Let's face it: many filmmakers are trading in financial security to make our films. Especially early in our careers, we tend to get by with freelance work or day jobs and spend our free time and resources doing whatever it takes to get our films made. This means that, when an emergency strikes, we are often ill-prepared to handle it. Obviously, we all wish this were not the reality of the situation, and several institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts and the International Documentary Association have been working across the field to find solutions for a more sustainable industry.

To that end, American Documentary (AmDoc) has announced the availability of an Artist Emergency Fund, "aimed at providing emergency financial assistance to filmmakers facing unexpected and substantial personal, health or property needs or losses including those caused by accidents or natural disasters." AmDoc is the venerable producer of POV, the longest-running TV series of independent nonfiction films and, as such, its staff has a good sense of the financial challenges facing doc filmmakers.

You are eligible to apply for this one-time grant of $1000 if you reside in the United States and have produced and/or directed at least one nonfiction project that has been publicly exhibited in a curated and/or non-commercial environment, such as a festival. Note that the grant covers unexpected personal needs or loss such as a health emergency or legal challenge, but it does not cover expenses related to the production of your project or activities considered as taxable income by the IRS, such as a delayed payment from a freelance client.

The straightforward application is available as a Google Form online and, don't worry, due to the potential personal nature of these requests, all materials will be kept confidential.

Our opportunity posts don't usually get personal, but as reps of a global community of filmmakers, we'd like to thank AmDocs for your generosity and consideration of the "bigger pitcure" of what it takes to get our films made in a responsible and healthy way.