A Massive List of Fall 2016 Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About
A new season of grant deadlines are in, and now is the time to start applying!
I need money, you need money, we all need money for our films. Below find all the cash that autumn has to offer. As usual, for scriptwriters, contests reign supreme; documentary is abound with funds for socially relevant stories; and narrative film funds lean heavily on pitches and labs (If you're a narrative filmmaker, don't forget to follow this up with our breakdown of where to shoot for the best tax incentives to boot!)
The following grants, labs, and pitch opportunities are organized by deadline from September through early December, and by category for documentaries, narratives and screenwriting. If you're looking for a head-start on a different granting season, we also have our most recent spring grants here, summer grants here, and winter grants here.
An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative. To find out more specifics on a grant, click on the title and get started.
If you have a socially-relevant series that you’d love to develop with the likes of Participant Media or Pivot, check this new initiative out. From NYTVF:
For the first time ever, NYTVF is partnering with Participant Media and Pivot on Works for Progress, a unique development program designed to discover passionate indie television artists with projects that inspire social change. The program is open to completed projects and works-in-progress from scripted, documentary, and digital creators across the spectrum and is accepting produced pilots/series, scripts, and documentary series/sizzle reels for consideration.
Deadline: September 8
This year, the Panicaro Foundation started underwriting a feature film subsection of the previous CrossCurrent Doc Fund. Now, one emerging filmmaker (under 35 with less than 3 directing credits) can get $30,000 CAD towards their feature. From Hot Docs:
The Theatrical Stream of the CrossCurrents Doc Fund provides grants of up to $30,000 CAD to one or more projects in production each year. This grant will support a new range of filmmakers with auteur driven stories from underrepresented and marginalized communities from around the world. This can reflect up to 50 per cent of the project’s production budget.
Deadline: September 21
For filmmakers with an undergraduate degree and a desire to travel for a year to film stories that fall into the themes of the 2017-2018 application, this fellowship could be for you. From Fulbright:
The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship was launched in 2013 as a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. It provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in one, two, or three countries on a globally significant theme. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.
Deadline: October 13
If you're looking to pitch your documentary to Europe's leading commissioning editors, this networking workshop could be for you. From Eurodoc:
Some participants attending the workshops will come from the documentary departments of the broadcasters or from institutions defending, promoting and funding documentary productions. This will fulfill a long-lasting objective, that of decompartmentalisation of relations between producers, broadcasters and funding partners. These participants greatly contribute to the work of the group. Being in contact with their future partners, understanding their points of view and constraints can be very enlightening to the producers.
Deadline: October 14
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: October 24 (for December 16 decision)
For films that reflect the complexity of the LGBTQ community, this grant offers up to $5,000 for finishing funds. From Frameline:
This program seeks to provide a much-needed source of financial contributions to artists who often struggle to secure funding to complete their works. Grants up to $5,000 are available for the completion of films that represent and reflect LGBTQ life in all its complexity and richness.
Deadline: October 31
California Humanities offers grants from the California Documentary Project are intended for films that have some kind of connection to California and strengthen the understanding of the humanities for the state, and range up to $10,000. From CalHum:
CDP Research and Development grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions in their earliest stages. Projects must actively involve at least three humanities advisors to help frame and contextualize subject matter throughout the research and development phase.
Deadline: November 1
If you have a work-in-progress for a film that features humanities in the state of California, the CalHum CDP Production grant can range up to $50,000. From CalHum:
CDP Production grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions and help propel projects toward completion. Projects must be in the production stage, have a work-in-progress to submit, and actively involve at least two humanities advisors to help frame and contextualize subject matter throughout the production process.
Deadline: November 1
For filmmakers based in California, Washington, or Oregon, this grant offers $1-$10K to emerging documentarians. From PPF:
To support emerging documentary filmmakers. The term "emerging" is intended to denote a person committed to the craft of making documentaries, who has demonstrated that commitment by several years—but no more than ten—of practical film or video experience.
Deadline: December 1
Ten documentaries at the rough-cut stage are chosen for Film Independent's mentorship program that includes exposure to industry professionals, a pass to the LA Film Festival, and year-round mentorship. Some lucky lab attendees will also walk away with around $25K in finishing funds. From FIND:
Through a series of meetings and workshops, the Documentary Lab provides creative feedback and story notes to participating filmmakers, while helping them to strategize for the completion, distribution, and marketing of their films.
Deadline: December 7 (opens October)
New this year, HotDocs and the Rogers Foundation have founded the $1-million Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund to support Canadian documentary filmmakers. From HotDocs:
Over the coming 10 years, production grants will be distributed to Canadian documentary filmmakers. Up to $35,000 will be granted to three or four projects each year.
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-$50K, depending on the application type (Development, Production/PostProduction, Audience Engagement). 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.
If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support outreach and audience engagement strategies to an average $10-$25K. From the Fledgling Fund:
Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable.
This new fund offers £10-50K 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, and bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.
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.
The Jerome Foundation supports filmmakers in New York and Minnesota. This year, they are transitioning away from a rolling deadline for New York, so take a look at their site to fully understand the new plan. From Jerome Foundation:
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.
Deadline: Rolling and/or September 1
You might consider this fund which invests and subsidizes script development, documentaries, and feature films if your film has a Danish co-producer. (Read more about how to work with an international co-producer here.) From DVF:
We support films, documentaries, television series and multimedia productions including international co-productions. Support is given to artistically interesting productions which further the strengthening of the film industry in the region. Financial support is provided in the form of subsidies and/or investments.
Deadline: September 6 (for November 7 response)
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 a great place to be. This year CineMart is happening from January 29 to February 1. From IRFF:
Our international co-production market offers a selection of 25 carefully curated feature film projects—independent art- house films with market potential. CineMart was the first platform of its kind to offer filmmakers the opportunity to launch their ideas to the international film industry and to find the right connections to get their projects financed. CineMart heralds an important start of the 'film year'.
Deadline: September 16
For producers looking to join and co-produce with a network of other European producers, this workshop could be valuable. There are also several scholarships to offset the fees to attend. From EAVE:
EAVE is aimed at producers, both fiction and documentary, who are already working in the film and television industries who wish to begin to operate on a European wide basis by increasing their knowledge of producing and co-producing in Europe and by building up a pan European professional network. We also welcome applications from associated branches of the industry – e.g. commissioning, funding, legal and finance, festivals & markets, media administration. Each year fifty participants are selected from most of the EU countries and beyond and take part in three one-week long workshops.
Deadline: September 16
Any filmmaker who is attached to an as-of-yet un-produced feature can apply to Film Independent's five week mentorship program that includes exposure to industry professionals, a pass to the LA Film Festival, and year-round mentorship. From FIND:
Under the guidance of established industry professionals who serve as Creative Advisors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions, and select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop. Each director then casts actors and rehearses their scenes in the Lab before undertaking a mini-production: Film Independent provides Fellows with digital camera, lighting and sound packages and small stipends to shoot their scenes, and offers access to experienced casting directors, cinematographers, and editors with whom to collaborate and consult. The process creates an opportunity to see the work through from pre- to post-production, and culminates in a group screening for fellow Lab participants and Advisors.
Deadline: September 26 (Oct 10 for FIND members)
Brought to you by ScreenCraft and Bondit, if you’ve got a short script or a short film at the early stages of production, you could score $5-$20K in financing and production services. From ScreenCraft:
Every 4 months, at least one filmmaker will be awarded this production grant of up to $20,000 in production funds. We announce the winner(s) 6 weeks after each final deadline.
Deadline: September 30
This fall, Roy Dean Grant will give out $3K in cash and over $30K of in-kind services and products, and is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500,000. From FTHP:
We fund compelling stories about little known subjects, historical films, and films that touch hearts. We like films that expose, and bring, important information to light; as well as films about little known people when there is a good story.
Deadline: September 30
Taking place from December 12 -15, the 3D Mart is now the New 3D Film Booster for those working in 3D Stereoscopic films or VR. From 3DFM:
The 3D Film Booster (3DFB) is an international training and pitching event dedicated to stereoscopic-3D (S-3D) projects for cinema and virtual reality (VR). 3DFB is the new formula of the former 3D Content Financing Market, initially launched in 2011 under the sponsorship of the MEDIA Program of the European Commission, which provided partial financial support for the first two years. 3DFB is the only program of its kind anywhere in the world.
Deadline: September 30
Presented by NISI MASA, the European Network of Young Cinema, this pitch session offers an international short film screenwriter between 18-35 years old a scriptwriting residency workshop and co-production forum. From ESP:
Selected on the basis of their short film projects, 16 European talents gather to discuss, rewrite, and learn to promote their stories on a European level with the support of 4 tutors. They eventually pitch their projects in front of a panel of professionals: over 55 producers, financiers, buyers, and distributors. European Short Pitch aims to bring young European talents into the spotlight, give them a high-end promotion opportunity, and develop short film coproduction in Europe. This initiative is about enhancing economic viability and European visibility for short film projects.
Deadline: October 21 (opens October 1)
For films that incorporate dance, the DFA could award $2,500 towards your project as well as dedicated space at the DFA office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. From DFA:
DFA recognizes that funding is crucial at all stages of film production. Whether you need to write a script, pay for a location, or secure an editing suite, our Production Grant can help you secure resources. We encourage creativity in your submission application, but require a detailed budget. Feel free to use this opportunity to relay your film’s tone and aesthetic.
Deadline: Opens October, Typically closes November 11
For films with a science or technology (but not sci-fi) element, three to six filmmakers will get funds from $10-$65K for development, production, or post-production. From TFI:
The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund provides grants and professional guidance in support of innovative and compelling scripted features or series that offer a fresh take on scientific, mathematic and technological themes. In addition to financial support, grantees will receive professional guidance and mentorship through the Tribeca Film Institute, as dictated by the unique needs and status of the project and the level of experience of the filmmaking team. This ancillary support may include project notes, networking assistance, and exposure to financing and distribution executives.
Deadline: November 6 (opens September 6)
In addition to getting $15,000, five U.S. based narrative filmmakers and five U.S. documentary filmmakers will work with TFI to develop professional relationships within the film industry. From TFI:
Tribeca All Access® seeks feature-length narrative and documentary submissions from established and emerging filmmakers whose team includes a director, producer or screenwriter from a community that is statistically underrepresented in the film industry. Projects may be in any stage of development, from treatment/screenplay to post-production. Projects of any genre and or budget range are welcome to apply.
Deadline: November 6 (opens September 6)
TFI's Latin America Fund offers up to $12,000 for films of any genre that push the boundaries of artistic storytelling. From TFI:
The TFI Latin America Fund supports innovative filmmakers living and working in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America who are working on feature-length scripted, documentary or doc-fiction hybrid films. Funded films are story-driven and in the advanced stages of development, production or post-production with no existing US or Latin American distribution in place. Whether through unconventional forms or more traditional means, selected storytellers are encouraged to invent, explore and redefine visions and stories that reflect their diverse cultures.
Deadline: November 6 (opens September 6)
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 for low-budget features, documentaries, and large format programs, including up to 65% of your feature film budget if it meets the criteria. From Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production program aims to support a diverse slate of Australian films for theatrical release that entertain and enlighten domestic and international audiences while reflecting the unique characteristics of Australian identity.
Deadline: September 16 (for November 25 decision)
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.
Brought to you by the renowned Berlinale Festival, this funds directors from regions with a "weak film infrastructure" (Africa, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus) who have a German partner. From Berlinale:
The World Cinema Fund supports films in distribution, 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.
If you've got a short film, music video, or feature with a woman helming the DP role, Digital Bolex might loan you $10K worth of gear and accessories. From Digital Bolex:
The relationship between a director and cinematographer is the most important on any film set, and the most famous director/cinematographer pairs have collaborative relationships spanning decades. We would like to see women cinematographers and directors involved in that kind of intimate collaborative process, and hope that we can start to help move our industry in that direction.
If you have a project—particularly one at the early stages—on which the writer, director, or producer is a woman, person of color, or member of the LGBTQ community, consider applying for this new BVEW opportunity. From BVEW:
Selected projects will receive significant discounts (15%-75%) from vendors and service providers nationwide to create savings in all stages of production, including AbelCine, Hive Lighting, Gotham Stages, and Nice Shoes. Recipients will be granted access to an exclusive Distribution Lab, presented in both NY and LA, focusing on audience building and distribution strategies. Participating companies include Lionsgate Films, FilmRise, Seed & Spark, VHX, Zeitgeist Films, and Cinetic. In addition, our sister company Big Vision Creative will choose several projects per year to co-produce and/or represent for distribution.
If you are a student or a low-budget indie maker, 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 have a fresh take on or re-interpretation of an iconic character, you could win $100,000 in production funding to make it with Adi Shankar. From ScreenCraft:
Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe has teamed up with ScreenCraft Media and Buffalo 8 Productions to produce the winning story or short screenplay as a short film, to be distributed to millions of fans worldwide on Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe YouTube channel with over 30 million views to date.
Deadline: September 5 (early), October 1 (final)
This program is by nomination only, but if you feel you are qualified and you are affiliated with one of the many organizations that can nominate (such as NALIP, Women In Film, NYFA, Film Independent, and the Sundance Institute), you could give a little nudge. From FOX:
The Intensive is designed to introduce experienced writers with unique voices, backgrounds, life and professional experiences that reflect the diverse perspectives of the audiences Fox creates for to a wide range of Fox showrunners, writers, directors, screenwriters and creative executives. These collective individuals will work with the selected writers in a series of master classes to build on both their general craft and further their skillsets in the business of writing for television, feature films and digital content. Please note that while employment cannot be guaranteed, every aspect of the initiative is designed with a goal — to provide the accepted finalists with intensive creative and professional development, exposure and opportunity that would best equip him or her to succeed at Fox.
Deadline: Typically September, TBA
The competition associated with the Cinequest Film Festival offers $5,000 for the winning feature script, and $1,000 for a short/teleplay as well as recognition during the Writers Celebration at the fest. From Cinequest:
The Cinequest Screenwriting Competition continues to empower global connectivity between screenwriters, filmmakers, producers, and innovators. Cinequest loves writers, and we welcome you to submit your screenplay or teleplay to our renowned competition. The Top 10 Finalists receive many empowering benefits including: VIP All Access passes to the Cinequest Film Festival and exclusive Writers Celebration, plus exposure to leading industry players and inspiring luminaries.
Deadline: September 23 (regular deadline)
If you are a UK-based writer with a feature or short, this could be a nice chance to get your work showcased by professional actors and directors, to help get a foothold in the Industry. From Rocliffe:
Three projects will be selected to be showcased at an event at BAFTA and given industry introductions. Forum List 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.
Deadline: September 27
We’re looking for action movies and carefully crafted thrillers. Whether you have a tense thriller or a big, effects-driven action film, we want to read your screenplay.
Deadline: October 20
Keep an eye on our Grants, Contests & Awards section where we will be sharing new opportunities that come up throughout the season.
Do you know of a grant or other opportunity that's not listed here? Share it in the comments!