A Massive List of Grants Part 4: Winter Deadlines Filmmakers Should Know About

December 23, 2014

This might just be the best time of year to apply for grants: not only will you find yourself daydreaming about your next projects over the holidays, but there are also a slew of grant opportunities opening up that can make those daydreams a reality.

The following grants, labs, and pitch opportunities are organized by deadline from December through February. (If you’re looking for a different granting season, visit our lists for Spring, Summer, or Fall.) An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative. To find out more specifics on a grant, click on the title and get started!


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Image courtesy of No Film School.


SFFS Documentary Film Fund

With 2014 grants ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 per project, this grant for documentary features in the post-production stage from the San Francisco Film Society would be a major boon to any recipient. From SFFS:

The SFFS Documentary Film Fund supports riveting documentaries in postproduction distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. Since 2011, more than $375,000 has been disbursed to documentary filmmakers nationwide.

Deadline: December 15

NEH Media Production Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities is the big daddy of government support for documentaries that address the humanities. 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 to $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: January 14

NEH Media Development Grants

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: January 14

Screen Australia: Documentaries Development

For documentary filmmakers that have an Australian doc with international funding who are looking to finance their projects (and who have an international sales agent) and wish to get up to $30,000, try Screen Australia:

Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program assists experienced documentary makers to achieve planned outcomes for the development of their projects. This could include further research, writing the next draft of a script or treatment, strategic shooting and/or editing to attract marketplace development or production finance, or compiling a sizzle reel. The program is primarily focused on providing development support to one-off projects.

Deadline: January 23

Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Media Fund*

The TFI Latin America Media Fund seeks out Latin American and Caribbean filmmakers of all genres for guidance and $10,000 in production or post-production. From TFI:

The TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund seeks feature-length scripted, documentary, animated or hybrid films that are story-driven and in the advanced stages of development, production or post-production with no existing US or Latin American distribution in place. The Fund recognizes and supports projects that take stylistic risks and are unconventional in form and content, but that above all else position the story as the driving force of the film. In short, the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund looks for films that bravely push the boundaries of artistic storytelling and show a new & exhilarating side to the Latino identity. Please refer to our list of previous grantees to help a better idea of the types of films we fund.

Deadline: February 5

Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund supports 4-10 feature-length documentaries the highlight issues of social importance in the range of $10,000 – $25,000. This year, 2-5 additional grants will be provided for docs about extraordinary women. From TFI:

Funded films will be driven by thoughtful and in-depth storytelling, bolstered by a compelling visual approach. TheKering Foundation has joined the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund to offer the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award, which provides funding to two-five additional feature documentaries that illuminate the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character and contributions of women from around the world. For films, based anywhere, that are in production or post-production with the intended premiere exhibition.

Deadline: February 5

CAAM Documentary Fund

The Center for Asian American Media will award between $15,000 and $50,000 for public television appropriate programs. From CAAM:

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), CAAM provides production funding to independent producers for national public television. Documentaries are eligible for production or post-production funding and must be intended for public television broadcast.

Deadline: February 5

CrossCurrents Doc Fund

Administered by the Canadian doc fest giant Hot Docs, the CrossCurrents Doc Fund gives $10,000 a year to one applicant plus support from their organization. From Hot Docs:

The CrossCurrents Doc Fund is an international production fund that fosters storytelling from within communities whose perspectives have been historically underrepresented or marginalized. The Fund supports the work of filmmakers from within these communities, and prioritizes emerging filmmakers who can illustrate a relationship between the film’s subject and their own experience.

Deadline: February 18

Sundance Documentary Fund

Providing up to $20,000 for a documentary in development or up to $50,000 for a documentary in production/post-production with 10+ minutes of edited footage, the Sundance Doc Fund can be a huge score for docs. From Sundance:

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund supports cinematic feature documentaries with contemporary relevance from filmmakers in the U.S. and internationally. Proposals are evaluated on artful and innovative storytelling, originality, contemporary relevance, and potential to reach its intended audience. First time directors are eligible and no prior work is required. Films may be in any language (with English subtitles or an English dialogue transcript).

Deadline: First week of Feb TBA; opens January

Southern Documentary Fund In-the-Works Program

If you’ve got a rough cut with a connection to the American south, take it to the Full Frame festival and have audiences discuss your film with a moderator. From the SDF:

The In-the-Works program offers Full Frame audiences the unique opportunity to view documentaries in the final stages of editing, and participate in the critique process.

Deadline: Feb 17

History Unscripted Development Pipeline

Through the NY TV Festival, pitch a 2-5 minute pilot about charismatic male characters living in surprising worlds to the History Channel. From NYTVF:

Finalists will receive notes from the network and $2,500 to shoot short presentations that further explore their subject. One winning project, selected by History, will be awarded $10,000, and the creator(s) will have the opportunity to participate in the possible production of a pilot.

Deadline: Feb 23

Catapult Film Fund

If you’re just starting out on a documentary, you know how hard it is to raise money for it in the beginning — especially when you have nothing to show for it yet (because, hey, you need money to shoot!). 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 film projects to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find. We support powerful stories, and moving storytelling, across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives.

Deadline: Winter TBD, email info@catapultfilmfund.org to receive an announcement for grant opening

Visions Sud Est Fund*

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, Visions Sud Est can be good for 20,000 Swiss francs on narrative features and 10,000 Swiss francs for documentaries. FromVisions Sud Est:

The Swiss fund Visions Sud Est was initiated 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. It supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland.

Deadline: February 24


ITVS funded LINCS (Linking Independents and Co-producing Stations) offers a matching-funds program to docs aimed at public television. From ITVS:

LINCS provides matching funds to producer-station partnerships. Up to $100,000 in matching funds is available for a single broadcast program.

Deadline: Rolling

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

This new fund offers £10,000 to £50,000 to doc filmmakers from any country in a mix of grants and investments. From BRITDOC:

The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, and bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.

Deadline: Rolling

ITVS Commissioned Funding

ITVS chooses projects that don’t fit in their normal programs of DDF, LINCS, and Open Call and offers development or production agreements. From ITVS:

For development funding, activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early-phase activities. For production funding, all production and post-production activities are eligible.

Deadline: Rolling

The Scottish Documentary Institute Consultancies

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:

Scottish Documentary Institute is offering year-round submissions of Scottish documentary projects in development (shorts and features) to our Docscene project pool. The projects will then be steered towards forthcoming training programmes or other funding opportunities, depending on theme and scope: Seed Funding, Interdoc, the Edinburgh Pitch and prepared for other submissions to funders, meet markets or pitching forums. The aim is to improve quality of project development and increase the talent pool.

Deadline: Rolling

Ford Foundation: JustFilms

If you have a social justice documentary at the rough cut stage, take a look at the JustFilms eligibility to see if you can apply. (A few topics of docs that are not eligible: health, sports, early childhood, advocacy, educational, scientific.) If you are located internationally, see if you are in one of the ten places where the Ford Foundation has regional offices. From the Ford Foundation:

JustFilms focuses on film, video and digital works that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world…Beginning in 2011, we are investing $10 million a year over five years in documentary projects that address urgent social issues and help us understand our past, explore our present and build our future. Our goal is to expand the community of emerging and established filmmakers who often lack funding, and help them to realize their visions and reach audiences.

Deadline: Rolling


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Image courtesy of Cents.


Film Independent Sloan Distribution Grant

Part of a brand new annual initiative from FIND and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation comes the Sloan Distribution Grant for completed films with a strong science or technology angle to them. From FIND:

In its inaugural year, the Sloan Distribution Grant will be a $50,000 grant awarded by Film Independent to a film that is entering its distribution phase in 2015. Eligible films must depict themes, stories, and characters grounded in real science, technology or economics.

Deadline: January 5, 2015

LEF Moving Image Fund

Specifically for New England filmmakers with film budgets under $350,000, the LEF Moving Image Fund supports original and creative films. From LEF:

The strongest proposals will be those that clearly articulate the ways in which the proposed project embodies the program’s funding criteria. A maximum of (6) grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to projects in the production phase during LEF’s major grants review. A maximum of (3) grants of $25,000 each will be awarded to projects in the post-production phase during LEF’s major grants review. In order to be eligible for Post-Production support, the project for which you are applying must have received previous LEF support.

Deadline: January 23

NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA)

If you’re a US-based Latino artist or arts organization, you could be eligible for $5,000 – $15,000 from the NALAC Fund for the Arts. From NALAC:

The NFA is a national grant program open to US-based Latino working artists, ensembles and Latino arts organizations that demonstrate artistic excellence in pursuit of social justice through the arts. To date, the NFA has awarded over one million dollars to a diverse range of artists and organizations representing every discipline and region of the country. Applying to the NFA is a benefit of NALAC Membership.

Deadline: February 6

Sundance Feature Film Creative Producing Fellowship and Lab

The Sundance Institute will choose six emerging producers with projects in pre-production to attend the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab, the Creative Producing Summit, and the Sundance Film Festival, as well as receive $10,000 in stipends and yearlong mentorship. FromSundance:

The Fellowship focuses on the holistic producer, who identifies, options, develops, and pitches material; champions and challenges the writer/director creatively; raises financing; leads the casting/packaging process; hires and inspires crew; and navigates the sales, distribution, and marketing arenas. The Program is designed to hone emerging producers’ creative instincts and evolve their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project.

Deadline: February 10

Sundance Episodic Story Lab

This will be the second ever Episodic Story Lab, and will choose ten writers/filmmakers with an episodic pilot over a two-round process for a six-day fellowship. From Sundance:

Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab is an immersive experience for ten writers over a six-day period at the Sundance Resort in Utah. The writers will work with an accomplished group of showrunners, television executives, and producers. They will participate in one-on-one creative story meetings, a simulated Writers’ Room to break story, pitch sessions, and group conversations about the creative and business environment of television writing and producing.

Deadline: February 11

Doha Film Institute Grants Programme

The Doha Institute is around to seek out new cinematic voices from Qatar as well as from around the world. Grants for Qatar-based filmmakers are rolling, and the international applicant deadline is below. You can apply for funding for development, production, or pre-production depending on where you are a MENA or non-MENA application (Middle East and North Africa.) From the DFIGP:

The Institute’s approach is to champion projects whose thrust is to explore, expand and cultivate authentic storytelling, with a keen interest in propelling forward contemporary work that demonstrates a deep understanding of the specific possibilities of the medium of cinema. The Programme provides creative and financial assistance to filmmakers from Qatar, and to first- and second-time filmmakers from around the globe.

Deadline: February 15

Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program

If you’re an Australian-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 assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.

Deadline: Dec 12 or Feb 20

Film Independent Fast Track*

To help narrative and doc filmmakers make progress on their current projects, FIND hosts the film financing market called Fast Track during the Los Angeles Film Festival and is designed to help narrative and documentary filmmakers move their current projects forward.

During three days of intensive meetings, Fast Track connects filmmakers with financiers, production companies, and other industry professionals. This highly selective program is open to established as well as up-and-coming filmmakers with exceptional projects still seeking funding. To be eligible, you must be a directing and producing team on a feature-length narrative or documentary film. Narrative films must be in the development or pre-production stage. Documentaries may be in the work-in-progress stage.

Deadline: February 24

World Cinema Fund: Production Funding

Brought to you by the auspicious Berlinale Festival, this funds directors from regions with a “weak film infrastructure” (Africa, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus) who have a German partner. From Berlinale:

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: February 26

SANAD, the Development and Post-Production Fund of the Abu Dhabi
Film Festival*

For filmmakers based in the Arab world, you could get $20,000 towards Development or $60,000 towards post-production, plus year round support, if your narrative or documentary is selected. From SANAD:

SANAD provides talented filmmakers from the Arab world with meaningful support from within the region towards the development or completion of their narrative and documentary feature-length films. SANAD seeks out bold and remarkable projects from both new and established filmmakers with the aim of encouraging intercultural dialogue and artistic innovation while building stronger networks within the region’s film industry.

Deadline: February 28; opens January 26

World Cinema Fund: Distribution

Brought to you by the auspicious Berlinale Festival, this funds directors from regions with a “weak film infrastructure” (Africa, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus) who have a German partner. FromBerlinale:

The World Cinema Fund supports films in 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: Rolling

The Jerome Foundation’s Film and Video Grant Program*

The Jerome Foundation has a good tract record of supporting filmmakers in New York and Minnesota with innovative artistic sensibilities. From JF:

The Jerome Foundation’s Film and Video Grant Program is a production grant program for individual film and video artists who work in the genres of experimental, narrative, animation, and documentary production. Applicants must reside in one of the five boroughs and must be emerging artists whose work shows promise of excellence.

Deadline: Rolling

Nextpix/Firstpix Crowdfunding Grant

An interesting take on granting, Nextpix/Firstpix will fund films with a budget under $250k that are the first or second film by a director and are crowdfunding part of that budget. FromN/FCG:

Rather than fund on a pre-determined cycle, we will accept queries from any film that is being crowfunded at any point during the year. Once we’ve received your query please give us 30 days to respond. The film should have a positive humanitarian message.

Deadline: Rolling

Creative District*

A new start-up aimed at making a LinkedIn type of networking platform specifically for filmmakers, they are giving away $5K each month to selected features or shorts:

Our mission is to help film and media makers create more work. We’re giving away up to $5,000 in grants each month. Projects can be at any stage.

Deadline: Rolling

Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program

If you are a student or a low-budget indie, 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.

Deadline: Rolling


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Image courtesy of No School.


Sundance Institute/Asian American Feature Film Fellowship

Whether you already submitted to the Screenwriters Intensive (March 19 – 20), if you are an emerging screenwriter of Asian American descent, you could be eligible for Sundance’s revered writing intensive. From Sundance:

If you are a writer or writer-director developing your first or second narrative feature film, are of Asian-American descent, and have previously one or less narrative feature films produced, you are eligible to apply. If you have already submitted your project for consideration to the 2015 January Screenwriters Lab, either via open submission or invited submission to the Asian American Fellowship, you will automatically be considered for the 2015 Screenwriters Intensive.

Deadline: December 15

Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship

For screenwriters looking for ongoing mentorship to develop the skills that’ll take their careers to the next level, Screencraft’s Screenwriting Fellowship offers that and more, including a $1000 writing grant, six months of one-on-one consultations with the Screencraft staff and mentors, and meetings with lit agents. From Screencraft:

The ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship is designed to jumpstart and continually develop the careers of talented screenwriters through ongoing consultation and a special trip to Los Angeles filled with meetings and introductions to key entertainment executives, producers and representatives. Applications accepted for feature film scripts and original television pilot scripts.  With this fellowship, we aim to cultivate a growing community of visionary screenwriters with meaningful connections to Hollywood mentors.

Deadline: December 15

Script Pipeline Screenwriting contest:

This contest offers a possible $20,000 in cash, consultation, circulation of your script, and a free plane ticket to LA to meet with execs. From Script Pipeline:

The 13th Annual 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest continues a long tradition of discovering up-and-coming talent and connecting them with top producers, agencies, and managers across studio and independent markets. This process has proven enormously successful, with numerous screenwriting contest alumni worldwide finding elite representation and gaining crucial introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach industry execs.

Pre-register Deadline: December 31st, 2014 – $45/entry

Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition

A popular screenwriting competition where first prize gets $10K, and genre winners get $500. From Scriptapalooza:

Established in 1998 to find talented (unknown) screenwriters and to promote them in the highly competitive film industry. The first place winner receives a cash prize of $10,000. Scriptapalooza also supports the winner, finalists and semifinalists by publicizing each screenwriter’s script for one year. Applicants will have their scripts read by over 90 top filmmakers, film production companies, and film agents.

Deadline: Jan 6 (early), Feb 6 regular

Slamdance Writing Competition

This competition program has four categories and gives awards to the top three of each plus a grand prize. Also, every entry gets feedback. From Slamdance:

The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world.

Deadline: Feb 24

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts an international screenwriting competition established to identify new talent in screenwriting. From the Academy:

Up to five $35,000 Fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship recipients are expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.

Deadline: Feb 28 (Early deadline)

Nickelodeon Writing Program

This writing program gives you a salaried position for a year as you get hands-on experience writing specs and pitching stories. From Nickelodeon:

As part of their script writing, each writer will be assigned to an Executive in Charge of Production and have an opportunity to write a spec script for an on-air Nickelodeon show. In addition, all writers are integrated into the activities of both the development and production departments.

Deadline: Feb 28; opens Jan 2


The Audience Awards  is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.

June Noel

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