A Massive List of Spring 2015 Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About
The No Film School list of Spring grant deadlines is back for 2015 with new deadlines, program changes, and more grants than ever.
Spring is the color of green: fresh green leaves, green grass, and green dollar bills for your next film project if you get cracking on the deadlines below!
The following opportunities are organized by Documentary, Narrative, or Screenwriting, and are in order of deadline from March to May. 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.
A sequel location of a popular pitch session where selected films get to pitch their projects in front of an array of funding agencies. From Good Pitch:
Good Pitch² loved Australia so much in 2014, it's coming back in 2015! We have raised over $11,000,000 so far but only 74% of projects received that funding, on a scale from just $5,000 up to $1.4m. We can't promise to connect filmmakers to funding, and if that's all you need then Good Pitch isn't for you. But we can promise to help you develop your impact ideas, research the landscape and connect you first to the community of like-minded filmmakers and then to a world of potential partners and advocates.
Deadline: March 4
Submit your rough cut to be a part of the illustrious IFP lab for a year-long mentorship program that supports first time filmmakers. From IFP:
Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers.
Deadline: March 7
This well curated PBS series offers a handsome sum for broadcast distribution of films each season. From PBS:
Independent Lens is currently seeking submissions of films in advanced rough cut or fine cut stage or completed films to broadcast during the October 2014 - June 2015 season.
Deadline: March 27
Each year, the PLDF awards $15,000 – $25,000 each to a handful of documentaries about pressing issues in the United States. From the PLDF:
Grants will be made to up to 6 projects that tell a compelling story and focus on one of Pare Lorentz’s central concerns—the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.
Deadline: March 31
A grant that funds part of the budget for Native American stories that appeal to broad audiences. From VMM:
We're particularly looking for stories that advance CPB's initiatives--The American Graduate, and Women & Girls Lead. Awards for research and development range from $5,000 to $20,000; awards for production or completion can be up to $100,000; and, new media awards range from $5,000 to $35,000. Projects should be accessible to a broad audience, have the potential for a national broadcast, and be used for effective outreach/community engagement activities to reach audiences beyond a Public Television broadcast.
Deadline: March 18
This joint initiative between Bertha Foundation and BRITDOC is the first European based fund between £5,000 - £50,000 open to filmmakers from anywhere with outreach campaigns. From BRITDOC:
The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.
Deadline: April 13
Doles out grants in the $50k - $200k range to films that spotlight important issues and fit with the MacFound initiatives. From MacFound:
The MacArthur Foundation funds the production of documentary films and participatory new media projects that combine exceptional storytelling with in-depth journalism. We look for projects that challenge preconceptions and examine underreported social issues. These documentaries are intended to reach a large U.S. broadcast audience and, often, a targeted audience of educators, community leaders, advocates, and policymakers. We look for projects that have the potential to spark dialogue, create understanding, and contribute to social and policy change.
Deadline: Opens April 14, Closes May 1
A grant from the largest and most prestigious doc-only film festival IDFA is worth looking into if you have an international film. From IDFA:
The IDFA Bertha Fund is the only fund in the world dedicated solely to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe...The fund is looking for new creative documentary projects which can be submitted in project development, production, and post production.
Deadline: May 15 (for projects outside of Europe)
ITVS funded LINCS (Linking Independents and Co-Producing Stations) offers a matching-funds program to docs aimed at public television. From ITVS:
LINCS provides matching funds to producer-station partnerships. Up to $100,000 in matching funds is available for a single broadcast program.
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.
ITVS chooses projects that don't fit in their normal programs of DDF, LINCS, and Open Call and offers development or production agreements. From ITVS:
For development funding, activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early-phase activities. For production funding, all production and post-production activities are eligible.
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.
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.
To honor the late David Ross, in 2015 the DRFF now has two grants specifically for short films open to filmmakers, and one for a filmmaker with some kind of connection to Utah. From the Davey Foundation:
Two $5000 grants for writer/directors nationwide. You must be 35-or-under on April 30, fill out the 2015 Film Application, and pay a $10 reading fee per script. Grant winners must deliver a Bluray copy of his/her film by December 1.
We are excited to announce that the third grant will be offered to a writer/director 35-or-under on April 30 with a Utah connection. This grant will consist of the use of a Cinema Camera Package valued at $10,000, courtesy of, and in partnership with, Film Exchange.
Deadline: March 15
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: April 1 (depending on FAP region)
Apply with your rough cut to IFP's prestigious year-long mentorship program that supports first-time narrative filmmakers whose projects are being made for under $1 million. Past narrative films that participated in the Lab range from Pariah to I Believe in Unicorns to Go Down Death. From IFP:
Through the Labs, IFP works to ensure that talented emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to reach audiences. Open to all first time feature documentary and narrative directors with films in post-production.
Deadline: April 3
If you're a dedicated Australian producer who wants to have professional development in San Francisco's film scene with cash to spare, this might be for you. From SFFS:
Screen Australia provides an emerging Australian producer the opportunity to spend six months at the San Francisco Film Society, working closely with the Director of Filmmaker360. The successful applicant will receive Australian $50,000 to support them during this period.
Deadline: April 7
If you're an Australia-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. 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: April 8 or May 28
For New York state filmmakers working on projects in narrative, documentary, or animation, you could get $5,000 - $25,000 of support for your project if you have a fiscal sponsor or other non-profit NY entity to cover you. From NYSCA:
Support is offered annually for the creation of new works in a variety of media related mediums. A project can combine media, including, but not limited to, work for tape, installation, single-channel work, or interactive discformats. The Individual Artists Program supports projects utilizing production methods and tools ranging from analog to digital.
Deadline: April 10 (to register on NYSCA portal)
For people from diverse backrounds on either the filmmaking track (Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Screenwriting) or the industry track Acquisitions/Distribution, Creative/Development Executive, Film Programming) looking for mentorship, workshops, and production experience under the wing of Film Independent, Project Involve may be for you. From FIND:
Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature diversity program that fosters the talents of emerging filmmakers. The program offers its selected Fellows a one-on-one mentorship, monthly filmmaking workshops for continued education, a short film production experience, and community screenings that promote diverse subject matters.
Deadline: April 27
The Roy Dean Grant includes over $30k of in-kind services and products is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500k. 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: April 30
The Jerome Foundation has a good tract 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.
Deadline: Opens in May
Brought to you by the auspicious Berlinale Festival, this fund offers €10,000 to directors from regions of 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, either in production or 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.
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.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts an international screenwriting competition established to identify new talent in screenwriting. From the Academy:
Up to five $35,000 Fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship recipients are expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.
Deadline: March 2 (Early deadline), April 10 (regular)
This screenplay competition from Nantucket Film Festival gives cash prizes and VIP festival access to winners with scripts for short films, feature films, 30-minute TV Pilots and hour-long TV pilots. From Nantucket:
The competition gives writers the opportunity to have their scripts read by a prestigious jury, receive top industry recognition, participate in a Festival focused specifically on screenwriting, including a Mentor’s Brunch with the Festival’s Screenwriters Tributee, and win over $7,000 in total cash prizes.
Deadline: March 9 (WAB extended)
This eight-month fellowship in Santa Monica from August 17-21 is for emerging diverse voices who would like to workshop a screenplay with HBO executives. From HBO:
HBO is seeking diverse writers 21 and older who must be able to work in the U.S. For the purposes of the HBOAccess program, diversity is defined as those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific American, Sub-Continent Asian American, African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Middle Eastern, and/or women. Writers must not have been staffed on a network or cable series in excess of 13 episodes and/or had more than one feature film or more than two plays produced.
Deadline: Opens March 4 (Closes after first 1,000 applications)
Only the first 1,000 applications will be accepted. Applications will be closed once 1,000 applications have been received.
The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world.
Deadline: April 7 (Early deadline)
If you're looking to develop your voice as a writer, this five week program in Autumn in Los Angeles might be a great opportunity. From FIND:
Through meetings with lab mentors, outside advisors, and other writers in the program, Fellows will receive personal feedback and the necessary tools to revise and refine their scripts for production while gaining invaluable knowledge along the way.
Deadline: April 13
The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is more than a five day screenwriting workshop. It's the gateway for all films chosen to be in the Director's Lab, as well as eligibility to many of the Sundance grants. From the Sundance Institute:
Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.
Deadline: May 1 (opens March 15)
In this 6-month mentorship program, writers get to build relationships to further their careers. From CBS:
The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.
Deadline: May 1
A 5-week lab in Los Angeles where writers work on their scripts two to three evenings a week. From FIND:
The Lab is designed to help screenwriters improve their craft, develop their voices as writers, and take their current scripts to the next level. During the Lab, Fellows receive feedback on their scripts from the Lab Mentor, outside advisors, and the other writers in the program.
Deadline: May 5
A 3-month program that prepares you to be a full-time staff writer, with a particular empasis on applicants from diverse backgrounds. From NBC:
Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are "almost there" but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.
Deadline: May 31
Best of luck!
Do you know of a spring grant that's not listed here that should be? Just let us know in the comments.