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direct access fund logoAt Nonfiction Access Initiative, we strive to put access into action. Drawing from the data collected through the NAI Nonfiction Media Makers with Disabilities Survey, we discovered that many media makers need rapid response funding for access costs not covered by other available grants. With support from the Ford Foundation, the Direct Access Fund was created for this purpose.

The Direct Access Fund awards small targeted funds for access accommodations and services that would otherwise be unfunded. We underwrite disabled media makers who practice fact-based storytelling, including but not limited to: documentary, nonfiction podcasting, new media, immersive, and other types of nonfiction practice, and are currently working on a project at any stage. This includes distribution and festival support. 

All career levels are encouraged to apply. You do not need an official diagnosis to apply to the fund. If disability, neurodivergence, or chronic illness is something that resonates with your experience, please apply. 

We acknowledge that access is situational and can be defined in different ways, such as:

Infrastructural: allowing participation and use by a particular individual and presentation in such a way as to provide full participation for all

Interpersonal: allowing for the need to be addressed and supported through the administration and support of life-promoting services 

We are awarding up to $5,000 of direct funding toward the development of practices that allow non-fiction media makers and their teams to widen access capacity within their projects. (We have a limited amount of funds that we can give out each quarter, so in the interest of serving the largest number of makers, we ask that you ask for exactly what you need.)

These may include but are not limited to: 

  • Hiring a caregiver or assistant 
  • Assistive equipment, technologies, and/or software 
  • Assistive equipment insurance
  • Funding the salary of an access coordinator
  • Creative captioning and audio description 
  • ADA accommodations/travel to a film festival 
  • Caregiver travel
  • ASL interpreters for panels, meetings, networking, etc 
  • Funding for specialty dietary needs of crew 
  • Health insurance for crew 
  • Health insurance for filmmaker 
  • Access auditing 
  • Accounting support
  • Legal support 
  • Festival application fees 
  • Research
  • Living expenses 
    • Rent (accommodation/office/studio) 
    • Utilities 
    • Groceries
    • Car payments
    • Insurance premiums 
    • Co-pays
  • Unexpected or emergency medical costs
  • Rental costs for accessible equipment on set 
    • ADA approved trailers
    • Ramps
    • Wheelchair-accessible black cars 
    • Accessible bathrooms
  • Haptic vests for Immersive works
  • Haptic research and development
  • Film training program fees 
  • Dependant care, including pets 
  • Mental health support
  • Trauma mitigation 
  • Medical treatment not covered by insurance
    • Supplements 
    • Physical therapy 
    • Holistic therapy 
  • Equipment and tech repair 
  • ADA training 
  • Tax support
  • Residency fees
  • Accessible website building/website hosting
  • Grant writing support
  • Subscription services
  • Salary for disabled crew members
  • Accounting
  • Transcription 


Applications are now closed.

Keeping in mind crip time, we announce the fund on September 14th to allow makers ample time to prepare their application once the fund opens on October 1, 2023. Submissions will close on October 31, 2023. Review our material checklist to aid your application preparation. 

Funds will be released on a rolling basis once the fund is open. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility. If your application meets all the requirements, the NAI team will set up a meeting to discuss your application further. For additional questions, please refer to the Direct Access Fund FAQ, or you can contact

If you need any assistance applying to the fund, would like the application to be translated into your native language (sign included), or would like to apply over the phone or on paper, please email or call (213) 232-1660 ext 213.


  • Applicants cannot be enrolled in a full-time degree-granting program.
  • Applicants should be 18 years of age or older to apply.
  • Applicants can be individuals or collectives operating under a $50,000 operational budget. 
  • Applicants may have a fiscal sponsor, but not required.
  • The applicant should be either the director or producer of the project.
  • Projects should preferably be led by a maker who identifies as living with a disability.
  • Applicants must be actively working on a non-fiction-based media project.
  • Applicants can apply from anywhere in the world.
  • The applicant is not required to be a member of IDA.
  • Funding must be used to fulfill an immediate need and used within 3-6 months of receiving the funds. 

*All final decisions about the grant administration and selection process are made at the discretion of the Nonfiction Access Initiative team.