Fall 2015 Grants and Opportunities
By Lisa Hasko
ROY W. DEAN FILM GRANTS
The Roy W. Dean Grant funds short films, documentaries, and independent features that are budgeted under $500,000. They must be films that are unique and make a contribution to society. They fund compelling stories about little known subjects, historical films, and films that touch hearts, with a focus on films that bring important information to light, as well as films about little known people when there is a good story.
Deadline: September 30, 2015
BERTHA BRITDOC CONNECT FUND
The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary feature film with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.
Deadline: October 5, 2015
CALIFORNIA DOCUMENTARY PROJECT GRANT
The California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grants program that supports documentary film, radio, and new media productions that enhance our understanding of California and its cultures, peoples, and histories. Projects must use the humanities to provide context, depth, and perspective and be suitable for California and national audiences through broadcast and/or distribution. Since 2003, California Humanities has awarded approximately $4 million to projects that document the California experience and explore issues of significance to Californians. CDP grants support projects at the research and development, production, and public engagement stages.
Deadline: October 15, 2015
FRAMELINE COMPLETION FUND
The Frameline Completion Fund provides grants to emerging and established filmmakers. This program seeks to provide a much-needed source of financial contributions to artists who often struggle to secure funding to complete their works. Submissions are being accepted for documentary, educational, narrative, animated or experimental projects about LGBTQ people and their communities. Grants up to $5000 are available for films that represent and reflect LGBTQ life in all its complexity and richness.
Deadline: October 31, 2015
PACIFIC PIONEER FUND
(For artists who live and work in California, Oregon and Washington.)
To support emerging documentary filmmakers. The term "emerging" is intended to denote a person committed to the craft of making documentaries, who has demonstrated that commitment by several years -- but no more than ten -- of practical film or video experience.
Deadline: December 1, 2015
GRANTS WITH A ROLLING DEADLINE
SUNDANCE INSTITUTE DOCUMENTARY FUND
The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund supports nonfiction filmmakers worldwide in the production of cinematic documentaries with meaning and moral purpose and strong storytelling. Grantees become eligible for creative Documentary Labs, Fellows programs at the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and the Sundance Film Festival, and editorial and creative support. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the application period.
THE FLEDGLING FUND
The Fledgling Fund awards grants that support outreach and audience engagement. Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable. There are two types of grants available: audience engagement planning grants or audience engagement implementation grants. Grants are NOT available to support production or post-production.
WORLD CINEMA FUND
Support for directors originating from one of the listed WCF regions (Africa, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus) and have a German partner, normally working as a co-producer or distributor. 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, either in production or distribution, 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 (distribution): Rolling
THE FORD FOUNDATION - JUSTFILMS
JustFilms grants to independently-produced social justice film and digital projects in the foundation's priority areas. Because of existing commitments, announced for 2011-2015, the majority of JustFilms funding is allocated. JustFilms will be transitioning to the foundation's new structure for 2016 and beyond. They encourage grantseekers to review our criteria closely and explore our re-grantor opportunities.
JEROME FOUNDATION GRANT PROGRAM
The Jerome Foundation operates production grant programs for individual film and video artists who reside within five boroughs of New York City and Minnesota. These programs serve artists who work in the genres of experimental, narrative, animation, and documentary production. It does not support installation, new media, or interactive work, which are subsidized in other Foundation programs. It also does not support commercial, industrial, informational, or educational work.
THE BERTHA BRITDOC DOCUMENTARY JOURNALISM FUND
The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund is a new global fund awarding £10,000-50,000 to documentary filmmakers from any country as a mixture of grants and investments. The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues, and bring cameras into regions previously unseen. Grants are recoupable.
Creative District's mission is to help film and media makers #createmore. They are giving away up to $5,000 in grants each month to projects at any stage.
NEXTPIX/FIRSTPIX CROWDFUNDING GRANTS
NextPix will offer funding of up to $5K through the crowd funding campaign of the filmmaker's choice. NextPix will also publicize the selected project(s) through its own website and may assist filmmakers in promoting their project. Rather than fund on a pre-determined cycle, they accept queries from any film that is being crowfunded at any point during the year. The criteria for a firstPix crowd funded project are as follows: must be the first or second feature DV or film (narrative feature/documentary, and 1/2 hour for animation) project of the director(s), projected budget cannot exceed $250,000.00, DV/film should have a positive humanitarian message.
PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PROGRAM
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. Panavision® believes in helping students and beginning filmmakers achieve their dreams.
TEXAS FILMMAKERS' TRAVEL GRANT (AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY)
The Austin Film Society sets aside $10,000 annually for a travel grant program for Texas filmmakers on a rolling, year-round basis. The program is intended to help offset travel costs for Texans whose work is invited to prestigious film festivals and events around the world. Eligibility is based on the festival or event that the film has been invited to, not on the film itself, and you need not be a member of the Austin Film Society to apply. Grants will be given out as follows: $500 for a North American festival (U.S, Canada, Mexico) $1000 for an international festival.
HARTLEY FILM FOUNDATION
Hartley awards grants for documentaries in the areas of world religions and spirituality. Hartley Film Foundation provides support through seed grants for documentaries that the Foundation fiscally sponsors. The Foundation does not provide production, finishing or outreach grants.
NPBC – AFROPOP: THE ULTIMATE CULTURAL EXCHANGE SUBMISSIONS (U.S. Public Media)
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is a US-based public television show featuring independent documentaries and short films about life, art, and culture from the contemporary African Diaspora. NBPC is looking to support and broadcast strong stories that will capture the breadth and scope of the diversity of experiences of contemporary African peoples.
2016 KAREN SCHEMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP
Now in its sixth year, the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship assists emerging documentary editors by developing their talent, expanding their creative community, and furthering their career aspirations. In conjunction with American Cinema Editors (ACE), Manhattan Edit Workshop, SXSW and other partners, the fellowship offers a wide array of opportunities.
Deadline: September 30, 2015
MADE IN NY - DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP
Under the Made in NY Fellowship Program ten Made in NY Fellows will receive support for their work covering documentary filmmaking, narrative filmmaking, gaming, post-production, animation, virtual reality, and media-technology. Recipients will receive 12 months of incubator membership at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP where they will have space to do their work. The programme includes mentorship from industry leaders and Made in NY media Center and IFP staff as well as the chance to participate in classes and attend networking and industry events.
Deadline: September 30, 2015
URBANISM FILMMAKING CHALLENGE
Filmmakers! Los Angeles is the middle of a urban revitalization. Take this opportunity to work with leading urban thinkers and civic leaders to capture this dynamic civic energy in a short documentary. Leaders in the field will give a TEDtalk-like presentation on projects shaping Los Angeles, (e.g. New subway lines, LA River revitalization, drought landscaping, historic preservation, new museums, new bike plans). Filmmakers will choose a project and turn the presentation into a 2-5 minute long video.
Submission Deadline: October 2, 2015
Leader presentations: October 4, 2015
Screening and Awards: October 11, 2015
IMPACT PARTNERS- EMERGING DOCUMENTARY PRODUCERS FELLOWSHIP
Impact Partners aims to celebrate the independent documentary producer by fostering 5 emerging producers through a yearlong program of workshops in NYC with luminaries in documentary film. Launch date at DOC NYC 2015. Fellows must reside in NYC or be present in NYC for all workshops. Fellows will also be awarded $2,500. Emerging producers must be nominated by a qualified (experienced) documentary filmmaker. Nominees will then submit a brief application.
Deadline: October 6, 2015
NEXT GENERATION LEADERSHIP (US Public Media Fellows)
Next Generation Leadership is a professional development program designed to help public media expand diversity among its programming executives by identifying and training new and diverse senior and executive producers and other content leaders in television, film, radio, and digital platforms. Eight Senior Editorial Fellows will be selected for training in 2016, to bring new voices and perspectives to the top levels of public media programming.
Deadline: October 15, 2015
GOOD PITCH 2 KEYNA
A joint initiative between BRITDOC and DOCUBOX Kenya to connect the best African social justice documentary films with new partners and funders. Films which tackle a national or global issues and have something important to share about the world and ourselves. Good Pitch welcomes films of any style - personal, observational, essays, presenter-led, verité.
Deadline: November 2, 2015
FIRELIGHT MEDIA PRODUCER'S LAB
In 2008 Firelight expanded its mission and created the Producers' Lab, a flagship mentorship program that seeks out and develops emerging diverse filmmakers. The Lab provides filmmakers with one-on-one support, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities. More than just a workshop, the Producers' Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse producers, creating an exclusive network of talented unique storytellers that receive ongoing support from a project's conception to its completion. All filmmakers must be US based in order to qualify.
Applications currently open
(FILM INDEPENDENT) SPIRIT AWARDS
Film Independent Spirit Awards has made a name for itself as the premier awards event for the independent film community. It's a celebration of the spirited pioneers who bring a unique vision to filmmaking. Along with being a fantastic party, the Spirit Awards ceremony also brings together top talent from Hollywood and throughout independent film. Awards are presented for the year's best achievements in independent film, with statues given for Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best Feature Made for Under $500,000 (the John Cassavetes Award) and many more.
Regular deadline: September 22
Final deadline: October 13
SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
Having become a destination for the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams of, premiering at SXSW positions your film in front of thousands of fans, press, film industry leaders, as well as tech and music professionals. This entirely unique audience gives the SXSW Film Festival a distinct identity that sets it apart from other film festivals.
Festival dates: March 11-Marth 19, 2016
Early deadline: Sept 3
Official deadline: Oct 1
Late deadline: Nov 3
DC INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
Open to films of any genre (documentary, feature, shorts, web series, art and animation) and in any language (with subtitles). The festival is known for cutting edge style and content, first-time features, experimental and animated films from across the world. DCIFF 2016, in its eighteenth year, welcomes open source films and interactive films and we always like to take on timely issues in our documentary screenings in the Nation's Capital. This year we will have a dedicated out-of-competition political documentary section open to films finished before 2015 and preview screenings of films still in production.
Deadline: December 10, 2015
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
The mission of the festival is "to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience." The Tribeca Film Festival was founded to celebrate New York City as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan.
Festival dates: April 13-April 24, 2016
Deadline: December 23, 2015
TRUE/FALSE FILM FEST
The 13th installment of the True/False Film Fest, means leaving the comfort of the well-trod path and heading Off the Trail. This year, they're surrounding themselves with the inspiration of secret missions, treasure maps, personal geographies, and the virtue of being lost. Through their films, music, conversations, art, and design, explore a variety of special, hidden, and sacred places, both real and constructed.
Early deadline: September 15
Regular deadline: October 15
Late deadline: November 6
IFP GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS
IFP also announced the addition of a Best Screenplay category to the competitive categories for feature films. Submissions are now open for seven competition categories at the 2015 Gotham Awards: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Actress, Best Actor, Breakthrough Actor, Best Screenplay and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director award. This year's IFP Gotham Audience Award nominees and winner will be voted on by IFP members worldwide.
Deadline: September 17, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (SFIFF)
The San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), recognized throughout the world as an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery in one of the country's most beautiful cities, is accepting submissions to SFIFF59 (Spring 2016). Works in all genres, forms and lengths are considered.
Early Deadline: October 5
Regular Deadline: November 9
Final Deadline: December 7
THE 13TH ANNUAL BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
The 13th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is now accepting submissions! The festival will be taking place in Missoula, Montana February 19-28, 2016. BSDFF accepts submissions of non-fiction films of all forms, genres, subject matter, and lengths. BSDFF has recently been added to an exclusive list of Oscar-qualifying festivals (to compete in the 2017 Documentary Short Category) and is now offering CASH AWARDS to winners.
Late Deadline: October 14, 2015
FULL FRAME DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival exhibits nearly 100 documentary films in a variety of programs. By submitting an application to the festival, your film will be considered for both the NEW DOCS and Invited Program categories. Filmmakers whose films are selected for Full Frame will be notified at the time of acceptance whether their films will be screening in the NEW DOCS or Invited Program categories. Films screening in our Invited Program are not eligible for awards.
Regular deadline: October 31 Late deadline: December 15
2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
The Sundance Film Festival brings the most original storytellers together with the most adventurous audiences for its annual program of dramatic and documentary films, shorts, New Frontier films, installations, performances, panel discussions, and dynamic music events. Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the Festival have gained critical recognition, received commercial distribution, and reached worldwide audiences eager for fresh perspectives and new voices. Year after year, the Festival pursues new ways to introduce more people to the most original and authentic storytelling. Sundance Doc Grantees--if you are planning to submit, please alert DFP to your submission so they can keep track of you and your project.
U.S. and International Short Films: September 21, 2015
U.S. and International Feature Films: September 28, 2015
Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them.
Regular deadline: September 4, 2015
Late deadline: October 8, 2015
Final deadline: October 15, 2015
ARTICLES & RESOURCES
DANGEROUS DOCS (Special Report on Security and Risk for Doc Makers)
The latest report from the Center for Media & Social Impact "Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk When Telling Truth to Power," examines risks and resources for filmmakers challenging the status quo. This report finds that the risks of doing such work are well-established in the investigative journalism community, but not always well known in the documentary film community. It documents attitudes, practices, and problems. It then addresses how makers of such work may best mitigate known risks, and what kinds of support may help them more than they are today. It finally suggests next steps to expand opportunities and share existing knowledge about how to lower risks while telling truth to power.
WOMEN AT SUNDANCE - FEMALE FILMMAKERS INITIATIVE
Sundance Institute, together with Women in Film Los Angeles and a community of allied organizations, works to foster gender equality in American cinema by supporting female filmmakers to develop their stories, find audiences for their work, and grow and sustain their careers. The American independent film sector is ripe with opportunities to create change, and is a proven pipeline for female artists working behind the camera across the industry. Our Sundance Institute programs and community are called Women at Sundance, while our ongoing joint work with Women in Film Los Angeles to create broader industry change is called the Female Filmmakers Initiative.