It's not all blockbusters and psycho beach parties—this summer could also be the time to get your next film project green-lit! Below, find all the opportunities that grantmakers (and select contests) are offering up this Summer 2017.
The following opportunities are organized by deadline, from mid June through September, and by category: documentaries, narratives, screenwriting, and new media. If you're looking for a head-start on a different granting season, check out our most recent spring grants, fall grants, and winter grants roundups.
Note: An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative films.
As always, read the criteria carefully and use your best judgment when deciding to apply.
A still from 2017 Sundance documentary, "The Good Postman."
Honoring the memory of Derek Freese, this finishing fund is given biennially to an independent filmmaker and provides up to $35,000. From the Derek Freese Film Foundation:
Derek Freese Documentary Fund (DFDF) provides production support for feature-length documentary films that have both a strong narrative and compelling story, across a broad spectrum of subject matters.
Deadline: June 12
If you're looking to develop an Australian documentary or co-production, you could get up to $30,000 for development from Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program assists experienced documentary makers to achieve planned outcomes for the development of their projects. This could include further research, writing the next draft of a script or treatment, strategic shooting and/or editing to attract marketplace development or production finance, or compiling a sizzle reel.
Deadline: June 16 (for July 28 decision)
For both US and international filmmakers, POV is known as the best of American public television's showcase of independent documentaries, offering a highly competitive sum for broadcast distribution of films each season. From POV:
POV, public television's premier showcase for independent, nonfiction film, seeks programs from all perspectives to showcase in its annual PBS series. All subjects, aesthetic approaches and lengths are welcomed.
Deadline: June 16
If you're a documentary filmmaker based in either one of the 12 MEDA countries that constitute the Mediterranean or one of the 28 EU countries, consider this Euro-Mediterranean doc market where between 20 and 30 selected films pitch to TV executives and professionals. From MEDIMED:
Create a unique, compelling, and personal Short Film that explores an empowering person or an optimistic story about individuals and communities who are overcoming poverty and hunger, combatting disease, or improving health. Your short film can be narrative fiction or documentary, imaginative, unorthodox, daring or simple—the style and structure are completely up to you but you must touch on economic inequalities.
Deadline: June 30
Olympia Stone’s "Elizabeth King / Body of Work" is supported by the Southern Documentary Fund.
Growing each year, the organizers of Camden International Film Festival have expanded the Points North Fellowship for five lucky filmmakers to receive two All Access passes to the festival, four nights of accommodations, and a stipend to subsidize their travel to Camden for the Points North Pitch and industry mentorship to launch their doc project. From CIFF:
The Points North Fellowship is a unique opportunity for five documentary filmmakers (or filmmaking teams) to develop their feature-length works-in-progress through a combination of focused industry mentorship, workshops, meetings and a public pitch session at the Camden International Film Festival.
Deadline: July 12 (extended)
Could you use some time to work on your next short film? How about that and 7 nights of accommodations on the picturesque coast of Maine, a $1,000 travel stipend with a rental car, and two passes to the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum? If that sounds like just what you need, check out this initiative from Points North Institute:
Taking place September 10 – 17, the Shortform Editing Residency provides a focused, creative space for independent nonfiction filmmakers and multimedia journalists to work on their short films or episodic documentaries with guidance from experienced mentors.
Deadline: July 12 (extended)
If you're an emerging documentary filmmaker with less than three professional directing credits who has a film that is being told from within an underrepresented community, and you need funds to finish it, check out this initiative. From Hot Docs:
The Theatrical Stream of the CrossCurrents Doc Fund provides grants of up to $30,000 CAD to one or more projects in production each year. This grant will support a new range of filmmakers with auteur driven stories from underrepresented and marginalized communities from around the world. This can reflect up to 50 per cent of the project’s production budget.
Deadline: Opens July 19, closes TBA
If you're working on a documentary that touches on mountain culture or the environment, the MountainFilm Commitment Grant will support up to five filmmakers a year with $5,000. From MountainFilm:
Interested parties should apply if they’re creating a work that can be presented in a theater, gallery or more broadly on television and online. In particular, we seek projects that will have a positive and tangible effect on specific and vital issues. It's also essential that the project is invested with both the passion and capacity to be completed fully. The overarching intention of our granting program is to help ensure that important stories are both told and heard.
Deadline: LOI due July TBA
If you live in North Carolina or have a story set there, you could get $1,000 - $5,000 for development, production, or post-production from the SDF:
The Southern Documentary Fund seeks documentary films made in or about North Carolina for our annual filmmaking grants. These grants are made possible thanks to generous support from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.
Deadline: July 31
"Last Men in Aleppo" was selected for the 2017 POV Season.
If you're a film based in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and you're looking for either production or post-production support, Visions Sud Est can be good for 20,000 Swiss francs on narrative features and 10,000 Swiss francs for documentaries. From Visions Sud Est:
The Swiss fund Visions Sud Est was initiated by the Foundation trigon-film Baden and the Fribourg Film Festival, with the collaboration of Nyon's Visions du Reel and the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland.
Deadline: August 3
Are you a short documentary filmmaker working or living in the South? Check out this brand new short-film pitch contest! From TFI:
Up to six projects will be selected for a pitch competition, to be held in New Orleans during New Orleans Film Festival on Friday, October 13, 2017. The winner, selected by a professional jury, will be eligible for up to $20,000 in production support from IF/Then, as well as ongoing mentorship year-round - in person or virtually - and will participate in a year-long distribution initiative managed by Tribeca Film Institute that offers creative control, revenue potential and career development.
Deadline: August 4
Presuming the National Endowment for the Humanities continues to have a budget, you can continue to apply with documentaries that address the humanities. The application process isn't easy—you need an experienced team, a non-profit organization or fiscal sponsor, two humanities advisors, and a lengthy application. Ken Burns' project descriptions are rumored to have been around 40 pages, but the payoff is worth it: one-to-three-year grants in the $100,000 - $650,000 range. From NEH:
NEH encourages projects that feature multiple formats to engage the public in the exploration of humanities ideas. Film and television projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas and drawing their content from humanities scholarship. They must be intended for national distribution. The program welcomes projects ranging in length from short-form to broadcast-length video.
Deadline: August 9
Like the above production grants, the development grants are for documentaries that address topics in the humanities, and the application process is just as extensive. The awards range from $40,000 to $75,000. From NEH:
Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script or a design document and should also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.
Deadline: August 9
The Alter-Ciné Foundation offers $10,000 (Canadian) to filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America with a documentary project in your native language that fits in with the aims of the Foundation. From Alter-Ciné:
The Alter-Ciné Foundation is inspired by this ethics. The Foundation offers a yearly grant to young film and video makers from Africa, Asia and Latin America to direct a documentary film on the theme of rights and freedoms, including social and economic rights, women’s rights, the right to culture and artistic creation.
Deadline: August 15
Hot Docs, one of the world's best documentary festivals, aims to support doc filmmakers that are citizens and residents of countries in continental Africa through funds and mentorship. From Hot Docs:
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund (HDBI) offers grants in two separate categories Development and Production. Approximately four to 10 projects are awarded each year. All successful applications will be considered for the up to five mentorship program slots, and select applicants will be invited to apply to The New York Times—Op-Docs under the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documenatry Fund banner.
Deadline: August 18
If you have a work-in-progress for a standard broadcast length film, this co-production funding of $150,000 to $350,000 from ITVS is the stuff doc dreams are made from. From ITVS:
We’re looking for exceptional storytelling that’s in line with our mission: stories that take risks, tackle important issues, and are seldom seen in public media. We know how hard you’ve worked on your project, and we’ll partner with you to help you finish it, then distribute it on public television.
Deadline: Opens June 19, closes August TBA
New this year, HotDocs and the Rogers Foundation have founded the $1,000,000 Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund to support Canadian documentary filmmakers. From HotDocs:
Over the coming 10 years, production grants will be distributed to Canadian documentary filmmakers. Up to $35,000 will be granted to three or four projects each year.
A core component of Sundance's Documentary Film Program, this competitive grant looks for artful films about relevant topics, and it can get you $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the application type (Development, Production/PostProduction, Audience Engagement). From the Sundance Institute:
The Sundance Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display: artful film language, effective storytelling, originality and feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience. Preference is given to projects that convey clear story structure, higher stakes and contemporary relevance, forward going action or questions, demonstrated access to subjects, and quality use of film craft.
If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support outreach and audience engagement strategies to an average $10,000 to $25,000. From the Fledgling Fund:
Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable.
This new fund offers £10,000 to 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.
Deb Shoval on the set of "AWOL," a recipient of the Women In Film Finishing Fund.
Be a part of this lab that runs from October through June to get access to mentoring, workshops, and networking events. From FIND:
Project Involve is a free, intensive, nine-month annual program that offers 30 up-and-coming film professionals from under-represented communities the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, utilize free or low-cost production resources and ultimately gain the industry access necessary to succeed as working artists.
Deadline: June 12 (June 28 for FIND members)
This grant, established through New York Women in Film and Television, gives funds to a female filmmaker with a rough cut of a film of any genre that touches on disability issues. From NYWFT:
Through the generosity of Loreen Arbus, New York Women in Film and Television has established the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant. The film completion grant for $7,500 will be awarded to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues. Directors and producers are eligible to apply.
Deadline: June 15
Every year, NVTVF accepts 4 to 60-minute independently produced television pilots and web series from around the world for exposure, awards and development deals with Lionsgate, NatGeo, the Travel Channel, and Sundance Channel, to name a few. From NVTVF:
The Independent Pilot Competition (IPC) is the NYTVF’s flagship, annual initiative, accepting independently-produced, original television pilots and series, short films, and short-form web series from around the globe. If your project is episodic in nature and is meant to be consumed in multiple chapters over time, then it's TV.
Deadline: June 28 (final)
If you're an Australian-based filmmaker, you have got to get in touch with Screen Australia. The government film agency throws down major funds for low-budget features, documentaries, and large format programs, including up to 65% of your feature film budget if it meets the criteria. From Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program aims to assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.
Deadline: June 30 (for August 29 decision)
Teaming up with Stella Artois in 2017, this fund will give out four grants of up to $25,000 in funds and in-kind donations to films that inspire social change, with particular consideration this year given to films with a water theme. From WIF:
The Women In Film Finishing Fund gives grants to filmmakers working in both short and long formats, in all genres — narrative, documentary, animated and experimental. To apply for the Finishing Fund, the filmmaker must have completed 90% of principal photography and have a rough cut at the time of application. You do not have to be a Women In Film member to apply, and we encourage applications from around the world.
Deadline: June 30
The Roy Dean Summer Grant includes over $30,000 of in-kind services, including $3,500 cash, is open for shorts, docs, and feature 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: June 30
A still from "A Gaza Weekend" supported by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.
Brought to you by ScreenCraft and Bondit, if you’ve got a short script or a short film at the early stages of production, you could score $5,000 to $20,000 in financing and production services. From ScreenCraft:
Every 4 months, at least one filmmaker will be awarded this production grant of up to $20,000 in production funds. We announce the winner(s) 6 weeks after each final deadline.
Deadline: June 30 (Final)
If you're a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, the Film Board of Canada has ten provinces that offer emerging filmmakers $3,000 - $5,000 grants a year in technical services to complete your film. Deadlines depend on the province, so be sure to check them out individually. From NFBC:
The National Film Board’s mandate is to reflect Canadian values and perspectives through the production and distribution of innovative Canadian audiovisual works accessible in relevant media of today. The Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to help developing independent filmmakers complete their films/videos by providing technical services and support.
Deadline: June/July (check for your specific region)
Coinciding with the BFI London Film Festival, the PFM selects projects to meet potential investors for films with a budget over €1 million and has a parallel MicroMarket for films with budgets under that amount. From Film London:
From encouraging new business relationships to attaching international sales companies and securing various forms of investments in companies and film projects, PFM is invaluable for producers and financiers alike. This year, the Micro Market strand for projects with budgets below €1m is fully integrated within PFM, making it more far-reaching than ever before
Deadline: July 3
If you have a production company in Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus, or a German production company with a partner in one of those areas, you could get € 80,000 for your next narrative feature or documentary. From WCF:
Together with the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Foreign Ministry and German producers, the World Cinema Fund works to develop and support cinema in regions with a weak film infrastructure, while fostering cultural diversity in German cinemas. The World Cinema Fund supports films 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.
Deadline: July 17
If you have a film that has a strong connection to the Mediterranean, the Balkan regions, or Central Europe, this co-production forum might be for you. From Thessaloniki IFF:
CROSSROADS introduces producers and directors to a variety of industry professionals from all over the world. The programme is varied and provides the opportunity to meet, formally and informally, distributors, broadcasters, sales agents and consultants. CROSSROADS’ goal is to support the producers of feature-length fiction film projects that contain a link to the Mediterranean and Balkan regions as well as Central Europe. Qualifying features will be produced or co-produced by a country in this area or are movies that contain story elements based in these regions.
Deadline: July 31
Still from the World Cinema Fund supported, "The Road to Mandalay."
For Arab directors and producers living in the Arab region or in the diaspora, you could get an average of $20,000 for development and scriptwriting, production and post-production of animation, documentary, experimental and narrative films in short, medium and feature lengths. From AFAC:
AFAC’s cinema funding is open to all kinds of film projects – short films, feature narratives, short documentaries, feature documentaries, animation and experimental film. AFAC offers funding for development/scripting, production and post-production. Projects applying for a development/ scripting grant are eligible for a maximum of $15,000 while projects applying for a production/ post-production grant are eligible for a maximum of $50,000.
Deadline: August 1
The Jerome Foundation has a good track record of supporting filmmakers in New York and Minnesota with innovative artistic sensibilities. From JF:
The Jerome Foundation offers production grants, for specific projects, of up to $30,000 for emerging film, digital production and video directors who reside in Minnesota and work in the genres of experimental, narrative, animation or documentary work.
Deadline: August 24
A new initiative from the Francis Ford Coppola founded American Zoetrope, this contest calls for a short film. From American Zoetrope:
At Zoetrope: All-Story and Francis Ford Coppola Winery, we believe anyone has the potential to be one of the greats. Prove us right: enter your 3- to 10-minute short film in the FRANCIS COPPOLA DIRECTOR’S SHORT FILM COMPETITION for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize and have your film screened at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery lounge at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival!
Deadline: September 5
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture: Cinema Grant recipient 'Chaos, Disorder'
If you're looking to get your film seen—and possibly financed—by the international film community, CineMart, hosted by the prestigious International Rotterdam Film Festival, is the place to be. Each year, CineMart chooses about 25 projects to get one-on-one meetings with financiers and distributors. From IFFR:
Our international co-production market offers a selection of 25 carefully curated feature film projects – independent art- house films with market potential. CineMart was the first platform of its kind to offer filmmakers the opportunity to launch their ideas to the international film industry and to find the right connections to get their projects financed. CineMart heralds an important start of the 'film year'.
Deadline: September 16
If you have a project—particularly one at the early stages—on which the writer, director, or producer is a woman, person of color, or member of the LGBTQ community, consider applying for this new BVEW opportunity. From BVEW:
Each project will receive creative guidance, mentorship, and a business plan from the Big Vision team, focusing on marketability, audience, and distribution. Extensive Discounts from vendors nationwide (see our PARTNERS here). We’ll use our personal relationships and company partnerships to push each film through to major festivals and programs like Sundance, the Tribeca Film Institute, and Vimeo’s Share the Screen Program. Projects will be granted access to an exclusive Distribution Lab & Marketplace in NYC, focusing on audience building and distribution strategies. Past participating companies include The Weinstein Company, IFC, The Discovery Channel, Vimeo, FilmRise, Zeitgeist Films, Magnolia Pictures, and more.
If you have a nearly completed (or finished) a narrative film with a leading character that is a scientist, engineer or mathematician, this grant could be for you. From FIND:
The Sloan Distribution Grant will be a $50,000 grant awarded by Film Independent to a film that is entering its distribution phase...Eligible films must depict themes, stories, and characters grounded in real science, technology or economics.
If you are a student or a low-budget indie maker, 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.
The AbelCine Camera Grant is a program for Film Independent Fellows, alumni of the LA Film Festival and Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees. Film Independent will select a qualified filmmaker who will be loaned a digital camera package (based on availability) to use for his or her feature film production or web series.
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. In its 19th year, it is also accepting pilot submissions. 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: June 26
If you are a UK-based writer with a focus on content for chidlren, you could be one of three projects selected for a BAFTA showcase and industry introductions for this particular call. From Rocliffe:
A fantastic Industry showcase at BAFTA's London HQ with professional actors and directors, industry introductions, access to bespoke masterclasses, an in depth script report on your complete screenplay, a featured spot on the Forum List and a tailored career planning and profile building session to provide support in navigating the industry.
Deadline: July 18
Here's your chance to win $5,000 and get your script recognized for its compelling narrative by Francis Ford Coppola in the 15th Annual Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest. From American Zoetrope:
The mission of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest is to find and promote new and innovative voices in cinema. Every script is read closely by a select handful of professional readers, and Francis Ford Coppola selects a grand prize–winner from among the top ten finalists. The grand prize–winner receives a cash prize, and the scripts of all top ten finalists are sent by Zoetrope to leading production companies and talent agencies for consideration.
Deadline: July 31 (early), September 15 (final)
If you are a UK-based writer with a script, you could be one of three projects selected for the BAFTA showcase. From Rocliffe:
Not only do the finalists receive a selection of fantastic prizes, including an industry showcase at BAFTA, but unlike other initiatives with thousands of entries, our more personal approach gets the finalist and Forum List entries directly in front of execs, agents and producers at our selection panels and juries. To be selected as a finalist, your entry has to have been read and recommended at least four times. That's a lot of eyes on your work and it's before we even announce the winners!
Deadline: September 26
For writers with a script that has real science, math, or technology in it (note: not science fiction) the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation can give you funds to either develop your idea or take your script to the next level under the guidance of Sundance. From the Sundance Institute on the partnership:
Established in 2005 to support the development of screenplays with science and/or technology themes, the collaboration between Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides two different opportunities for screenwriters through a Commissioning Grant or a Lab Fellowship. Both provide a cash award to support further development of a screenplay, opportunities to retain science advisors, and receive overall creative and strategic feedback throughout the life of the project.
Deadline: September 7
Looking for investment in your VR project? Comprised of 47 VR investors who will be holding their next investment meeting in Beijing in September, the VRCVA could be of interest:
We invest in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed reality startups of any size from anywhere around the world. We meet six times a year with our base of operations out of Beijing and San Francisco. Our network spans the entire globe, so it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you are doing something game-changing, we want to help you realize your dream. We are not searching for the next technology revolution because it is already here. We are searching for the next entrepreneur to lead it.
Deadline: August 31
If you have a story-driven, non-fiction, interactive project that incorporates storytelling around a social issue, you could be one of two-four projects chosen for a $50,000-$100,000 grant from the Tribeca Film Institute. From TFI:
The TFI New Media Fund provides funding and support to non-fiction, social issue media projects that go beyond traditional screens – integrating video with content across media platforms, from video games and mobile apps to social networks and interactive websites. We’re looking for projects that activate audiences around issues of contemporary social justice and equality around the world and demonstrate the power of cross-platform storytelling and dynamic audience engagement.
Deadline: Opens September 6, closes TBA
If you have a VR, 360, or 3D project in the works, why not apply to the three day 3D Film Booster at the 9th World Immersion Forum in Brussels? From Stereopsia:
The 3D Film Booster (3DFB) is designed to help independent producers that have projects for innovative 3D contents to give an impulse to these projects. 3DFB can help these producers to find financing and to reach their market and audience. Contents can be films, VR, 360°, etc., all with a 3D flavor...each participant improves his/her project, prepares a project presentation, and pitches it to a panel of potential co-producers and financiers. By pitching their project, participants have a chance to win the Best Project & Pitch Award.
Deadline: September 15
If you want feedback from experts from leading media, technology, and venture capital companies about your digital storytelling, keep an eye out for the upcoming announcement of this weekend incubator. From POV:
POV Digital Lab is a weekend media incubator with a track record of launching funded, highly viewed, and Webby- and Emmy-award nominated media. How will you re-invent the future of storytelling?
Keep an eye on our Grants, Contests & Awards section where we will be sharing new opportunities that come up throughout the season.
Do you know of a grant or other opportunity that's not listed here? Share in the comments!
Header image from Charles Murphy on the set of Film Independent Project Involve supported film, "The Station."