A new grant program called the Short Film Production Fund is going to award between four and ten grants per year for filmmakers to create either an online series or short film that displays "originality, vision and exceptional potential." These grants will range from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the project, and they will also offer matching funds for a crowdfunding campaign, so you're able to combine funds from a number of different sources to make the film or series.
Once the grant is awarded, ScreenCraft, BondIt, and Buffalo 8 Productions will all provide support and guidance during pre-production and production (you are spending their money after all, so they want you to make the best work possible). It's also worth noting that they are going to request an ownership stake in whatever you produce, which is a little different than some other grant programs out there that simply write a check and send you on your way:
ScreenCraft and BondIt will request a total 30% ownership stake in each funded project per terms to be agreed upon at time of the award of the production funds. Writer credit and director and producer credit will remain with the original filmmaking team. All ownership and rights to the material submitted to this grant program remains with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made. Should your project be awarded funding, you are not obligated to accept it until and unless other agreements are made.
There will be quarterly deadlines to apply, and the next one coming up is September 30th. If you do want to throw your hat in the ring, here's what they are looking for:
- An excellent short screenplay with a unique voice
- An impressive producing team and/or director with a strong vision statement
- Great adaptation potential for the short film to be eventually made to a feature film or TV series
Tell us about yourself! Along with your short screenplay, please upload a letter that expresses your vision for your project. This letter is meant to help the judges get a sense of your creative vision and professional experience. If you’ve made a short film before, feel free to include a link. Make your cover letter as fun or formal as you like. We recommend 1-2 pages in length.
Choosing a Winner
The winners will be chosen quarterly based on the following criteria: (i) originality; (ii) story structure; (iii) characterization; (iv) visual inventiveness; and (v) overall viability for world-class film festivals and/or online distribution. The winners and top finalists may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of ScreenCraft. The selected winner(s) will be notified by e-mail about 4 weeks after the quarterly deadline. Finalists may be required to sign and return within seven (7) business days of receipt a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility and a Release and Indemnification and proof of valid passport and any other documents that ScreenCraft or any other partner may require before receiving funding payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within ten (10) days or return of notification will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.
Full Application Guidelines
- Application periods are annual as follows: January 1 – March 31, April 1 – June 30, July 1 – September 30, October 1 – December 31.
- Grants range in size from $5,000 to $20,000 per project. Grant amount will be determined by jury consisting of executives from ScreenCraft and BondIt.
- Applications are accepted via electronic submission only.
- Application admin fee for each project is $35 before the regular deadline and then $55 until the late / final deadline. Student price (with an active school email address) is $25 before the regular deadline and then $45 until the late / final deadline.
- Application must include a screenplay and a project vision statement from the writer or director. You are welcome to include any and all relevant links to prior work in the cover letter.
- There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
- Applications must be received on or before the deadlines and application fee payment must be made in full at time of the submission.
- All application fees are non-refundable
- All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).
- Material must be submitted by the author or owner of the material. Material written by writing teams must be submitted by one of the writers, with consent of the other(s). All writers must be credited on title page.
- Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material are not allowed. Please proofread your script very carefully before submitting.
- Contact info may be included on the cover page of the screenplay, however it is not required.
- Winner(s) of each quarterly funding cycle will be announced and notified approximately 4 weeks after the application deadline.
- All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible; however the material submitted must be in English.
- If an applicant is younger than 18 years old, a verifiable parental consent form must also be submitted with application.
- All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible for this production grant program.
- There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
- Screenplay must be owned and submitted by the writer or owner.
- Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.
- Adaptations are ineligible unless the underlying rights are owned by the writer or director or the work is in the public domain.
- Screenplays must 2 pages minimum and they must be less than 40 pages for short films and less than 60 pages for online series. If you’re submitting an online series, you’re must submit the pilot episode and optionally you may submit subsequent episodes with the pilot.
- All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.
To apply, head on over to the Short Film Production Fund site here.