This New Relief Fund Gives Documentary Freelancers $2K

A woman with hijab captures a scene with the camera
The Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund is doling out $250,000 to documentary filmmakers impacted by COVID-19.

Field of Vision and Topic Studios announced today they are taking out a big lump of cash from their operating budget in order to help documentary filmmakers stay afloat during the pandemic. With a maximum grant amount of $2,000, you're looking at at least 125 different filmmakers in the documentary field who can get some much needed financial help right now.

You may know Field of Vision from the commissioning of great documentary content, including a special eye for the short form, since their formation in 2015. Do Not Split directed by Anders Hammer was a recent Field of Vision project, and you can listen to Hammer's essential account of filming in the midst of Hong Kong protests in the No Film School podcast here.

Field of Vision co-founder Charlotte Cook sees the importance of the Relief Fund, saying, "This is an incredibly hard time for the documentary field and we're hoping the fund is able to offer some relief. We started with our virtual mentorship and consultation service to try and be as available to filmmakers as possible, but felt it was vitally important to also provide financial assistance. We want to support the artists working in the documentary field every day, but especially now, and will continue to build and add more resources as we can over the next few weeks and months."

Topic Studios is an arm of First Look Media dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture, which has brought you films like Spotlight and the Netflix series Losers. Here is why Maria Zuckerman, Executive Vice President of Topic Studios, is passionate about the new fund. "We at Topic Studios are proud to launch this initiative in partnership with our close colleagues at Field of Vision," she said. "We hope to respond to the needs of our collaborators in the documentary community and look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when our main focus will again be on making great work together."

Who is Eligible?

The requirements according to Field of Vision are fairly loose, including all positions from publicist to editor:

  • Directors
  • Producers (This includes Associate Producers)
  • DPs
  • Editors
  • Sound Recordists/Designers
  • Researchers
  • Assistants
  • Critics & Writers who have covered documentaries
  • Publicists

How are Recipients Chosen?

It's based on a blind review. According to Field of Vision, the selection process "will begin with a blind review of applications by a panel of filmmakers and producers, with a simultaneous review by the Field of Vision and Topic Studios teams."

If you receive funding, it is unrestricted. So you can apply it towards anything you need. However, you should describe what you would like to use the funds for in your application, and urgent items like rent and grocery bills will figure much higher than say, a new lens for your camera!

Deadlines

  • April fund is open from April 8th to April 10th, or until 750 applications have come in
  • May fund is open from May 6th to May 8th, or until 750 applications have come in

How to Apply

Visit the Relief Fund page at Field of Vision here.

Looking for more documentary funds during the pandemic? Check out this fund from AmDoc for grants of $250-$00 here, and read our primer on federal funding for freelancers in How the CARES Act Is Going to Save Your Ass    

Header image from Field of Vision Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund.

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