How to Do #GivingTuesday, Filmmaker-Style

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.

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.

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.

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.     

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