Whether it's a new climate for granting organizations or a temporary influx of cash, this summer has more grants for more money than any summer before it. NEH, SFFILM, Film Independent, Chicken & Egg, Sloan, Sundance are just a few institutions that are going strong this granting season for docs, narrative filmmakers, and screenwriters alike. As always, the following opportunities are organized by deadline—from late May through the end of August—and by category: documentaries, narratives, screenwriting, and new media. Good luck!
Note: An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative.
As always, use your best judgment when deciding to apply.
Still from Ciara Lacy's documentary 'Out of State' about native Hawaiian prisoners shipped 3000 miles to a for-profit prison in Arizona, a recipient of ITVS Open Call funding.Credit: Out of State
A core component of Sundance's Documentary Film Program, this competitive grant looks for artful films about relevant topics, and it can get you $14,000 to $40,000, depending on the application type from Development to Production/PostProduction. From the Sundance Institute:
The Sundance Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for feature-length 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.
Deadline: June 2 (for September decision)
If you have a documentary in post-production, the San Francisco Film Society wants to help you finish it. So far, it has granted $750,000 in finishing funds for documentaries that went on to achieve great acclaim, such as RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Peter Bratt’s Dolores, and Zachary Heinzerling's Cutie and the Boxer, which was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. From SFFILM:
The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports engaging documentaries in post-production which exhibit compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach...DFF grants are awarded once each year to documentary feature projects and are open to filmmakers internationally. Individual grant amounts and the number of grants made will be determined on an annual basis. As with all SFFILM grants, in addition to the cash awards, recipients will gain access to numerous benefits through the comprehensive and dynamic SFFILM Makers artist development program.
Deadline: June 5 (Final)
Now in its second year, this initiative from SFFILM and Vulcan Productions offers you $25,000 plus an advisor, travel to San Francisco and Seattle, and more to explore an important environmental or conservation story that needs to be told. From the SFFILM:
SFFILM and Vulcan Productions believe that filmmakers tackling stories about climate change and the environment need and deserve meaningful financial and creative support, particularly as the environment and science as a whole face new threats. The SFFILM Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship is geared towards filmmakers from anywhere in the world with a proven track record of creating compelling, wide-reaching stories through documentary film, photography, journalism, or related fields.
Deadline: June 5
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:
Open Call gives independent producers up to $350,000 to complete production for a standalone broadcast length documentary to air on public television. The documentary can be on any subject, viewpoint or style (except live action drama or fiction) as long as it is in active production already, as evidenced via a work in progress sample.
Deadline: Opens June 10
If you're looking to develop an Australian documentary or co-production, you could get up to $30,000 for development from Screen Australia:
The aim of Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program is to assist documentary makers in achieving planned outcomes for the development of their projects...The program primarily supports one-off and series documentaries, including online and VR.
Deadline: June 14
If you're a Canadian documentary filmmaker with feature documentary under your belt, you could score $20,000 towards production on your next film. From Hot Docs:
Over the coming 10 years, production grants will be distributed to Canadian documentary filmmakers. Up to $20,000 will be granted to three or four projects each year. The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund will provide successful applicants with a grant of up to 20 per cent of the total production costs to a maximum of $20,000. Eligible costs include those that are standard in the industry during production.
Deadline: June 19
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 20
Could you use $35K, creative retreats, industry meetings, peer mentorship, and funder connections to finish your feature documentary? Then check out this re-branded initiative from the esteemed organization Chicken & Egg Pictures:
The (Egg)celerator Lab (formerly the Accelerator Lab) is focused on identifying and supporting nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature-length documentary. This program brings together ten projects, with a special focus on self-identifying women and gender non-conforming directors...The Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab for first- and second-time directors is generously supported by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NDL Foundation, the Time Warner Foundation, and The Whickers.
Deadline: June 25
Growing every year, the organizers of Camden International Film Festival have expanded the Points North Fellowship for six early to mid-career filmmaking teams to receive two All Access passes to the festival, flights, five nights of accommodations, and a stipend to subsidize their travel to Camden for the Points North Pitch and overall industry mentorship to launch their doc project. From CIFF:
The Fellowship begins during an intensive week on the coast of Maine leading up to the annual Camden International Film Festival. In private workshops, Fellows receive rigorous feedback from mentors and peers as they practice their pitches, strengthen their artistic voices, and develop their funding and distribution strategies. The week culminates at the Points North Pitch, the only public pitch of its kind, where each team pitches their project to a dozen leading funders, broadcasters, producers and distributors.
Deadline: June 28 (Extended)
Could you use some time to work on post-production of 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:
One week prior to the start of the Camden International Film Festival, four teams of filmmakers convene in a large house on the coast of Maine. Between group meals and outdoor excursions, they edit, screen, and discuss rough cuts, while working closely with a rotating cast of mentors. During the festival, participants meet with some of the industry’s leading funders and distributors of shorts, building the support, community and resources they need to complete their films. Past mentors have included representatives from Field of Vision, VICE, Vimeo, Great Big Story (CNN) and Netflix.
Deadline: June 28 (Extended)
The International Documentary Association will award up to $15,000 from the Fund for feature-length documentaries that are contemporary and of an urgent or critically important nature. From IDA:
The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides development funds to documentary film projects taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories and integrating journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund.
Deadline: Opens July 1, 2019, closes September 2
Hot Docs Blue Ice Fund: Development or Production
If you are a resident of and are shooting a project on the continent of Africa, you could get mentorship, consideration for NY Op-Docs, and between $10,000 CDN to $40,000 CDN depending on your state of production. From Hot Docs:
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund (HDBIG) offers grants in Development and Production for feature or broadcast-length documentaries. Approximately four to 10 projects are awarded each year. All successful applications will be considered for the mentorship program. Select applicants will be invited to apply for short documentaries to The New York Times—Op-Docs under the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund banner.
Deadline: Opens June 5, Closes August 14
If you're working on a documentary that touches on themes such as mountain culture or the environment, the MountainFilm Commitment Grant will award filmmakers and photographers. From MountainFilm:
Mountainfilm is committed to help creative individuals tell stories that support our mission. Each year, we award a total of $30,000 in grants to filmmakers, photographers, artists and adventurers whose projects are intended to inspire audiences to create a better world.
Deadline: Opens June 13
The Scottish Documentary Institute is rapidly becoming a renowned force behind interesting documentaries coming out of the region, so if you're based in Scotland, the Consultancies are a good way to get your foot in the door. From SDI:
Throughout the year we offer professional consultancies to Scotland-based filmmakers, for projects (shorts and features) in development, production or distribution. Our consultants include SDI core team members as well as first-rate UK based and international external advisors.
Deadline: July 1
If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, you could get $5K for a project in the research and development stage, or $10K for a film in pre-production, production, or post-production. From the SDF:
The Southern Documentary Fund is proud to announce The SDF Production Grant for documentaries made by filmmakers living and working in the American South, funded with the generous support of The MacArthur Foundation...Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) is a trusted partner for veteran, emerging, and first-time documentary producers across our region, helping them direct their lenses and microphones at powerful Southern stories and critical issues.
Deadline: July 15
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 (and you have already secured at least 30% of your funding), Visions Sud Est has typically awarded 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 in 2005 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. In 2011, the Festival del film Locarno has joined the fund as new partner. The fund supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland. In case a project is being supported, all rights for Switzerland are automatically transfered to visions sud est.
Deadline: July 31
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: Opens June 14, closes August 14
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: Opens June 14, closes August 14
The Alter-Ciné Foundation offers grants 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:
Every year, the Foundation awards a grant of 10,000 Canadian dollars and a few 5,000 Canadian dollars grants to some filmmakers to assist in the production of a documentary project. The grant is aimed at young video and filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America who want to direct a film in the language of their choice that respects the aims of the Foundation, as explained above.
Deadline: August 15
If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support Outreach and Engagement to an average $10,000 to $25,000, and Rapid Story Deployment (now by invitation only) with $2,500 to $10,000. From the Fledgling Fund:
Fledgling has an open rolling application process for grants to support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the health and well being of the most vulnerable.
If you're just starting out on a documentary, you know how hard it is to raise money when you have nothing to show. Because, hey, you need money to shoot something to show! The Catapult Film Fund will give you $5,000 to $20,000 to shoot enough footage so you can fundraise for the rest of the project. From Catapult:
Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story, and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes. Our mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their films to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find.
Still from 'Kiko' by Jamil Muñoz, a recipient of the short film grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists.Credit: Kiko
From Brooklyn-based production company Flies Collective, helmed by indie filmmakers Daniel Patrick Carbone, Matthew Petock, and Zach Shedd, this grant is offering up $15,000 to bold filmmakers working with low budgets. From Flies Collective:
The Flies Collective Film Grant was created last year because we recognized there was a growing need for additional support for projects within the independent space. We wanted to offer no-strings-attached support — both financial and moral — to a diverse group of bold filmmakers, with a special focus on the kinds of projects that go largely unnoticed by, or simply don’t qualify for, the majority of traditional grant-based fundraising avenues. This grant is open to any filmmaker making any film. We are thrilled to be doing this for a second year and look forward to receiving projects that are distinct, creative and unique.
Deadline: May 31
Specifically for New England filmmakers, the LEF Moving Image Fund supports original and creative films with 4-6 pre-production funds of $5,000. From LEF:
LEF invests in documentary film and video projects that demonstrate excellence in technique, originality of vision and voice, and creativity in form. The strongest proposals will be those that clearly articulate the ways in which the proposed project aligns with the program’s funding criteria.
Deadline: June 2
Do you have a project and director attached either in development or post-production? Apply to be a part of this one week Lab to get your project to fruition. From FIND:
The Producing Lab helps further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing. In addition to attending lab sessions with legal, financial and production experts, each Producing Lab Fellow will be paired with an experienced Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work to develop their project over the course of the program. Taking place during the course of one week in October, the Lab culminates with a pitch session with established executives, offering participants valuable practical experience and the chance to introduce their projects to a larger cross-section of the industry.
Deadline: June 4
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 14
Are you a female filmmaker with a dramatic narrative feature or NY-based documentary? Get some finishing help from NYWFT:
Grants for an online session and/or a sound mix will be awarded to documentary films directed and produced by New York area-based women filmmakers. Films may be up to one and a half hours long. The grants will be awarded to help complete a work-in-progress. Films must have completed principle photography and be at a rough cut or fine cut stage to be eligible. Grants for a color grading session will be awarded to dramatic features by women directors.
Deadline: June 14
This grant, established through New York Women in Film and Television, will give $5,000 to a first-time US-based female filmmaker for a currently o recently completed dramatic feature. From NYWFT:
The Nancy Malone MAP Grant may be used for festival entry fees, marketing materials, video duplication, publicists, promotion at the film’s opening, or other approved marketing and promotional expenses. The grantee will provide a marketing plan with proposed expenses for approval by NYWIFT.
Deadline: June 14
Have an animated short you’d love to make within a year? Check out this new opportunity from the people behind the GLAS Animation Festival:
As filmmakers ourselves, we had a keen understanding of the lack of opportunities for funds specifically geared towards independent animators working outside of a commercial context, making bold, artistic work. In fact, there were literally no national grants exclusively for animators in the United States. We wanted to change that, and support animation artists making groundbreaking and vital work.
For the 2019 GLAS Animation Grant cycle, two separate $2500 grants (made possible with the support of an Anonymous donor) are to be awarded to two individual filmmakers living and working in the United States to create independent short films.
Deadline: June 14
To honor the late artist David Ross Fetzer, the DRFF offers grants to up-and-coming filmmakers (now with no age restrictions!) and this year offers two grants of $5000, one grant for $2500 plus $10,000 gear package by Film Xchange, and a second of the same amount to a Utah based filmmaker. Grantees also receive mentorship from experienced filmmakers, including in past years Sundance film festival participants Dustin Guy Defa (Person to Person) and Kenny Riches (The Strongest Man). From the Davey Foundation:
The goal of the Foundation is to provide opportunities for young, emerging filmmakers and playwrights to have their work produced and shown on screens and theatres in Utah, and nationally...The Davey Foundation was created in memory of actor, director, producer, musician, and community activist David Fetzer, who passed away at 30 from an accidental prescription painkiller overdose. David believed that art could be engaging and life-changing, and lived his conviction...Beginning our sixth year, The Davey Foundation has been able to provide mentoring and opportunity to 16 emerging artists.
Deadline: June 15 (Early), July 5 (Regular), July 25 (Late)
Are you a student or emerging creator (over 18) looking to jumpstart your career? ADAA can offer the chance for mentorship, detailed feedback, career boot camps, internships, and more. From ADAA:
Appropriate entries are cinematic or live action examples that demonstrate the ability to use Adobe tools in the process of post-production video editing. Entries may include any combination of computer-generated graphics, visual effects, or digital reproductions of images.
Deadline: June 21
If you've completed 90% of production of your narrative, documentary, animated or experimental of any length, this fund from Women in Film will give out four grants of up to $25,000 in funds and in-kind donations and general grants anywhere between $1,000 - $20,000. From WIF:
Stella Artois is proud to continue their support of female filmmakers with $100,000 in grant money for the Women In Film Finishing Fund. Stella Artois will provide four $25,000 grants for fiction and documentary films that inspire social change, with particular consideration given to films with a water social action theme. There is also a general fund with grants ranging from $1,000-$20,000. The amount of films we select ranges from year to year depending on the submission pool we receive.
Deadline: June 23 (Regular)
If you're a directing and producing team with a full-length narrative or documentary film seeking financing, the Los Angeles Fast Track market could be a great place to find it. From FIND:
Every year Film Independent selects up to ten fiction and five non-fiction feature projects to participate in an intensive film finance market that takes place over four days in November. Designed to connect producer-director teams with industry leaders and put projects on the “fast track,” the market consists of meetings with top executives, financiers, agents, managers, distributors, granting organizations and production companies.
Deadline: June 24
If you're a South Carolina filmmaker with a short film that script that could be at least 75% shot in SC, you could score big with a production grant to the tune of $35,000 brought to you by The South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College. From INDIE GRANTS:
Created to support indigenous South Carolina production professionals and generate professional training environments for TTC film students, the INDIE GRANTS have funded and produced 30 short films since 2010. These projects have been official selections of international film festivals like Sundance, Palm Springs, Austin Film Festival, FantasticFest, Cucalorus, Tall Grass, Slamdance, Stiges, Oxford, Nashville Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Indie Memphis, LA Film Festival, DragonCon, and many more.
Deadline: June 24
The Roy Dean Grant includes over $30,000 of in-kind services and products is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500,000. From FTHP:
The Roy W. Dean Film Grant funds short films, documentaries, and independent features, and web series that are budgeted under $500,000. They must be films that are unique and make a contribution to society. 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. We are story-tellers, and that is the main criteria for entering and winning our grants; stories that can change, heal, and enrich, our lives.
Deadline: June 30
Now accepting shorts, features, documentaries, or series, if you’ve got a script or are in early stages of production, you could be one of two filmmakers to score up to $30,000 in financing and production services. From ScreenCraft:
In partnership with BondIt Media Capital, a film & media fund based in Beverly Hills, ScreenCraft is offering two production grants per year to talented filmmakers for narrative features, short films and TV pilot series scripts and documentaries that display originality, vision & exceptional potential. Grant amounts will vary from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scale and merit of each project.
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)
If you're an Australia-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. From Screen Australia:
Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production program aims to support a diverse slate of Australian films for theatrical release that entertain and enlighten domestic and international audiences while reflecting the unique characteristics of Australian identity.
Deadline: July 5 (for September 2 decision)
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 Berlinale's 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 5
Be a part of this lab that runs from January through September 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: July 15
This initiative for filmmakers working on their first or second narrative feature film comes from the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam dedicated to funding script development by filmmakers from developing countries. Since the fund started in 1988, well over 530 projects from independent filmmakers in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have received support. From IFFR:
A Script and Project Development grant can be used for the further development of a script (e.g. research, writing, translation or hiring a coach or script consultant), but can also be used to present a project to financiers or other potential partners at (international) co-production meetings or film festivals. The maximum contribution for Script and Project Development is €10,000.
Deadline: August 1
For Arab directors and producers living in the Arab region or in the diaspora, you could anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 for a narrative project of any length. From AFAC:
As part of its 2018 general grants program, AFAC is pleased to launch the open call for applications in the category of cinema, starting May 1st and until August 1st, 2018. AFAC’s cinema grants are open to all kinds of fiction film projects – shorts, medium- and feature-length, animation, essay, hybrid, experimental and others. AFAC offers funding for the development, production and post-production phases.
Deadline: August 1
This grant, established through New York Women in Film and Television, will support a woman second-time feature film director who is over 40 years of age in the production of a dramatic feature film at any stage with $7500. From NYWFT:
Grant-seekers must have previously directed a dramatic feature film or feature documentary that was released theatrically in the United States or included in a major film festival, or a feature-length television movie shown on a national TV platform. Women who have directed one dramatic feature (for theatrical or TV) or more than one feature documentary are eligible. Applicants must be US residents and the works must be primarily in English.
Deadline: August 2
This continuing initiative from the Francis Ford Coppola-founded American Zoetrope 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: TBA, typically end of Summer
Back with a new submission process and portal, Cinereach will award between $5,000-$50,000 to over 20 films each year! From Cinereach:
Cinereach develops, produces, finances, and supports feature-length fiction, nonfiction and hybrid films crafted for the big screen. We look for projects (at any stage) that create deep and lasting impressions through story, character, or cinematic approach. We seek to work with both unknown and established filmmakers who may face creative, financial or systemic obstacles to realizing ambitious visions.
Need help releasing your film as far and wide as it can possibly go? Why not let the wise people at Sundance be your guide. From the Sundance Institute:
We are seeking films at all budget levels featuring distinctive, singular voices. We will select three or four films on a rolling basis, and we will support fellows during their initial release period (6 - 12 months). Films will be selected by a committee comprised of the Creative Distribution team along with key representatives from the Institute’s Feature Film, Documentary, and Festival programs. Our evaluation process will have two stages. We will initially review applications reviewing essay questions and a trailer or clip. After this initial review, we will invite select applicants to submit their feature in its entirety, and notify others that their project has been declined.
Deadline: Open Until Full
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.
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.
$25,000 is up for grabs, along with consultations and personal introductions meant to give you a leg up in the industry. From Script Pipeline:
Now in its 17th year, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition seeks talented writers to connect with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running screenplay contests, we focus specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production.
Deadline: May 31 (Extended)
If you're looking to be discovered in either of these three genres and win $1k in the process, one of these contests could be for you. From Screencraft:
Our screenwriting competitions have secured managers and agents for screenwriters around the world. Are you looking for the best screenplay contests to connect you with Hollywood executives? We handpick the managers, agents and producers that are the right fit for our winning screenwriters and foster meaningful relationships with entertainment industry executives. By focusing each contest on a specific genre or format, we eliminate any inherent genre bias that other major screenwriting competitions may have.
Deadline: June 30 - August 31, depending on category
The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world. We are looking for work that is truly compelling and stories that are truly unique.
Deadline: June 10 (Regular), July 22 (Late)
If you are a UK-based writer with a focus on content for children, 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: Opens June TBA
Do you have a completed draft of a script that needs workshopping? From FIND:
The Screenwriting Lab is a week-long workshop beginning in February, designed to provide individualized story and career development for emerging screenwriters with a fiction feature screenplay. Each Screenwriting Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor, with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to further develop their project over the course of the program.
Deadline: August 13
If you have a humanities-themed project that is intended for distribution on new media, check out this grant between $30k - $300K from NEH:
The Digital Projects for the Public program supports projects that interpret and analyze humanities content in primarily digital platforms and formats, such as websites, mobile applications and tours, interactive touch screens and kiosks, games, and virtual environments. The projects must be designed to attract broad public audiences.
Deadline: June 12
If you have 3D contents for cinema, TV, and VR (preferably cinematic VR), and are from a region below, why not submit? From Stereopsia:
On behalf of the Advanced Imaging Society based in Hollywood, CA, Stereopsia organizes - for the 8th consecutive year - the competition for the “Lumiere Awards” for the territory consisting of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The best contents will receive a golden Lumiere statuette during the remarkable registration-only Awards dinner on 13 Dec.
Deadline: September 18
Looking for investment in your super cool VR project? Comprised of 47 VR investors who hold investment meetings every two months between London, San Francisco, and Shenzhen, with the next San Francisco session happening in June. From VRCVA:
The VRVCA meets every year in Beijing, London or San Francisco. If your startup is looking to help shape the VR revolution and you want to come pitch to us, submit your Pitch Deck for the VRVCA Steering Committee. We will review new submissions on a rolling basis.
If you're passionate about VR and would like to cultivate your skills and a relationship with HTC Vive, not to mention get some funding and industry connections, consider applying to VIVE X in its fourth iteration. From Vive:
Our mission is simple: We want to help cultivate, foster and grow the global VR ecosystem by supporting startups and providing them with education, investment, and mentorship. Shape the future today by participating in our accelerator programs located in Beijing, San Francisco, Taipei, ShenZhen, Tel Aviv and more locations to come.
Are you a VR content developer who can build on and support the open ecosystem? This $5million fund from Razer could be worth looking in to. From OSVR:
OSVR knows that VR content developers can’t afford to be limited by walled gardens and closed ecosystems. By supporting OSVR, developers can not only remain focused on creating the best VR experience without any limitations but instantly gain audience as new VR platforms get released. This fund is open to all developers, indie or major, to apply. For every successful applicant, OSVR funding partners will purchase copies of their content in exchange for OSVR integration.
This $1million dollar fund from Merge could get you funding for your project. From Merge:
We’re committed to supporting your vision and want to invest in you! Whether you’re building an educational game, a digital toy, or another innovative AR/VR experience, we want to help make your ideas a reality.
Positioned as an intimate VR community of no more than 200 creators, Kaleidoscope acceptance could lead to funding from the likes of Oculus and invitations to events like World Tour and the DevLab content accelerator. From Kaleidoscope:
At Kaleidoscope our mission is to give independent VR creators and studios the resources they need to do great work. An invite-only community, Kaleidoscope helps secure financing, distribution and exposure for premium VR content.
If you have a film that incorporates all that is cool about science and you have a fiscal sponsor that can accept the award for you (like the Sloan-funded VR film about LIGO) like this New Media grant could be worth exploring. From Sloan:
Program goal: Advance public understanding and engagement with science through the support of innovative projects that use a range of media to reach a broad, cross-cultural audience. Grants support both traditional and web-native media that fall outside the other Public Understanding programs. Supported media types include opera, dance, music, museum exhibits, interactive games, smartphone apps, ebooks, web-native video, conferences, art and science festivals, and other cultural events.
- IFP’s Guide to Granting Organizations — IFP
- POV's Documentary Funding Calendar — PBS
- indiefilmTO's The Ultimate Guide To Grant Writing (For Filmmakers In 2018)
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!
Featured header image of Dolores Huerta in the documentary 'Dolores' by Peter Bratt, a recipient of the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund.