There are dozens of great film grants available to narrative films, documentaries, screenwriters, and people who fall into certain special interest groups. Applying for grants can be a lot of work, and is really a special skill all on its own, but as my mom always says about the slot machines, you can’t win if you don’t play.
Film grants typically range from $2,500 to $50,000 and don’t have to be repaid by the production. In addition, you can apply and be awarded more than one grant for your project, so go to town!
We are including links to over 90 grants for you to browse through. You won’t qualify for all of them, so do your research before applying.
There are various types of opportunities listed here. Grants, Fellowships, and Labs all have different benefits, awards, and application requirements, so be cognizant of that when researching opportunities.
Grants are typically unrestricted funds, provided to worthy projects that are awarded at the recommendation of a committee who reviews all of the applications.
When awarded a grant, the funds do not have to be repaid and can be put toward any aspect of your project, including development, production, post production, distribution, or marketing.
Fellowships are different from grants in that they often require participation in various aspects of the fellowship’s program.
For example, when awarded a fellowship you may be required to attend a certain number of mentorship meetings, participate in retreats or workshops, and have your progress reviewed by your appointed team.
Examples of fellowships include the Sloan Fellowship or the Sundance Labs.
The following list includes grants for fictional film projects.
FilmFinancer Equipment Partnership
FilmFinancer provides a full Arri Alexa camera package valued at up to $70,000 to qualified film productions shooting narrative feature films.
Creative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $45,000, for a total commitment of up to $95,000 per project.
The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists
The film award consists of a grant of $5,000 to a U.S filmmaker 35 or under at the time of application for the production of a short film that will be shown as a private screening with the filmmaker in attendance at the annual foundation event in Salt Lake City the year the grant is awarded.
Movies that Matter
Movies that Matter supports small-scale projects that have a total budget of less than € 20,000. Film screenings will contribute to discussion about human rights in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East or Eastern Europe. Movies that Matter values films with high cinematic quality.
The Film Fund
Starting out as an independent filmmaker not based in Los Angeles or New York, I found myself struggling to raise financing and find resources for my film projects, and it appeared that many contests were dominated by those who already had industry experience or access to better resources and crew. The Film Fund is designed to level the funding field, as no advantage is given to entrants based on industry experience. Effective storytellers should be able to succinctly convey the vision they have for their projects, and that is the basis of the contest.
Roy W. Dean Grant
The Roy W. Dean Film Grants funds independent feature films, documentaries, web series, and short films that are unique and make a contribution to society that, without its help, might otherwise never get made.
Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship
Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative is committed to helping independent storytellers build audiences and sustain careers through innovations in marketing, distribution, and data transparency. We imagine a world without barriers between artists and audiences.Formerly named Artist Services, our department has supported the release of 200+ films into the market through partnerships with leading digital retailers; notable films include pioneering self-releases First Girl I Loved, BURN, Upstream Color, and Detropia. We have also supported nearly 400 crowdfunding campaigns – over $20M raised – by consulting with filmmakers on audience building techniques. We’ve been on the front lines of creative distribution for nearly seven years – and with our Creative Distribution Fellowship, we’re expanding our efforts.
Big Vision Empty Wallet Incubator Fellowship
We choose talented fellows with compelling POVs to develop work with and the projects that move forward through our incubator feed into Big Vision Creative, our NY-based, but palm-tree-loving production company.
Cinereach Film Grant
Cinereach develops, produces, finances, and supports feature-length fiction, nonfiction and hybrid films crafted for the big screen. We look for projects (at any stage) that create deep and lasting impressions through story, character, or cinematic approach. We seek to work with both unknown and established filmmakers who may face creative, financial or systemic obstacles to realizing ambitious visions. Our films range widely in content and style.
Panavision 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. The New Filmmaker Program has served hundreds of aspiring filmmakers, many of them eventually becoming regular Panavision customers.
World Cinema Fund: Distribution
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.
The Green Room Filmmaker Fund
The Green Room Filmmaker Fund is open to all filmmakers, cast, crew and creatives from around the world. We encourage as much as possible diversity of creativity, talent and content.
The following list includes grants for non-fiction film projects.
ITVS Open Call
We’re looking for exceptional storytelling that’s in line with our mission: stories that take risks, tackle important issues, and are seldom seen in public media. We know how hard you’ve worked on your project, and we’ll partner with you to help you finish it, then distribute it on public television.
The Jerome Foundation’s Film and Video Grant Program
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.
Visions Sud Est Fund
The fund supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland.
World Cinema Fund Production Grant
Together with the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, the Foreign Ministry and German producers, 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 Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation For Documentary Photography & Film
Mirroring the mission of our foundation and themes covered in our still photography grants, we invite documentary film makers around the globe to share their human interest stories and submit their “Short-Short” documentary film projects highlighting human unrest, forgotten communities, over-exploited people and environments impacted by war, poverty, famine, disease, exploitation and global distress.
American Documentary Film Fund
In addition to our annual 5-day film festival, we are proud to share the American Documentary Film Fund with independent American filmmakers who will participate and compete for financing for new projects as well as works in progress. An amount up to $50,000 may be awarded or distributed in any given year.
IDFA International Co-Production Support
The IDFA Bertha Fund supports international co-productions between documentary filmmakers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe and European co-producers.
HotDocs Ted Rogers Fund
Over the coming 10 years, production grants will be distributed to Canadian documentary filmmakers. Up to $35,000 will be granted to three or four projects each year.
Sundance Documentary Fund
The Sundance Documentary Film Program supports non-fiction filmmakers worldwide in the production of cinematic documentaries on contemporary themes. The Program is a vibrant global resource for independent non-fiction storytelling.
The Fledgling Fund
We support audience engagement planning and implementation. Support for planning is for building the strategy for outreach and engagement and can be used before a project is complete to prepare for its launch. Grants are NOT available to support production or post-production.
The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund
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.
The Filmmaker Fund
To be selected as a project of the Filmmaker Fund is to have a partner in the entirety of the journey. That includes grants of up to $75K as well as access to low cost DCP services. It also includes invitation to Sonoma retreats, festival navigation and distribution strategy.
The Scottish Documentary Institute Consultancies
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.
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship is exclusively for creative, artistic and/or educational film, video and transmedia projects, giving filmmakers the benefit of our focused experience and reputation in the field.
The Film Collaborative Fiscal Sponsorship
The Film Collaborative Fiscal Sponsorship is used primarily when a non-profit film or film-related project or event wants to secure funding from individual, foundation, government or corporate sources that give only to nonprofit organizations with IRS tax-exempt status. To be considered exempt, an organization must hold a current 501(c)(3) certificate from the IRS.
Catapult Film Fund
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.
The following list includes grants for screenwriters.
NEA ART WORKS Grants
The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to support activities that reflect the dynamic, diverse, and evolving nature of the media arts field. Applicants may apply in this Art Works category for media arts projects that support creation, exhibition, education, and distribution of historic and contemporary artworks in all genres and forms that use electronic media, film and technology (analog & digital; old and new) as an artistic medium or a medium to broaden arts appreciation and awareness (of any discipline). All genres are welcome to apply; all phases of project support are eligible.
Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition
From choosing our judges to creating opportunities, our top priority has always been the writer. We surround ourselves with reputable and successful companies, including the many producers, literary agents, and managers who read your scripts.
Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions
Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions recognize emerging writers in four unique categories as the best from the pool of submissions each year. Finalists in each competition are read by prestigious juries, receive top industry recognition, and participate in a Festival focused specifically on screenwriting that includes cash prizes for all competitions and a Mentors Brunch with a prominent screenwriter.
Screencraft Film Fund
Every 6 months, up to two filmmakers will be awarded this production grant of up to $30,000 in production funds. We announce the winner(s) 6 weeks after each final deadline.
The following list includes grants for film projects that highlight women in film.
Women In Film Finishing Fund
The Women In Film Finishing Fund gives grants to filmmakers working in both short and long formats, in all genres — narrative, documentary, animated and experimental.
Glassbreaker Films Catalyst Grant
Catalyst Grants allow a diverse group of young filmmakers to conceive of a short, innovative and original non-fiction digital project to receive funding and mentorship to bring it to life and kickstart their career.
Cinereach develops, produces, finances, and supports feature-length fiction, nonfiction and hybrid films crafted for the big screen. We look for projects (at any stage) that create deep and lasting impressions through story, character, or cinematic approach.
Women Make Movies: Fiscal Sponsorship
Fiscal Sponsorship is the largest component of the Production Assistance Program. Fiscal Sponsorship is designed for women filmmakers who are actively fundraising for their film or video project and need 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status.