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Documentary Funding Resources

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

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Organization Fund Description
AlterCine FoundationDocumentary Film Grants10,000 Canadian dollars to a video or filmmaker to assist in the production of a documentary project. The grant is aimed at young video and filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America who want to direct a film in the language of their choice that respects the aims of the Foundation.
Arthur Vining Davis FoundationPublic Television GrantsGrants primarily provide partial support for major series with lasting educational value that are assured of national airing by PBS. Consideration is given on occasion to single stand-alone programs of exceptional merit. Recent "capstone" produc­tion grants have ranged from $100,000 to $400,000.
Asian Cinema Fund Asian Network of Documentary FundThe Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund is a loose coalition of film festival organizers committed to supporting the production and distribution of Asian documentaries. There are funds for specifically Korean films, as well as Asian documentaries in general.
BerlinaleThe World Cinema Fund Provides Production funding of 100,000 EUR per project, and Distribution funding of 15,000 EUR (only German distributors may apply)
Bertha BRITDOCConnect FundThe Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund is the first European-based outreach and engagement fund, and is open to filmmakers from around the world. The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level. Social impact can be achieved in a myriad of ways and we are looking for outreach plans that engage audiences, have identifiable goals and partners to help achieve them. Grants will be in the range of £5,000 - £50,000.
Bertha BRITDOCDocumentary Journalism FundThe Bertha BRITDOC Fund for Journalism is an international film fund dedicated to supporting long form feature documentaries of a journalistic nature. Grants from £5,000 to £50,000 are available.
Cal HumanitiesCalifornia Documentary Project GrantThe California Documentary Project (CDP) is a competitive grants program that supports documentary film, radio, and new media productions that enhance our understanding of California and its cultures, peoples, and histories. Production grants are designed to strengthen the humanities content and approach of documentary media productions and help propel projects toward completion. Projects must be in the production stage, have a work-in-progress, and actively involve at least two humanities advisors in the production process. Grant awards range up to $20,000 for new media projects.
Catapult Film FundCatapult Film FundCatapult 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. Catapult Film Fund's mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their film projects to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find. They support powerful stories, and moving storytelling, across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives.
CEC ArtsLinkArtsLink ProjectsArtsLink supports exchange between artists and arts organizations in the United States and eligible countries. Since 1993, ArtsLink has disbursed over $1.6 million in awards to 323 US arts professionals undertaking projects abroad.
Chicken & EggCall for SubmissionsChicken & Egg Pictures is a film fund and non-profit production company dedicated to supporting women filmmakers who are as passionate about the craft of storytelling as they are about the social justice, environmental and human rights issues they're embracing, translating and exploring on film. They match strategically timed financial support with rigorous, respectful and dynamic mentorship, creative collaboration and community-building to nurture women filmmakers whose diverse voices represent a range of lived experience and realities that have the power to change the world as we know it.
Cinereach GrantsReach Film FellowshipCinereach supports feature-length nonfiction and fiction films that are at the intersection of engaging storytelling, visual artistry, and vital subject matter. Grant amounts can range from $5,000 - $50,000 per project and can be awarded to support any stage of production, including development, production and post-production.
Creative CapitalGrantsCreative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $40,000, for a total commitment of up to $90,000 per project
Film IndependentSpirit Award GrantsEvery year at the Spirit Awards, Film Independent gives out three Filmmaker Grants selected by nomination only and voted on by committees. The recipients of these awards become Film Independent Fellows and receive unrestricted cash grants of $25,000.
Film IndependentSloan Producers GrantThe Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awards one participant in Film Independent's Producing Lab the annual Sloan Producers Grant. The recipient receives a $25,000 development grant, admission to Film Independent's Producing Lab, and year-round support from Film Independent.
Film IndependentJameson Find Your Audience AwardIncludes a cash grant of $50,000 designed to assist the winning filmmaker with building the audience for his or her with qualifying feature film.
Film IndependentIn Kind Produciton GrantsEach year, Film Independent awards a number of in-kind production grants to qualified Film Independent Fellows who are filmmakers in production on a feature film.
Film IndependentFellowshipsThrough donor-named fellowships, Film Independent supports the Fellows with cash grants.
Ford FoundationJustFilmsJustFilms focuses on film, video and digital works that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world. Initiative funds will be distributed through three distinct paths: partnerships with major organizations such as the Sundance Institute, the Independent Television Service and the Tribeca Film Institute, collaboration with other Ford Foundation grant-making programs where the introduction of documentary film could help draw attention to an issue or advance a movement, and an ongoing open-application process that will help JustFilms stay attuned to fresh ideas and stories wherever they may emerge.
Hartley Film FoundationGrants with Fiscal SponsorshipThe Hartley Film Foundation awards grants for documentaries in the areas of world religions and spirituality. In return, the grantees agree to pay Hartley a small percentage of any net profits derived from the film project. In conjunction with its grants, Hartley also provides filmmakers with fiscal sponsorship services.
Hot DocsShaw Media FundsThe 'Completion Fund' will provide financial support of up to $100,000 (limited to a maximum of 20% of a project's budget) for production companies to complete specific projects. The 'Development Fund' will provide no-interest loans averaging between $10,000 - $15,000 in the early development stage, when projects are at the highest risk and may have not yet secured a market partner.
Hot DocsBlue Ice Group Documentary FundThe Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is a grant program providing financial support to African documentary filmmakers for development and production. Development grants of $3000 - $8,00 and Production grants of $5000 - $40,000 are awarded to approximately four to 10 projects annually.
IDAPare Lorentz Documentary FundThe Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund will provide annual production grants totaling $95,000 to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate pressing issues in the United States. Grants will be made to up to 6 projects that tell a compelling story and focus on one of Pare Lorentz's central concerns--the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.
IDFA Bertha Fund (formerly IDFA's Jan Vrijman Fund)The IDFA Bertha Fund supports documentaries that make a difference. Documentaries are not only a creative form of artistic expression, but also an expression of a world-view and a lifestyle. These documentaries therefore often tackle controversial issues in developing countries covering such themes as social injustice, freedom of expression, human rights, poverty, economic justice and education.
Impact PartnersImpact Partners FundsImpact Partners looks to finance powerful documentaries that address contemporary social issues. They welcome unsolicited submissions.
International Film Festival Rotterdam Hubert Bals FundThe Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) is an initiative of the International Film Festival Rotterdam that provides grants to remarkable cinema projects in various stages of completion. Individual grants of up to €10.000 for script and project development and €20.000 for post-production. Selection rounds take place twice a year. For Dutch producers only.
International Film Festival Rotterdam Hubert Bals Fund PlusThe Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam supports filmmakers from developing countries with contributions in the stages of script development, post-production and distribution. Annually, between 20 to 40 filmproductions are realised with the support of the Hubert Bals Fund. In order to stimulate Dutch producers to get involved in international co-productions, and to support the Hubert Bals Fund projects in the stage of actual production as well, the Netherlands Film Fund (Nederlandse Filmfonds) and the HBF set up the Hubert Bals Fund Plus.
ITVSDiversity Development Fund (DDF)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. Funded activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early phase activities.
ITVSLINCS (Linking Independents and Co-production Stations)LINCS (Linking Independents and Co-producing Stations) provides matching funds to producer-station partnerships. Up to $100,000 in matching funds is available for a single broadcast program. LINCS applications are accepted year round. The review process of a complete submission can take up to two months. Around 8 to 10 percent of LINCS applicants will receive funding.
ITVSSeries & Special ProjectsITVS accepts proposals on an ongoing basis for commissioned documentary projects that fall outside of the parameters of the standing initiatives. For development funding, activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early-phase activities. For production funding, all production and post-production activities are eligible.
LEF FoundationMoving Image Fund GrantsThe goal of LEF New England is to fund the work of independent documentary film and video artists in the region, and to broaden recognition and support for their work, both locally and nationally. Pre-Production Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to projects in the pre-production phase of development. Production Grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to projects in the production phase during LEF's major grants review. Post-Production Grants of $25,000 each will be awarded to projects in the post-production phase during LEF's major grants review
Los Angeles Film Festival (Film Independent)Canon Filmmaker AwardA program for Film Independent Fellows, alumni of the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Spirit Awards Nominees and Winners. The Award includes a camera package of one (1) Canon Cinema EOS C300 package loaned to assist the winning filmmaker with a qualifying feature.
MacArthur FoundationDocumentary Film GrantsMacArthur'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.
MEDIA Programme - European CommissionDevelopment - Single ProjectsProvides funding for independent European producers of audiovisual projects with a European dimension, both upstream of the production stage and during production. he minimum grant is EUR 10,000. The maximum grant is EUR 60,000 except for feature-length animations for theatrical release, for which the maximum is EUR 80,000.
Movies That Matter Funding Support ProgrammeTo promote human rights film screenings worldwide, Movies that Matter has provided an additional incentive for the wider distribution of human rights films. Through its Support Programme, Movies that Matter offers modest financial assistance (up to € 5,000) to human rights film events in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
NALAC Fund for the ArtsArtist & Ensemble GrantsNALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA) grants for Latino artists and ensembles support the work of individual artists and ensembles in all disciplines. They provide three different funding opportunities: Project Grant ($1000 - $10,000), Fellowship ($1000 - $5000), Master Artist Grant ($10,000 - $20,000).
National Endowment for the ArtsFunding Opportunities in Media ArtsThe National Endowment for the Arts provides several funding opportunities for organizations working in media arts.
National Endowment for the HumanitiesAmerica's Media MakersAmerica's Media Makers (AMM) grants support the following formats: interactive digital media, film and television projects, and radio projects. Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script or a design document and should also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.
National Endowment for the HumanitiesBridging Cultures Through Film The Bridging Cultures through Film: International Topics program supports documentary films that examine international and transnational themes in the humanities. These projects are meant to spark Americans' engagement with the broader world by exploring countries and cultures outside of the United States. Proposed documentaries must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship.
New York Foundation for the ArtsArtists FellowshipsArtists' Fellowships are $7,000 cash awards made to individual artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use.
Pacific Pioneer Fund Pacific Pioneer FundThe purpose of the fund is to support emerging documentary filmmakers. 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. It provides $1,000-$10,000 in grants to support filmmakers who live and work in California, Oregon and Washington.
Rooftop Filmmakers Fund The goal of the Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund is to help our filmmakers make creative, intelligent, low-budget films. Since Rooftop Films inception in 1997, the mission of the organization has been to support an independent filmmaking community, and to help filmmakers at all stages of the process, from production to exhibition. The Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund has seven grants available for both short and feature-length films.
San Francisco Film SocietyDocumentary Film FundThe SFFS Documentary Film Fund will support riveting documentaries in post-production distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. A total of $100,000 will be disbursed annually between 2011 and 2013 to documentary filmmakers nationwide.
Southern Documentary FundFiscal SponsorshipFounded in 2002, the Southern Documentary Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization that cultivates documentary projects made in or about the American South. Inspired by our core belief that documentaries have the power to change lives, SDF serves as a leading advocate for powerful Southern storytelling, providing filmmakers and artists with professional support, fiscal sponsorship, and creative community.
Sundance InstituteDocumentary Fund Sundance Institute's Documentary Fund and Awards division is a core element of the DFP, granting between $1 and $2 million per year to support U.S. and international contemporary independent documentary films. With submission deadlines in February and July each year, and other special invitation only opportunities, the Fund reviews 1,700-2,000 proposals annually, and grants about 45-55 projects from filmmakers around the world.
The Fledgling FundFilm & Creative Media GrantsMost of these grants support outreach and audience engagement for social issue documentaries and range from smaller planning grants to implementation grants for projects that have a clear plan ready to launch. A small number of these grants support post-production for timely projects that have strong social change potential. They typically range from $5K to $30K and are considered in our Spring and Fall funding cycles.
The Fledgling FundField Building GrantsThese grants focus on building the capacity of our grantees and the social issue documentary field. They range from programs, institutes and residencies that strengthen outreach and audience engagement skills to film festivals and other events that showcase social issue documentaries as a tool for change. The are usually between $5K and $25K and are considered in the Spring and Fall funding cycles.
The Fledgling FundImpact GrantsThe Fledgling Fund awards two types of impact grants. Documenting Impact grants provide support for short videos or other media that captures, explains and communicates impact (up to $10K). Evaluating Impact grants are reserved for the design or implementation of a structured evaluation effort (up to $20K).
The Jerome FoundationGeneral Grant ProgramThe Jerome Foundation, offers grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and to fiscal sponsors applying on behalf of artists for the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists in New York City and Minnesota.
Tribeca Film InsituteTFI Documentary Fund The TFI Documentary Fund provides grants and guidance to support exceptional character-driven, non-fiction works-in-progress that sit outside of the social issue landscape and aim to take audiences into someone else's environment and spotlight the journey of the individual. They are for films, based anywhere, that are in the advanced stages of development or either in production or post-production. Grants of at least $10,000.
Tribeca Film InsituteGucci Tribeca Documentary Fund Provides finishing funds to feature-length documentaries which highlight and humanize issues of social importance from around the world. Funded films are driven by thoughtful and in-depth storytelling, bolstered by a compelling visual approach. For films, based anywhere, that are in production or post-production with the intended premiere exhibition. Grants range from $10,000 to $25,000.
Tribeca Film InsituteTFI Latin America Media Arts FundSupports innovative film and video artists living and working in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America whose works reflect their diverse cultures in the documentary or mixed media form. For projects that are in production or post-production. $10,000 grants.
Visions Sud EstSwiss Production FundThe Swiss 'visions sud est' fund supports film productions from Asia, Africa and Latin America and helps in making them visible in Switzerland. The fund 'visions sud est' aims to fill a void in existing forms of help by supporting authentic and compelling projects - both full-length fictional works and creative documentaries - without imposing conditions, and by doing its best to ensure their distribution and visablility in the country itself.
Women In Film Film Finishing FundThe Women In Film Foundation's Film Finishing Fund (WIFF FFF) supports films by, for or about women by providing cash grants of up to $15,000 and in-kind services.
World ViewProject Development FundCurrently only established programme makers/media producers/production companies may apply. Individual producers are not excluded from applying to the Fund, but are encouraged to approach established production companies to umbrella their projects.

If you have an addition, update or correction, please email filmmakers[at]pov.org and let us know!

Last Updated: 2/14/2014