Boy, I sure could use $50,000 to $200,000 for my next film, how about you? Starting July 15th, the big daddy of documentary grants is opening their application process: the MacArthur Foundation Media Program. But this Documentary Film Open Call is highly competitive and very specific. So specific, that it might just hurt your brain to go over all of said specifics. So to ease the pain, I took the liberty of creating a snappy flow chart that is no less confusing, but hey, it might help you figure out if your project could be the next MacFound superstar.
Having spent a lot of time applying for grants I didn't get, I can offer no help with how to get them, but rather, whether you should apply or not.
That is correct: no biographies, no historical docs, no first timers, and it should align with one of MacFound’s current initiatives. A lot of requirements, but if you fit, you could be up for some serious cash! If you made it past this gauntlet and are seriously thinking of applying by the final deadline --July 31, 2013 -- check out the MacArthur guidelines for yourself. (Let's face it, the above chart may or may not be entirely foolproof.) Finally, here is MacArthur Foundation's overall pitch for 200,000 smackers:
The MacArthur Foundation's Media Program supports the production of documentary films that illuminate human stories within complex social issues. These issues are often critical to our lives, but under-reported in other media. We especially look to fund projects designed to reach a broad audience, particularly in the U.S., through public television broadcast, via community and policymaker screenings, and online.
MacArthur grantees have churned out films like Electoral Dysfunction and Seeking Refuge,so if that sounds like you, good luck. And if you have gotten a grant from a fine institution such as the MacArthur Foundation, please tell us how you did it!