It's a hot, weird summer, and that means... extended deadlines!
It's clearly an unusual time to be in the film funding business. Between the pandemic and the grappling film industry, some funding organizations have adapted new grants to 2021, while others remain on hiatus.
However, one thing's for sure, there are still good opportunities for filmmakers. And something in the air has translated into typical deadlines being extended well into the summer. Lucky for all you procrastinators!
As always, the following opportunities are organized by deadline—from mid July through the end of September—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.
If you have a documentary in post-production, the San Francisco Film Society wants to help you finish it. So far, it has granted over $900,000 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: July 15 (Final)
Are you a filmmaker who has moved to the United States in the past 10 years? If so, you could be just right for this initiative which will award you a $25,000 cash grant and a two-month residency at SFFILM FilmHouse. From the SFFILM:
"Through the SFFILM New American Fellowship, created in partnership with the Flora Family Foundation, SFFILM offers six-month fellowships to narrative or documentary filmmakers who have arrived in the United States within the past 10 years as either an immigrant or a non-immigrant. The fellowship is open to both directors and producers working on at least one active project.
Each year the grant will support either one narrative or one documentary filmmaker. The 2021 application is open to documentary filmmakers."
Deadline: July 15 (Final)
Could you use co-production support and up to $40,000 to complete a stand-alone short doc up to 25 minutes in length? Check out the Short Form Open Call! From ITVS:
"We’re looking for exceptional non-fiction stories that spark dialogue and engage a young and diverse audience on public media’s web-based platforms. Stories of any subject will be considered, though we have a special interest in the following topics: Criminal Justice Reform, Disability, Health, Rural America, Social Justice."
Deadline: Opens June 10
A core component of Sundance's Documentary Film Program, this competitive grant looks for artful films about relevant topics, and it can get you $25,000 to $50,000, 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: July 26
If you're a Canadian documentary filmmaker with a feature documentary under your belt, you could score $20,000 toward 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 percent of the total production costs to a maximum of $20,000. Eligible costs include those that are standard in the industry during production."
Deadline: July 28
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: July 31
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 with cash and mentoring, this year divided into grants for alumni and emerging filmmakers. From MountainFilm:
"Mountainfilm is committed to supporting documentary filmmakers in telling stories that support our mission to inspire audiences to create a better world. We seek non-fiction stories celebrating adventure, activism, social justice, culture, environment, and indomitable spirit. Mountainfilm promotes and encourages diversity behind the camera.
In an effort to give early-career filmmakers much-needed support, Mountainfilm launched the Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship in 2018 focused on supporting documentary filmmakers in production or post-production on their first or second documentary."
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: August 11
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 11
Are you an emerging or mid-career filmmaker from communities typically underrepresented in the media industry? This docuseries workshop touches on everything from development to marketing and distribution and gives you $3500 to boot. From FIND:
"The Film Independent + CNN Original Series Docuseries Intensive is a three-day remote workshop that will give filmmakers the tools and access needed to develop and present their nonfiction series to potential collaborators working in the series space. Through executive and peer mentorship, workshopping, and fostering industry connections, Fellows will walk away with a deeper understanding of how the business works, as well as having tangible next steps to move their projects forward."
Deadline: August 13
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 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 transferred to visions sud est."
Deadline: August 26
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: September 6
If you have a diverse background and could use $25,000 in research and development funding for your single nonfiction program for broadcast on public television, check out this fund. From ITVS:
"We’re looking for exceptional stories by filmmakers from diverse backgrounds: stories that take creative risks, inspire dialogue, and are rarely seen on public media. We are committed to supporting producers of color and creating public media programming that is truly inclusive.
Diversity Development Fund gives producers of color up to $25,000 in research and development funding so you can develop your documentary for public media. Pre-production nonfiction projects only."
Deadline: Opens August 9
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."
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."
Are you an Arab film industry professional working in Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, or Yemen? Check out this new relief opportunity from AFAC:
"The AFAC-Netflix Hardship Fund is an emergency relief fund that aims to support those operating in the region’s film and TV community, most impacted by the pandemic.
The Fund, valued at USD 500,000, will provide financial support in the form of individual grants (USD 2000 per grant) to below-the-line crew, craftspeople, and freelancers who are active in the television and/or film industry in the Arab region, and who are facing economic hardship resulting from the disruption of normal life, halts in productions, and reduced opportunities due to the pandemic."
Deadline: July 15
If you're a South Carolina filmmaker with a short film and a team in place, you could score big with a production grant between $20,000 to $35,000 brought to you by the South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College. From INDIE GRANTS:
"The South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College invite South Carolina filmmakers to apply for INDIE GRANTS, production grants for narrative short film projects. Created to support the state’s production industry and generate professional training environments for Trident Tech film students, INDIE GRANTS have funded and produced over 30 high-quality short films. "
Deadline: July 26
Due to some bonus support from an anonymous donor, GKIDS, and Wacom, the GLAS Animation Festival has scaled up its opportunities this year:
"We are delighted not only to increase the number of grants available in this cycle, but also to increase the value of each to create a more substantial impact... For the GLAS 2021 GLAS Animation Grant Cycle, we will have two grants in the amount of $3000 each, and a new grant in the amount of $6000 to support the creation of independent short films. Grant recipients will also receive a tablet courtesy of Wacom."
Deadline: August 1
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
If you're a directing and producing team with a full-length narrative or documentary film seeking financing, this intensive film finance market could be a great place to find it. From FIND:
"Every year Film Independent selects up to 10 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: August 10 (Extended)
If you're a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, the Film Board of Canada has 10 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)
Be a part of this lab that runs from January through September to get access to mentoring, workshops, and networking events. From FIND:
"This robust program provides invaluable hands-on filmmaking experience from pre-production through premiere. Participants are paired with mentors at the top of their respective fields, and receive personalized guidance to help move their projects and careers forward.
Each year, 30 filmmakers from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, create short films, and gain industry access needed to succeed as working artists."
Deadline: August 30
Now accepting shorts, features, documentaries, or series, if you’ve got a script or are in the 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 and 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, and exceptional potential. Grant amounts will vary from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scale and merit of each project."
Deadline: Opens August 31
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: September 9 (for November 15 decision)
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) 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're looking to be discovered in any of these 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: July 31
$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:
"The 19th Annual Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition connects talented writers with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running and most successful screenplay contests, we focus specifically on finding emerging writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, bold storytelling, and pushing original projects into production."
Deadline: Opens August 1
If you are a UK-based writer with a brilliant TV drama, you could be one of three projects selected for a BAFTA showcase and industry introductions for this particular call. From Rocliffe:
"Three winners of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Initiative get: A fantastic Industry showcase at a central London venue with professional actors and directors, industry introductions, access to bespoke masterclasses, and a tailored career planning and profile building session to provide support in navigating the industry. Five tickets to the live showcase with a travel allowance for the writer if traveling from outside of the M25."
Deadline: Opens mid-July, 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 19
The competition associated with the Cinequest Film Festival offers $5,000 for the winning feature script and $1,000 for a short/teleplay as well as recognition during the Writers Celebration at the fest. From Cinequest:
"The Cinequest Screenwriting Competition continues to empower global connectivity between screenwriters, filmmakers, producers, and innovators. Cinequest loves writers, and we welcome you to submit your screenplay or teleplay to our renowned competition. The Top 10 Finalists receive many empowering benefits including: VIP All Access passes to the Cinequest Film Festival and exclusive Writers Celebration, plus exposure to leading industry players and inspiring luminaries."
Deadline: September 17 (Regular)
If you have made anything from 3D content for cinema, TV, and VR (preferably cinematic VR) co-produced to some extent in Europe, why not submit? From Stereopsia:
"The Awards Competition of Stereopsia is one of the main components of the Stereopsia event. The awards are Crystal Owls, hand-made by the Cristallerie du Val Saint-Lambert of Liège, Belgium. These awards concern XR contents produced in Europe. They are given to the winners during the Awards dinner & ceremony of Stereopsia, held at the end of the last day of this event, at a fabulous location in the heart of Brussels, Belgium."
Deadline: September 15
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!