a link to the Mediterranean and Balkan regions as well as Central Europe. Qualifying features will be produced or co-produced by a country in this area or are movies that contain story elements based in these regions.
Deadline: July 31
For filmmakers with Arab background, you could get an average of $20,000 for development and scriptwriting, production and post-production of animation, documentary, experimental and narrative films in short, medium and feature lengths. From AFAC:
AFAC’s cinema funding is open to all kinds of film projects – short films, feature narratives, short documentaries, feature documentaries, animation and experimental film. AFAC offers funding for development/scripting, production and post-production. Projects applying for a development/ scripting grant are eligible for a maximum of $15,000 while projects applying for a production/ post-production grant are eligible for a maximum of $50,000.
Deadline: August 1
An intiative from the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam dedicated to funding script development by filmmakers from developing countries. Since the Fund started in 1988, well over 530 projects from independent filmmakers in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have received support. From IFFR:
A HBF Script and Project Development grant can be used for the further development of the script (e.g. research, writing, translation or hiring a coach or script consultant) but can also be used to present the project to financiers or other potential partners at (international) co-production meetings or film festivals. The maximum contribution for Script and Project development is €10.000.
Deadline: August 1
Additionally, HBF offers a post production fund dedicated to funding post work by filmmakers from developing countries. From IFFR:
A HBF Postproduction grant can be used for various activities in the post-production process (e.g. editing, colour grading or sound mixing). Please note that in return for post-production support, the HBF requests that the world premiere of the film takes place at IFFR. Also, the Fund requests the distribution rights for the Benelux. The maximum contribution of the HBF for this category is €20.000.
Deadline: August 1
If you are planning a production in Flanders, or thinking of co-producing with someone based their, the Flanders AudioVisual gets €12.5 million a year, and spends 78% of that money on film production. From VAF:
The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) supports audiovisual production in, as well as international co-productions with Flanders. The Fund was set up by the Flanders government in 2002 and is headquartered in Brussels. The aims of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund are threefold: to develop a sustainable audiovisual industry, to encourage and support upcoming audiovisual talent and to promote a vibrant audiovisual culture in Flanders.
Deadline: August 24
Have a 3D film in mind you're looking to get money for? The 3D Mart is the first international financing market just for stereoscopic 3D! From 3DFM:
3DFM is open to experienced S-3D producers, and to persons with demonstrated artistic abilities in other domains. Wherever you are in the world, you are invited to submit your qualifying project(s)! All participants registered can attend the pitches, and they can network with the international producers, financiers, sales agents, distributors, and co-producers present at the market. The selection committee examines the projects, and then assigns each qualifying project either to an oral presentation/pitch to financiers and co-producers, or to a poster presentation.
Deadline: August 31
If you're looking to get your film seen, and possibly financed, by the international film community, CineMart, hosted by the prestigious International Rotterdam Film Festival, is the place to be. Each year, CineMart chooses about 35 projects in need of financing. From IFFR:
Each year, CineMart invites a select number of directors/producers to present their film projects to co-producers, funds, sales agents, distributors, TV stations and other potential financiers. Over the years, more than 454 CineMart selected films have been completed and launched.
Deadline: September 1 (opens Aug 1)
An HBF spotlight on co-productions with filmmakers from developing countries, especially those with only one or two films to their credit. From IFFR:
The funding is designed for international co-productions, in which at least one European and one non-European producer is involved and the maximum amount awarded per project is € 55.000.
Deadline: September 1
The Jerome Foundation has a good track record of supporting filmmakers in New York and Minnesota with innovative artistic sensibilities. From JF:
The Jerome Foundation’s Film and Video Grant Program is a production grant program for individual film and video artists who work in the genres of experimental, narrative, animation, and documentary production. Applicants must reside in one of the five boroughs and must be emerging artists whose work shows promise of excellence.
An interesting take on granting, Nextpix/Firstpix will fund films with a budget under $250k that are the first or second film by a director and are crowdfunding part of that budget. From N/FCG:
Rather than fund on a pre-determined cycle, we will accept queries from any film that is being crowfunded at any point during the year. Once we’ve received your query please give us 30 days to respond. The film should have a positive humanitarian message.
A new start-up aimed at making a LinkedIn type of networking platform specifically for filmmakers, they are giving away $5k each month to selected features or shorts:
Our mission is to help film and media makers create more work. We’re giving away up to $5,000 in grants each month. Projects can be at any stage.
If you are a student or a low-budget indie, Panavision might supply you with free camera packages. From Panavision:
The New Filmmaker Program loans film or digital camera packages (based on availability) to filmmakers for student thesis films, “low-budget” independent features, showcase reels, Public Service Announcements, or any other type of short not-for-profit project.
If you are a UK-based writer with a focus on content for chidlren, then you could be one of three projects selected for a BAFTA showcase and industry introductions for this particular call. From Rocliffe:
Shortlisted writers will go on to be involved in a wide range of development opportunities including workshops and events. BAFTA & Rocliffe are looking for new talent that demonstrate industry potential. As part of the partnership with The London Book Fair, a writer from one of the three projects will be taken to MIP Junior in Cannes in October 2015 with all travel and hotel expenses paid. The recipient of this prize will be selected by London Book Fair.
Deadline: July 4 (early), July 27 (final)
If you're an Australian-based screenwriter, check out this Story Lab to workshop your project and possibly get it into production. From Werner:
The Story Lab workshop will provide a solid creative foundation for the selected writer to develop market ready materials, including a pitch bible and first draft pilot episode. If funded into production, it is WFP’s intention that the selected writer will be engaged to work on the series in a key creative role.WFP wants to work closely with Australian writers to bring to life, the most unique, compelling and entertaining passion projects.
Deadline: July 10
The Hearst Screenwriting Grant from the San Francisco Film Society doles out $15,000 to a screenwriter with a promising treatment and first ten pages. From SFFS:
The SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant is given to a mid-career screenwriter who has been a practicing writer for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay. The grant is open to writers residing in the United States whose project expresses both a unique personal perspective and an artistic approach to the subject. Priority is given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have been produced as an independent film.
Deadline: July 8 (early), July 15 (late)
If you haven't earned any major dough a screenplay, here's your chance to win $5,000 and get your script recognized for its compelling narrative by Francis Ford Coppola! From American Zoetrope:
The winner and ten finalists will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor, CAA, The Gersh Agency, Exile Entertainment, ICM, Oasis Media, UTA, The Radmin Company, Prolific Entertainment, Energy Entertainment, and Dontanville/Frattaroli. Their scripts will be considered for film option and development by leading production companies, including: American Zoetrope, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Entertainment, Paramount Classics, Lionsgate...The contest's aim is to seek out and encourage compelling film narratives, and to introduce the next generation of great screenwriters to today's leading production companies and agencies.
Deadline: August 3 (regular), September 14 (late)
With prizes ranging from $15k for Best Feature, $10k for Best Short, as well as sums for UK scripts and International scripts, the BlueCat Screenplay Competition could mean some handsome sums for a lucky few. For those who don't win, everyone gets written analysis. From BlueCat:
Every year, BlueCat provides a community for the unknown screenwriter to develop their work, giving undiscovered talent a path to professional success. BlueCat accepts both feature length and short screenplays, and in keeping with our longstanding tradition, every screenplay will receive one written analysis, with our best screenplays receiving over $40,000 in cash prizes.
Deadline: September 1 (to get a written analysis by October 1)
For writers with a script that has real science, math, or technology in it (note: not science fiction) the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation can give you funds to either develop your idea or take your script to the next level under the guidance of Sundance. From the Sundance Institute on the partnership:
Only one of each is awarded each year. We are looking for a diversity of stories that not only highlight science (which can include math, technology, and medical research) as a central component, but also go beyond that thematically to engage us with strong characters and resonant themes. While biopics and historical films are welcome, we also encourage you to think outside the traditional mold of what a science film is, and to think in terms of using the science/technology as a backdrop to stories about individuals, how it influences their lives, relationships, and unique perspectives.
Deadline: Early September TBA
Best of luck!
Do you know of a summer grant that’s not listed here that should be? Please let us know in the comments so we can add it to the list! And, if you go to any markets or apply to grants, let us know about your experiences!
- A Massive List of Spring 2015 Grants Every Filmmaker Should Know About -- No Film School
- A Massive List of Fall 2014 Grants Every Filmmaker Should Know About -- No Film School
- A Massive List of Winter 2014 Grants Every Filmmaker Should Know About -- No Film School
- Grants — Funds For Writers
- IFP’s Guide to Granting Organizations — IFP
- POV’s Documentary Funding Resources — PBS
- Britdoc Documentary Film Funds Guide 2015