Develop Your Film or Series in Costa Rica for Free

Develop your feature film, doc, or series with the Big Vision Empty Wallet team while you enjoy five days in paradise.

Big Vision Empty Wallet is currently seeking submissions for its annual Development Program, a five-day retreat to be held Playa Langosta, Costa Rica from December 4-8, 2017.

During the retreat, the BVEW team will work with the chosen filmmakers to create a strategy to package the project, build an audience, and create a marketing and distribution plan. BVEW will also help the filmmakers find financing, sponsorships, and partnerships to make their projects a reality.

Specifically, here is what BVEW says it is seeking:

  • A film (feature length only) or series that represents a unique perspective and takes the viewer into a world that they were previously unaware of.
  • Narrative or doc.
  • Can be anywhere from development through post-production.

BVEW will provide round-trip airfare for two members of the chosen project's team from NYC to Costa Rica, transporation to and from the Costa Rica airport to Playa Langosta, and accommodations for two at the retreat. The project's creator retains all rights to the concept and script, and Big Vision Creative, BVEW's production company, officially joins as co-producer of the project in exchange for developing the project's business strategy and providing access to BVEW's network of connections to brand sponsorship opportunities.

Straight Trippin'
Straight Trippin'Credit: Big Vision Empty Wallet

In December 2016, BVEW selected the travel series Straight Trippin', produced by Andia Winslow and Monique Walton, which follows three friends as they decide to take a break from their jobs, social media, and everyday life to explore the wilderness across the country.

Here are the submission dates and fees for the 2017 BVEW Development Program retreat:

  • May 1: Early submissions, $25
  • July 1: Regular submissions, $40
  • September 1: Late submissions, $50
  • October 5: Last-minute submissions, $60

Learn more about the BVEW Development Program Costa Rica retreat and submit your application here    

Featured image credit: Big Vision Empty Wallet

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Your Comment


Well costa rica is really nice place with tons of good views.

April 25, 2017 at 6:08AM

Kat Phill
Senior Editor

Is it just me, or does this whole concept / offer smell a bit funny?

April 25, 2017 at 8:58AM, Edited April 25, 8:58AM



April 28, 2017 at 11:59PM


Yeaaaaah no.

You basically agree to cede rights in your project to them as "co-producers", with the terms to be negotiated at a later date.

Sure, 4 days in Costa Rica would be lovely. But it's a way to get you to give them rights on your project – and you pay $25-60 for the honor! – without any risk on their part.

May 1, 2017 at 3:00AM


With submission fees it is free, is it?

May 6, 2017 at 2:53PM, Edited May 6, 2:53PM