My favorite thing about starting a new year is filling out my planner with all the deadlines and screening dates for all the major contests, grant applications, markets and festivals I want to enter or visit. Doing this hones whatever filmmaking or networking goals I have set for myself and also allows me to plan out my goals for the year to see in an instant what I can realistically aim for and when. No matter how successful the filmmaker, he or she is caught up in a cycle of developing, writing, producing and selling projects. Moreso, the hungry filmmaker climbing up that ladder of success. For the filmmaker at the bottom, knowing the top script contests, film grants, festivals and markets mark one of the key differences between becoming successful or not. Knowing the top places to target means you are not wasting time chasing fruitless ventures. So, if you are reading this, it's because you ARE serious about climbing up that ladder and getting to a point where you are making an actual living in the film/TV industry. Good luck in 2014 and never forget... behind the visuals, a vision!
Below are a listing in deadline order of Funds, Grants and Fellowships that you can apply to at the development and conceptual stage. In addition, I have provided links to more funds and grants for documentary films in laters stages seeking production or post-production funding.
FILM FUNDS, GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS*
- The Jerome Foundation New York City Film and Video Grant Program (year-round rolling submission)
- BPM (Black Public Media) Network (year-round rolling submission)
- Catapult Film Fund Moving Documentary Films
- Hartley Film Foundation Grants with Fiscal Sponsorship (year-round rolling submission)
- Creative Capital Applications for Moving Images and Visual Arts
- The Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant Program
- Sundance Institute Creative Producing and Fellowship Lab
- IDFA Bertha Fund
- NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Culture) Fund for the Arts
- Cinereach Grant and Fellowship Applications (visit site to confirm deadlines)
* Calendar date is for the application deadline date to submit a proposal. Check each site for exact proposal deadlines. This list is composed of funds and grants for documentary ideas and proposals. For an exhaustive list of programs and funds to apply for films in other stages of development, production and post-production, visit - http://www.pbs.org/pov/filmmakers/resources-for-filmmakers.php and http://www.idfa.nl/industry/idfa-bertha-fund/other-funds-and-resources.aspx