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2024 Pare Lorentz Production Guidelines

Made possible by the New York Community Trust, the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund supports feature-length documentary films that reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's work, exhibiting objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, artistic writing, and outstanding music composition, as well as skillful direction, camerawork, and editing.


Mission and Objective

Made possible by the New York Community Trust, the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund supports feature-length documentary films that reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's work, exhibiting objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, artistic writing, and outstanding music composition, as well as skillful direction, camerawork, and editing. 

The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund began in 2011, making it the International Documentary Association’s oldest fund, and has granted $1,285,000 to 69 projects. Starting in 2023, the Fund began accepting Immersive Nonfiction projects as part of the Pare Lorentz slate. Now, the Fund accepts applications from all over the world.

The fund provides production and post-production grants to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate urgent issues. Noteworthy Pare Lorentz grantees include Black Mothers, Not Going Quietly, Hummingbirds, After Sherman, and Crip Camp. A complete list of Pare Lorentz grantees can be found in our Grantee Database.

Projects must focus on one or more of Pare Lorentz's central concerns—environmental issues, justice for all, or the illumination of pressing social problems. Our 2024 theme is Gender Justice and will be part of the IDA open call in May.

 

Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicant must be the director and/or a producer who shares creative and editorial oversight of the project. 
  • The applicant must be 18 years of age or older.
  • The applicant must be an independent filmmaker working on an original project. For the purposes of this grant, IDA defines an independent filmmaker as a content creator who both owns the copyright of his or her work and has full artistic, budgetary, and editorial control of the documentary project. Documentaries being produced for or under the direction of a third party, such as a broadcast entity, university, foundation or nonprofit organization are ineligible.
  • Applicants can apply from anywhere in the world. The applicant is not required to have nonprofit status or fiscal sponsorship at the time of application. 
    • If you do not have a U.S.-based crew member who can accept funds on behalf of the project, then if awarded the project will need to have a Fiscal Sponsor
  • At least one director and/or producer on the project must have directed and/or produced a minimum of one feature-length film (40 minutes or longer). 
    • If applying with an IMMERSIVE PROJECT, please provide samples of your past projects. You will be able to upload a deck, as well, in case your work can’t be shared on a link. 
  • The applicant is not required to be a member of IDA.

Application Eligibility

  • All required Application Questions need to be answered. If a question has multiple parts, then all parts must be addressed in order to be considered.
  • The proposal must include an online work sample of 10-15 minutes in length. Rough cuts will not be reviewed. If you submit a sample longer than 15 minutes, only the first 15 minutes will be reviewed, unless you note which 15 minutes the reviewers should watch. Add that note to your work sample description. 
  • Work samples shorter than 10 minutes will not be considered.
    • This 10-minute minimum does not apply to immersive projects.
  • As of 2023, we will require that current work samples have captions. They can be open captions, subtitles with audio descriptions, or closed captions. Current work samples without captions will not be considered.
  • Work samples should not be changed throughout the selection period- June through October of 2024.

Project Eligibility

  • The project must address the theme of Gender Justice.The film budget must not exceed $700,000 USD
  • The project must focus on one of Pare Lorentz's central concerns—environmental issues, justice for all, or the illumination of pressing social problems.
  • The project must be in production or post-production, having completed the bulk of research and development but still having substantial production and post-production-related work and expenses remaining.
  • Access to major film participants must be secured.
  • The film must be intended to reach a large and broad audience. A broadcast or distribution commitment is not required.
  • Stories must be original, relevant to contemporary audiences, and of an urgent or critically important nature. Purely historical films will only be considered if they have a significant contemporary component or narrative.
  • NOT eligible to apply: Biographies, branded content, student films, completed films, films that are purely historical, and short documentaries (under 40 minutes finished run time)

Supported Activities

Eligible projects will be in the production stage, having completed the bulk of research and development but still having substantial production or post-production-related work and expenses remaining. Grant funds may be used for production and post-production related expenses incurred during the period of support.

Expenses may include line items such as principal photography, travel, equipment purchase or rental, insurance, rights and clearances, editing, and crew salaries. The fund does not support expenses related to fundraising, distribution, publicity, marketing, or outreach.

Both 2-D and Immersive Nonfiction visual projects are eligible to apply for the Pare Lorentz grant. 

Period of Support

The official grant period of concentrated support is one year from the date of the grant award. Filmmakers are strongly encouraged to use their grant funds within that first year. The project will continue to receive bespoke IDA support after the first granting year until the film is complete. The team is expected to send an annual report and updated budget until the project is complete. 

Grant Award Range

We will select three projects, and each will be awarded a grant of $25,000 USD. 

Evaluation Criteria

Both IDA staff and a committee of distinguished filmmakers will review applications and accompanying materials. Some of the questions that staff and review committee members will use in evaluating applicants include:

  • Does the applicant, application, and project, as presented, meet the grant goals and eligibility requirements for Pare Lorentz?
  • Does the project tell a compelling story and address a pressing issue about exploring Gender Justice?
  • Does the project address one of Pare Lorentz’s central concerns: environmental issues, justice for all, and/or the illumination of pressing social problems?
  • Does the project take an innovative approach to the subject matter? If this story has been told before, does this project's approach bring something new to the story?
  • Does the Project Director have the access necessary to tell the story in a compelling way?
  • What is the filmmaker's connection to the community in which the story is about? If the filmmaker is an outsider, how will he/she/they engage and collaborate with the community?
  • What is the quality of the work sample provided? Does it have a strong visual style and does it reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's films, such as exhibiting high production values, artistic writing, outstanding music composition and skillful direction, camerawork and editing?
  • Does the application clearly illustrate the story and narrative structure, the filmmakers’ vision, and the contemporary relevance of the story?  
  • Are the Project Director and production team assembled experienced and capable of completing the project as described?
  • Does the application identify an audience and a realistic plan to reach that audience? 
  • Is the budget thorough and realistic? Are line items in the budget within industry norms and standards? Does the budget reflect what is written in the application?