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The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund

Collage of film stills from previous Pare Lorentz Grant Recipients

About the Fund

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 $1,210,000 to 66 Projects.

The fund provides production and post-production grants to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate issues in the United States or to the United States as part of the international community. Some 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.

Since 2022 instead of an open call, we are partnering with three regional organizations to nominate and select the 2023 Pare Lorentz Grantees. Each of our partner organizations will have the opportunity to nominate up to five eligible projects. From a maximum pool of 20 projects, we will collectively select three grantees who will each receive $25,000 and support from IDA and our network of partner organizations.

While there will be no specific theme, the projects must focus on one or more of Pare Lorentz's central concerns—the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all, or the illumination of pressing social problems. As Pare Lorentz himself was pushing the boundaries of documentary form in his use of image and sound, we want to center projects that experiment with sound design as an essential component of their non-fiction moving image practice.  We will also be welcoming immersive reality nonfiction works as a way to think of Pare Lorentz’s legacy into the 21st century.

Partner Organizations 2023

Partner Organizations 2023

Indie Memphis

Indie Memphis LogoIndie Memphis, at its core, envisions a vibrant global community of filmmakers, both young and adult, bound together by dedicated supporters, with Memphis serving as its beating heart. We are passionately dedicated to cultivating an inclusive and racially equitable independent film community, while actively nurturing the growth and development of filmmakers. Location: Memphis, Tennessee.

Mother Tongue Film Festival

Mother Tongue Film Festival LogoThe Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world, highlighting the crucial role languages play in our daily lives. Through digital storytelling, the festival amplifies the work of diverse practitioners who explore the power of language to connect the past, present, and future. Location: Washington, DC.

Union Docs

Union Docs LogoFrom humble roots as a collective of emerging artists and curators living and working out of a 3-story walk-up in Brooklyn, UnionDocs has become an internationally recognized center for documentary art now headquartered in Ridgewood, Queens. Through presentation, productions, publishing, and educational programming, we bring together a diverse community of artists, dedicated journalists, big thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future. In doing so, we embrace the broad spectrum of documentary approaches and disciplines; from social-issue to experimental, from personal to archival, from essayistic to observational, all impulses towards "creative actuality" are given space and attention. Location: Ridgewood, New York.

Partner Organizations 2022 

Partner Organizations 2022 

Working Films

Recognizing the power of film to inspire, Working Films positions documentaries to increase civic engagement and shift culture at the local, state, and national level. We offer funding and in-kind support to underrepresented filmmakers. And, we share our learning and foster dialogue to further the field of documentary for change. We lead conversations and trainings with grassroots groups and nonprofits to ensure that nonfiction media is increasingly embraced as a critical resource in their strategies for social change. Location: Wilmington, North Carolina.

Chicago Media Coalition

In the Chicago spirit of collaboration and solidarity, the newly formed Chicago BIPOC Media Coalition -- founded by Sisters in Cinema, Full Spectrum Features, Mezcla Media Collective, and OTV | Open Television -- is launching the Chicago BIPOC Media Fund to support general operations and strategic partnerships as a development & management commons. The Fund leverages the strengths of the Coalition, individually and collectively, to catalyze the most innovative investment towards a new media infrastructure that is representative of our country’s diversity. Location: Chicago, Illinois.

La Asociación de Documentalistas de Puerto Rico (AdocPR)

The Association of Documentalists of Puerto Rico (AdocPR) is a non-profit organization that brings together various generations of documentary filmmakers in the country with the aim of promoting the development of documentary filmmaking and improving our working conditions. We are currently around 40 documentary filmmakers associated with filmmakers, professors, students, and other members related to the work of documentary film. Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico.

La Asociación de Documentalistas de Puerto Rico (AdocPR) es una organización sin fines de lucro que agrupa diversas generaciones de documentalistas del país con el objetivo de promover el desarrollo del cine documental, y mejorar nuestras condiciones de trabajo. Actualmente somos alrededor de 40 documentalistas asociados entre cineastas, profesores y profesoras, estudiantes y otros miembros relacionados al quehacer del cine documental.