Support the organizations that support you.
In the US, holiday consumerism rules this time of year. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday to gift exchanges left and right, shopping is the name of the game. Out of this sprung prank movements, like SantaCon, where thousands of people in Santa suits trade shopping for bar-hopping (and some activism), and more serious efforts, like Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, a global day of charitable gifting spread by hashtags.
Whether you want to do some giving for tax purposes, to get in the holiday spirit, or simply because you’re a generous soul, here a list of ways to give back to the film community and support non-profit organizations or creators that make independent film happen. (Note that many of these belong to multiple categories.)
[Special addition for 2017: The subject of Violeta Ayala's short documentary 'The Fight', recently nominated for the IDA Awards' Best Short Documentary and featured on CNN, is an inspiring, disabled, gold medal-winning marathon competitor who fights for disabled rights in his native Bolivia. He is in need of life-saving surgery and Ayala & filmmaking colleagues have set up a GoFundMe on his behalf. Worth a look on this Giving Tuesday.]
The most direct way to help individual filmmakers get their projects made is to search these crowdfunding sites for films you believe in and contribute to their campaigns.
Filmmaker Support & Education
These organizations facilitate filmmaking by creating community, education opportunities, grants, and other filmmaker services.
- African American Women in Cinema
- Bay Area Video Coalition
- Chicken & Egg Pictures
- The D-Word
- Film Fatales
- Filmmakers Alliance
- International Documentary Association
- Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP)
- Organization of Black Screenwriters
- Pan African Federation of Filmmakers
Legal Help & Advocacy
Filmmakers can find themselves in craft-related legal binds that we don’t have the means to get out of. These groups help.
Media Arts Orgs
There's some crossover here with traditional support organizations, but these groups also produce or distribute their own media.
Film Preservation, Discussion & History
These wide-ranging groups further the industry by encouraging audiences, advocating for diverse voices, and preserving classic films.
- Center for Asian American Media
- The Film Foundation
- The Global Film Initiative
- Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
- National Film Preservation Foundation
- The Paley Center for Media
Film Societies & Institutes
These organizations are location-based but often provide opportunities, screenings, and support to filmmakers far outside their own communities. This list includes institutes that are independent not-for-profits, rather than governmental bodies.
- American Film Institute
- Australian Film Institute
- British Film Institute
- Canadian Film Institute
- Doha Film Institute
- Film and Television Institute of India
- Film Society of Lincoln Center
- Irish Film Institute
- The New York Film/Video Council
- New Zealand Film Society
- Points North Institute
- San Francisco Film Society
- Sundance Institute
- Tribeca Film Institute
You may also want to consider giving to your local public television station, nonprofit movie theater, or other venues that screen independent work.
What’s missing from this list? We’d love more suggestions, especially from international readers about organizations in your part of the world.