These are some funding sources for documentary filmmakers.
Click on the titles to get more information on these funding opportunities and deadlines.
This list is not comprehensive. If you have updates, please e-mail them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
No Geographic Limitations
BlackPublicMedia.org Open Call for Interactive Web Series: Supports the production of interactive online content designed to engage any audience interested in African Diaspora content online.
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. Catapult only makes grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. In most cases, this will mean getting a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for the project.
Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Fund: Production and Completion Funding for provocative and engaging Asian-American independent media projects intended for U.S. public television broadcast. This organization supports multiple categories of grants, such as the CAAM Innovation Fund, the CAAM Documentary Fund, the CAAM Documentary Completion Fund, and the “Ready, Set, Pitch!” campaign.
Cinereach: Supports feature-length nonfiction and fiction films at any stage of development that possess an independent spirit, depict underrepresented perspectives, and resonate across international boundaries. We favor story over message, character over agenda, complexity over duality. All filmmakers (including international applicants) must have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
The Fledgling Fund: Supports innovative media projects that can play critical roles in igniting social change. The primary focus of The Fledgling Fund’s creative media initiative is outreach and community engagement. Grants typically fall into three broad categories: Outreach and Community Engagement, Grants for Films in late-stage post production, Innovative Creative Media for use of emerging technology to engage new audiences. All filmmakers (including international applicants) must have a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
The Ford Foundation JustFilms Grant: 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.
The Frameline Completion Fund: The Frameline Completion Fund provides grants to emerging and established filmmakers. This program seeks to provide a much-needed source of financial contributions to artists who often struggle to secure funding to complete their works. Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 are available for films that represent and reflect LGBT life in all its complexity and richness.
Gucci-Tribeca Documentary Fund: Provides finishing funds to feature-length documentaries which highlight and humanize issues of social importance from around the world. Eligible films should explore broad social issues or movements through engaging stories that may have potential impact and the ability to inspire dialogue. Films may also challenge the status quo by examining people who are ignored, ostracized or otherwise marginalized; or those fighting for social or political change. We are looking for films that are suitable in style to be able to sustain a festival and/or theatrical run and that could resonate with a mainstream U.S. audience.
Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media Database: The GFEM Media Database is a searchable database of media projects-in-progress. GFEM believes that media play a vital role in shaping, framing and catalyzing public discourse and culture. Our goal is to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. To this end, the GFEM Media Database serves as a hub where funders of all kinds can find a rich array of media-related projects that fit their funding priorities.
Movies That Matter: A program of Amnesty International offering modest monetary assistance to initiate human rights film festivals and to help circulate and exhibit human rights films in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
PBS’ POV Films Program: POV, public television’s premier showcase for independent nonfiction film and video, seeks programs from all perspectives to showcase in its annual national PBS series. All subjects, styles and lengths are welcome.
PUMA Catalyst Award: These awards are open to emerging and established filmmakers working anywhere in the world. We welcome one-off, creative documentary ideas aiming to be feature length films. Up to ten €5000 awards will be distributed annually. This award has a year round open call and makes grants at the organization’s discretion.
PUMA Impact Award: An annual €50,000 award which celebrates the documentary film that has made the most positive impact on society or the environment.
Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund: Funding for any filmmaker who has ever screened a film at Rooftop Films in New York. Cash awards and mentorships for short films. Equipment and Post-Production grants for feature films.
Rooftop Films/Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant for Women: ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation’s advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. For this grant, ASF will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. Please visit http://www.adrienneshellyfoundation.org/current-awards for more information.
Sundance Institute Documentary Fund: Research/Development and Production/Post-Production Grants for cinematic feature documentaries about pressing human rights, social justice, civil liberties and related topics from the US and internationally.
Geographically Limited to Filmmakers Based Anywhere in the U.S.
Creative Capital: National grantmaking and artist service organization for individual artists with an open application process. Supports all disciplines in the following categories: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Innovative Literature, and Performing Arts and Visual Arts.
Independent Television Service (ITVS) Open Call:Completion funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject, and from any viewpoint. Projects must have begun production as evidenced by a work-in-progress video. Open Call funding is only available to independent producers who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and its external territories.
Independent Television Service (ITVS) Linking Independents and Co-Producing Stations (LINCS): Matching funds to partnerships between public television stations and independent producers. LINCS funds single non-fiction public television programs on any subject and from any viewpoint. Producers must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
Independent Television Service (ITVS) Diversity Development Fund: Research and development funding to producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television. Producers must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film: The priority of the fund is to support projects that address significant subjects; offer fresh, challenging perspectives; engage diverse audiences; and expand the understanding of Jewish experiences. In the past, grants have generally ranged in size from $15,000 to $35,000.
MacArthur Foundation Documentary Film Grant: MacArthur’s goal in media grantmaking is to provide the public with high-quality, professionally-produced documentary films, deep and analytical journalism, and well-produced news and public affairs programming. In a media environment characterized by proliferating information sources of varying degrees of reliability, the Foundation seeks to support serious, fact-based journalism for television, radio and the web, the type of original reporting that is likely to be blogged about, linked to, tweeted, and otherwise circulated throughout the Internet. Programs supported by the Foundation inform and educate their viewers about important and under-reported topics, provide balance and accurate information, encourage global conversations, and use technology to tell stories in engaging and interactive ways.
National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Fund for the Arts: Field-advised, grant program designed to help Latinos develop their creative talents and make lasting contributions to our communities and society as a whole. Launched in 2005 by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture with major support from the Ford Foundation, the NALAC Fund for the Arts provides financial resources to strengthen Latino arts organizations and to support Latino artists in the creation of their work.
National Endowment for the Humanities America’s Media-Makers Development Grants: Enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and format and to prepare programs for production. These grants cover a wide range of activities that include, but are not limited to, meetings and individual consultations with scholars, research, preliminary interviews, preparation of program scripts, designs for interactivity and digital distribution, and the creation of partnerships for outreach activities and public engagement with the humanities. Development grants should culminate in the refinement of a project’s humanities ideas, a script, or a design document for (or a prototype of) digital media components or projects.
National Endowment for the Humanities America’s Media-Makers Production Grants: Support the preparation of a program for distribution. Applicants must submit a script for a radio or television program, or a prototype or storyboard for a digital media project, that demonstrates a solid command of the humanities ideas and scholarship related to a subject.
Producing for PBS: The Program Challenge Fund was created to support high-profile, primetime, limited series for the national public television schedule. The Program Challenge Fund is jointly administered by CPB and PBS, which make funding decisions based on mutually established programming goals and objectives.
Geographically Limited within the U.S.
The Jerome Foundation: The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City.
Maryland Humanities Council Opportunity Grants: The Opportunity Grant program provides small grants, up to $1,200, that give priority to
the programming needs of small institutions and underserved audiences. The Opportunity
Grant is flexible, responsive, and encourages the use of the humanities in new and
Pacific Pioneer Fund: Supports emerging documentary filmmakers who live and work in California, Oregon and Washington state. The term “emerging” is intended to denote a person committed to the craft of making documentaries, who has demonstrated that commitment by several years — but no more than ten — of practical film or video experience.
Geographically Limited to Filmmakers Outside of the U.S.
Hubert Bals Fund: An initiative of the International Film Festival Rotterdam that provides grants to remarkable cinema projects from developing countries. Support for feature films and creative, feature length documentary projects with theatrical potential. Note that creative documentary applications are only accepted for the Post-Production Category.
Independent Television Service (ITVS) International Call: Production funds for single non-fiction television programs that bring international perspectives, ideas, events and people to U.S. television. This initiative is for non-U.S. producers who are citizens of a different country and live outside the U.S.
IDFA Bertha Fund: The IDFA Bertha Fund, formerly known as the Jan Vrijman Fund, supports documentary filmmakers and festivals in developing countries. Its goal is to stimulate local film cultures and the turn the creative documentary into a truly global film art.
Korda Database: Database on public funding for film and audiovisual works in Europe.
Need a fiscal sponsor?
Check out the Docs In Progress Fiscal Sponsorship Program.