Grants & Awards
These resources are meant to assist filmmakers at any stage of the funding, production, or distribution process. Our lists are by no means exhaustive, and some resources listed may become out of date. These pages will continue to evolve over time. We welcome your suggestions and corrections.
Fiscal Sponsorship is a fundraising tool that serves as an alternative to a filmmaker establishing her own 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. It allows a filmmaker’s non-commercial project to apply for funding from organizations requiring that the recipient have nonprofit status.
ArteEast – ArteEast is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the work of contemporary artists producing work in or about the Middle East. Their fiscal sponsorship program provides independent artists and emerging organizations whose activities complement ArteEast’s mission with access to this type of funding and support so that they can gain the resources they need to create programs and artwork. In order to apply for fiscal sponsorship from ArteEast, independent artists and emerging organizations must complete a detailed application, including a project narrative and budget. They must also have fundraising sources in mind prior to application. Applications are reviewed and projects selected for fiscal sponsorship by a committee, who consider the overall strength of the project, as well as its appropriateness to ArteEast’s current focus, existing projects and resources.
Austin Film Society – The Austin Film Society was founded in 1985 by a group of cinephiles including filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Slacker). Today, AFS continues to promote the appreciation of film and to support creative media production. Media artists living and working in Texas can apply for grants for production and festival travel, works-in-progress feedback screenings and fiscal sponsorship. Filmmakers from outside of Texas should contact AFS to inquire about which programs they may be eligible.
Center for Independent Documentary – Center for Independent Documentary was founded in 1981 to collaborate with independent producers to create films and videos on issues of contemporary social and cultural concern. CID acts as fiscal sponsor, manages project funds, provides creative and technical support, and offers advice on fundraising and distribution.
Documentary Educational Resources – Documentary Educational Resources is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1968 and incorporated in 1971 for the purpose of producing and distributing cross-cultural documentary film for educational use. DER produces, distributes and promotes quality ethnographic, documentary and non-fiction films from around the world. If you are interested in world cultures, anthropology, film studies, international communication, documentary film, the arts, immigration issues and human rights, DER can offer financial guidance and act as a fiscal sponsor for your project.
Film Forum – The Moving Image, Inc., d/b/a Film Forum provides fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers in support of their projects. Fiscal sponsorship is granted on a project basis and is not meant to serve as a conduit for general operating support for an individual. The Moving Image, Inc. does not sponsor any applications for public funds (such as National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, or State Councils on the Humanities, etc). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Filmmakers Alliance – Filmmakers Alliance is a community of film artists dedicated to the advancement of true independent film through community action. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization provides a unique mutual support system through which members share time, energy, expertise, equipment and, most important, creative support for one another’s film projects from concept through distribution. Through their fiscal sponsorship, let Filmmakers Alliance help you raise money for your next project, no matter where you live.
Fractured Atlas – Fractured Atlas’s fiscal sponsorship program is open and accessible to artists and arts organizations nationwide and in every discipline. We won’t judge your work’s artistic quality or merit; that’s for others to decide. Our job is to give you the tools you need to raise the money to make it happen. Fractured Atlas’s fiscal sponsorship program offers many benefits that other fiscal sponsors simply don’t have the resources or infrastructure to provide.
Hartley Film Foundation – The 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. Hartley awards grants for documentaries in the areas of world religions and spirituality. In conjunction with its grants, Hartley also provides filmmakers with fiscal sponsorship services and in return the fiscal sponsees agree to pay Hartley a small percentage of any net profits derived from the film project.
IDA – Since 1998, IDA’s fiscal sponsorship program has been directly helping hundreds of independent documentaries, which may otherwise have been unable to secure funding, get funded and finished! You are only eligible for the fiscal sponsorship program if you are an IDA member in good standing.
IFP – IFP Fiscal Sponsorship is exclusively for creative, artistic and/or educational film, video and transmedia projects, giving filmmakers the benefit of their focused experience and reputation in the field. Their program focuses exclusively on: documentary films and other works of nonfiction; short films; low-budget fiction/narrative features (50 minutes+) that are either able to be fully financed by donations and grants alone (generally projects under $3million), or that are fundraising only for a discrete portion of the project’s budget (usually development). Transmedia/multi-media projects with film/video as a primary component of the work are also eligible for sponsorship.
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) – NYFA is one of the country’s most respected not-for-profit arts organizations. Fiscal Sponsorship is just one portion of the multi-faceted services they provide to artists. No funds need to be raised to be accepted into the program. NYFA is looking for artists and organizations they can believe in and work with over time. Applications are normally reviewed four times a year, and the review process takes approximately eight weeks.
San Francisco Film Society – The San Francisco Film Society’s fiscal sponsorship program is designed to help you step-by-step through the process of getting your film funded, made and seen. At the Film Society we want to ensure that you and your project are likely candidates for funding, and we work with you until your proposal is ready. Sometimes this means many proposal drafts before we accept you for Fiscal Sponsorship, but it will be worth it in the long run. In addition to the one-on-one care the fiscal sponsorship team brings to each project, the Film Society has a full suite of professional-development workshops and classes.
Women Make Movies – Women Make Movies’s fiscal sponsorship program is the largest component of the Production Assistance Program, and 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. As your fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies acts a non-profit tax-exempt umbrella organization that accepts and administers contributions made to your project. Fiscal Sponsorship with WMM is not a guarantee of distribution.