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Grants and Other Funding

Announcing Documentarian Emergency Relief Fund
Non-profit From the Heart Productions has established a Documentarian Emergency Relief Fund for documentary producers and directors facing “dire financial emergencies” during these difficult economic times brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the Heart Productions, which supports filmmakers with unique projects that contribute to society, created the Documentarian Emergency Relief Fund to provide monetary assistance to documentary filmmakers, such as for meeting essential life expenses, so they can continue working on their projects.

Made possible by a donation from Carole Dororthy Joyce, the fund will provide up to $1,000 each month for 10 months.

Applications can be submitted starting Jan 2nd and then the 1st of each month following.  Applications close on the 14th of each month.  Recipients will be selected by the end of each month and checks mailed to them shortly after. 

For more information to apply, please go to

If you have any questions, please email

Roy W. Dean Film Grant Accepting Submissions for Fall Grant

The final Roy W. Dean Film Grant of 2021 is now accepting submissions.  Awarded to a unique film that makes a contribution to society, the winner receives $3,000 cash, $30,000 in film services to finish their project.  Deadline to apply is October 31st, 2021.

Every Applicant to the Grant Will Receive a Free eBook on Creating Your Pitch and Proposal

The eBook, Creating Your Pitch and Proposal, was written by Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions and author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts. The eBook offers over 70 pages of excellent information on what filmmakers need to land investors, win grants, and close donors.  A copy will be sent out to applicants after book is released on September 1st.

Now in its 30th year, the grant is offered by non-profit From the Heart Productions. Over 3 decades, the grant has awarded over $2,500,000 to filmmakers to help them complete their projects.  Submissions can be documentaries, short films, narrative features, or web series.

Grant Includes Film Score and Animation Services to Winner

Award winning composer David Raiklen will give the grant recipient $15,000 in theme music for their project.  David provided music for the Emmy and Roy W. Dean Grant winning documentary Mia: A Dancer’s Journey.  Emmy winner, Charlie Canfield will provide a discount of $6,000.00 in animation. Charlie provided animation for Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Penny

Other donated goods and services that will go to the winner of the grant include a one week DSLR camera package rental from Birns & Sawyer,  20% discount on the design of your marketing sheet by award winning designer Dan Chapman, 50% off of story structure services by Karen Everett of New Doc Editing, and much more from many heartfelt donors

New Britt Penrod Award

For each of the Roy W. Dean Grants in 2021, $500 will be awarded to grant applicant with a film that is unique but also makes an exceptional contribution to society. The grant is made possible by a generous donation by its namesake, Britt Penrod, who has been a great supporter of independent films.  Winner of this award does not need to be the Roy W. Dean Grant recipient. 

Every Filmmaker Also is Offered a Free Consultation for Applying

Since its inception, the Roy W. Dean Film Grant has offered something for applicants that is itself unique for a grant.  Every filmmaker that applies for the grant has the opportunity to receive a 15-minute consultation on their submission.  Filmmakers can get advice on how to find funding, build up a database of donors or investors, market their film, and more. 

More information on the grant can be found at

For any questions, please email or call 805-984-0098


The Diversity Development Fund
Deadline: 13 September
The Diversity Development Fund (DDF) provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television.

The Independent Filmmaker Project
Deadline: 15 September
IFP’s Fiscal Sponsorship program focuses exclusively on documentary films and other works of nonfiction, short films and low-budget fiction/narrative features (50 minutes+).


  Are you shooting a short film this year? To further develop the careers of emerging writers and filmmakers, we're supporting short films with financing!


In partnership with BondIt, a film & media fund based in Beverly Hills, ScreenCraft is offering between three and six production grants per year to talented filmmakers for short film and online series that display originality, vision & exceptional potential. Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the scale and merit of the project. We also offer matching funds for crowd-funding campaigns – see the Application Guidelines for specific details.

This program includes creative support from the ScreenCraft team and production guidance & resources from BondIt and Buffalo 8 Productions (a film company with several award-winning films to its credit).

Whether you simply have a great short screenplay or a short film that’s already in pre-production or post-production, we want to consider your short project for our grant program.

We are accepting applications from around the world (in English).

Next Early Deadline: Sept. 30th 

IF/Then Global Pitch with IDFA and RYOT Films
Deadline: 16 September
TFI, IDFA, and RYOT Films are inviting short documentary filmmakers from around the world to apply for a new IF/Then Shorts global pitch opportunity during IDFA.

Sundance Documentary Short Film Fund
Deadline: 30 September
Projects with at least one key creative (director, producer, director of photography, or editor) impacted by the criminal justice system

Tribeca All Access
Deadline: 5 November
Seven scripted filmmakers and seven documentary filmmakers will each receive $10,000 in grant money.


Film Grants Directory
Are you looking for film funding? Here is the list of the top film funding grants for filmmakers around the world. Choose which film grant best suits your independent film and then apply for film funding directly. Each film grant shows you their upcoming deadlines and by category to suit your project.


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: Rolling


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: Rolling


The Fledgling Fund

If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support outreach and audience engagement strategies to an average $10-$25k. From the Fledgling Fund:

Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable.

Deadline: Rolling

 Ford Foundation: JustFilms

After year of restructuring, it's a little unclear how many grants JustFilms will be giving out to individuals for 2016. Check out the requirements to see if you fit. Here are a few topics of docs that are not eligible: health, sports, early childhood, advocacy, educational, scientific. From the Ford Foundation:

JustFilms accepts letters of inquiry for grants year round, averaging between 800 and 1,000 inquiries. Our funds are limited, and we are able to support only a small percentage of these projects through direct grants. JustFilms strongly advises that you use the priorities and guiding application questions below to determine whether your project might be competitive in this process.

Deadline: Rolling (if you advance, you'll hear within 30 days of submission)

 Big Vision Empty Wallet

If you have a project, particularly one in the early stages, in which the writer, director, or producer is a woman, person of color, or member of the LGBTQ community, consider applying for this new BVEW opportunity. From BVEW:

Selected projects will receive significant discounts (15%-75%) from vendors and service providers nationwide to create savings in all stages of production, including AbelCine, Hive Lighting, Gotham Stages, and Nice Shoes. Recipients will be granted access to an exclusive Distribution Lab, presented in both NY and LA, focusing on audience building and distribution strategies. Participating companies include Lionsgate Films, FilmRise, Seed & Spark, VHX, Zeitgeist Films, and Cinetic. In addition, our sister company Big Vision Creative will choose several projects per year to co-produce and/or represent for distribution.

Deadline: Originally scheduled for April 21st - 23rd in NYC, the lab will be postponed due to COVID-19

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants Database
Launched in 1996, Sloan’s Film program has awarded grants to over 500 film projects from some of the nation’s most innovative filmmakers, and has created a film development pipeline of multiple program partners though which Sloan nurtures and develops individual projects.

Film Independent Sloan Distribution Grant

Deadline: 30 November 

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:

Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application when the competition is open for submissions. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.

Deadline: MThere are three deadlines for 2020: early is March 6 ($48 entry fee), regular is April 9 ($63 entry fee), and late is May 1 ($88 entry fee)

Documentary Funding Resources  

Looking for funding for your documentary? Check out the list for U.S. and international funders. Note that some funders only give grants to organizations and others only to individual artists

 Panavision New Filmmaker Program
Panavision® believes in helping students and beginning filmmakers achieve their dreams. More than 25 years ago, Panavision launched the New Filmmaker Program, an ongoing grant program that loans camera packages to film schools, training programs, and independent filmmakers – at little or no charge. Panavision’s commitment to the industry's future provides student and beginning filmmakers the opportunity to work with professional grade equipment early in their careers.


The Independent Filmmaker Project
 IFP’s Fiscal Sponsorship program focuses exclusively on documentary films and other works of nonfiction, short films and low-budget fiction/narrative features (50 minutes+).  Deadline: 15 September


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