A Massive List of Grants Part 3: Fall Deadlines Filmmakers Should Know About
Welcome to the Fall Edition of upcoming opportunities for filmmakers! Hopefully this massive list of grants can point you in the right direction for funding.
The following grants, labs, and pitch opportunities are organized by deadline from October through early December. (If you're looking for a different granting season, go to Spring grants here and Summer 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!
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 the CDP:
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: October 15
Also from the California Documentary Project, grants of up to $50,000 are given out to projects in the production stage. From the CDP:
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, and actively involve at least two humanities advisors in the production process.
Deadline: October 15
A cash advance rather than a grant, this fund will loan you $10,000 to $15,000 interest-free to develop your documentary. From the SMHDDF:
Development advances will be repayable on the earliest of commencement of production of the documentary or the transfer or sale of the rights to the documentary to a third party. Eligible costs include: option fees, research fees, writer and story editor fees, director’s fees, reasonable travel costs, and normal producer fees and overheads. Expenses incurred prior to application to the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Development Fund are ineligible.
Deadline: October 22
For documentaries in advanced stages, here's another cash advance rather than a grant, this fund is intended to help you finish your documentary. In some cased, the Fund may loan up to $100,000. From the SMHDDF:
The Shaw Media-Hot Docs Completion Fund will provide successful applicants with a grant of up to 20 per cent of the total production costs to an exceptional maximum of $100,000. Eligible costs include those that are standard in the industry during post-production, including costs of enhancements and deliverables.
Deadline: October 22
Intended to bolster much needed representation from producers of color in the industry, the DDF gives out funds to producer to support documentary projects in the early stages. From the ITVS:
The Diversity Development Fund (DDF) provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television. Funded activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early phase activities.
Deadline: October 24
Selective grants intended for a documentary series that are past the pre-production stage and have a confirmed national airing, the Public Television Grants offer $100,000-$500,000 per series. From the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation:
Grants support "capstone" funding to complete production for major series assured of national airing by PBS. These should include innovative uses of technology to enhance community outreach and contribute to teaching in grades K-12 and beyond. Preference is given equally to children's series and programs of enduring value on subjects such as history and science. Programs whose primary purpose is advocacy, topical news coverage or entertainment may not be competitive.
Deadline: November 1
A grant for docs that are not necessarily social issue films, the TFI Documentary fund doles out grants of at least $10,000 to between seven and eleven projects a year, and includes a TFI/ESPN Prize and TFI/A+E Feature Doc Workshop for relevant applicants. From TFI:
Grants and guidance to support exceptional character-driven, non-fiction works-in-progress that sit outside of the social issue landscape. For films based anywhere that are in advanced stages of development or in production or post-production.
Deadline: November 5
The Sundance Institute will choose six emerging producers with projects in pre-production to attend the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab, the Creative Producing Summit, and the Sundance Film Festival, as well as receive $10,000 in stipends and yearlong mentorship. From Sundance:
The Fellowship focuses on the holistic producer, who identifies, options, develops, and pitches material; champions and challenges the writer/director creatively; raises financing; leads the casting/packaging process; hires and inspires crew; and navigates the sales, distribution, and marketing arenas. The Program is designed to hone emerging producers’ creative instincts and evolve their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project.
Deadline: Application opens November 3
Ten feature length documentary projects 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. From FIND:
Held in Los Angeles from March to April, Film Independent’s Documentary Lab is an intensive seven-week program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentary films. Through a series of meetings and workshops, Documentary Lab fulfills its twofold focus: provide creative feedback and story notes to the selected filmmakers; and help filmmakers strategize the completion, distribution, and marketing of their film.
Deadline: December 1
With 2014 grants ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 per project, this grant for documentary features in the post-production stage from the San Francisco Film Society would be a major boon to any recipient. From SFFS:
The SFFS Documentary Film Fund supports riveting documentaries in postproduction distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. Since 2011, more than $375,000 has been disbursed to documentary filmmakers nationwide.
Deadline: Application opens November 10; early deadline in December
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, and 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 eligibility 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.
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 $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
This Lab from Los Angeles based independent film organization FIND offers an eight-week program from February to March for directors preparing to shoot feature films. From FIND:
Under the guidance of the Lab Mentors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss the vision for their films, and select short scenes from their scripts to workshop. Fellows cast actors and go through an in-class rehearsal of their scenes. Finally, each Directing Lab Fellow goes through a mini-production, learning how to break down a script into a shot list, collaborate with cinematographers, and construct a scene in the editing process. Film Independent provides the Lab Fellows with digital camera and sound packages, as well as a small stipend to shoot their scenes.
Deadline: October 6
For films that incorporate dance, the DFA could award you $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: October 24
The Doha Institute is around to seek out new cinematic voices from Qatar as well as from around the world. Grants for Qatar based filmmakers are rolling, and the international applicant deadline is blow. From the DFIGP:
The Institute’s approach is to champion projects whose thrust is to explore, expand and cultivate authentic storytelling, with a keen interest in propelling forward contemporary work that demonstrates a deep understanding of the specific possibilities of the medium of cinema. The Programme provides creative and financial assistance to filmmakers from Qatar, and to first- and second-time filmmakers from around the globe.
Deadline: October 15
This two-year professional directing program takes experienced directors who want to make the transition to episodic directing, exposes them to the industry, and pays a $950 a week salary. From Disney|ABC:
The primary goal of this program is to afford Program Directors access to develop relationships with DATG executives and productions. Those selected to participate in the program become part of the Disney | ABC DGA Directing Program directing talent pool. DATG executives, executive producers and/or producing episodic directors select individuals to shadow on an episode or episodes of produced television. Shadowing assignments are not guaranteed; however, if an assignment is secured, the program director will shadow production and shooting. Observing post-production is solely at the discretion of producers. Drama assignments typically run three or more weeks, and comedy assignments usually run one to two weeks.
Deadline: Opens in October
For films with a science or technology (but not sci-fi) element, three to six filmmakers will get funds from $10,000-$65,000 for development, production, or post-production. From TFI:
The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund provides grants and professional guidance in support of innovative and compelling narrative features that offer a fresh take on scientific, mathematic and technological themes...Grantees will participate in panels, workshops, and one-on-one meetings with industry executives during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Deadline: November 5
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 with 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 5
Looking for new kinds of storytelling that spans different kinds of screening experiences, TFI's New Media Fund offers a whopping $50,000 to $100,000 for new media projects. From TFI:
Funding and support to non-fiction, social issue media projects which go beyond traditional screens—integrating film with content across media platforms, from video games, apps, social networks and Web. For projects based anywhere in advanced development or beyond.
Deadline: November 5
To advance the field of Asian American media, the CAAM Fellowship Program connects talented individuals to the professionals who can help them further their careers. From CAAM:
The CAAM Fellowship Program is unique in its field-wide approach seeking to develop the talents and skills of a range of media professions including filmmakers, actors, programmers, and executives. Participating fellows will have access to the leading Asian American talent in film, television and digital media. Each fellowship will be individually tailored to best fit the needs of the fellows and advisors. Fellowships will range from fully integrated collaborations to regular feedback on current projects to an ongoing dialogue about professional development. Furthermore, fellows will have the opportunity to connect with the larger community of Asian American media professionals at CAAM’s annual film festival CAAMFest and a CAAM Fellowship Program retreat hosted by CAAM for all participating advisors and fellows.
Deadline: November 14
Brought to you by the auspicious 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.
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.
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're a mid-level writer -- you've been a staff writer on a WGA eligible show or have at least two credits on made-for-TV movies or The WGA -- you're invited to submit work in one of the following categories: minority writers; writers with disabilities; women writers; writers age 55 and over; and LGBT writers. From the WGA:
The mission of the Writer Access Project (“Project”) is to identify excellent diverse writers in order to provide a hiring resource for television writer-producers. WGAW members who meet the criteria for participation below are invited to submit one piece of literary material: one spec script for a television series in first run on either network or cable as of August 8, 2014 OR one original spec pilot teleplay, in either the half-hour or one-hour format.
Deadline: October 10
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, 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: October 10
The competition associated with the Cinequest Film Festival offer $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. Entering its eleventh year, the competition retains a stellar reputation that hinges in no small part on its knack for exhibiting a compelling mix of stories from around the globe and providing opportunities for writers to tap into a network recognized for accelerating their drive towards success. Winners and finalists are presented alongside high profile Maverick Spirit awardees like J.J. Abrams, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, Philip Kaufman, Michael Arndt, Diablo Cody, and more at the highly anticipated Writers Celebration during the Cinequest Film Festival.
Deadline: October 10 (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: October 15 (to get a written analysis by November 10), November 15 (final)
For emerging screenwriters (who've made less than $50k screenwriting) with an action or thriller script, you could win $2,000 and have a jury comprised of the likes of Aaron Ensweiler (Hutch Parker Entertainment) or Adi Shankar (The Grey) to read your material. From Screencraft:
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 15
Have some TV scripts lying around? Scriptapalooza, whose TV Writing Contest has been around for many years, gives $500 to the first place entry in each of these categories: one hour existing shows, half hour existing sitcom, original pilots, and reality shows. From Scriptapalooza:
The participants we have chosen to read the winning scripts are individuals from established production companies. Whether you are already an aspiring television writer or a writer interested in exploring other avenues, Scriptapalooza TV is here to promote careers in television and provide exposure for the undiscovered writer.
Deadline: October 17
Do you know of an autumn grant that's not listed here that should be? Please let us know in the comments so we can add it to the list!