Mo money, mo money: All the grants filmmakers need to know about

As amazing as it might sound, there’s actually money out there for you to make your project – and no, not just a surprise inheritance or finding a suitcase of hundies next to the body of a murdered drug dealer. Organizations will pay you dough to make your project a reality.

Let’s take a look at the grants out there for you right now.


NEH Media Production Grants and NEH Media Development Grants

Deadline: August 29th

This wide-reaching fund for documentary development supports a heap of different genres such as documentary film, television, radio, and podcast projects. The grant is offered to applicants with projects that can engage general audiences in creative and appealing ways that offer a thoughtful, analytical, and balanced approach.

They also demand that “All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology.”

Sundance Documentary Fund

Deadline for December edition: October 31st

Funds for US and international filmmakers for feature-length nonfiction projects.

The Fledgling Fund for Documentary Film Outreach and Engagement or Rapid Story Deployment Fund


Fledgling has two funding streams available. The Fledgling Fund has an open rolling application process for grants to “support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the health and well being of the most vulnerable”.

They also have the Rapid Story Development Fund which is there to “drive home the importance of raising up voices and stories that inform and engage. Looking at the big issues of immigration, racial justice, gender equality, health care, criminal justice and climate change” to name just a few.


National Film Board of Canada Filmmaker Assistance Program

“Applicants for this must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants who are working on projects that fall within the NFB’s mandate regarding cultural and social objectives, originality and innovation in style and content, and promoting under-represented viewpoints.”

It’s worth pointing out that FAP is not a funding (cash) program. “Assistance is offered in the form of technical services, up to a maximum cash value of $3,000 or $5,000 depending on the region in which you reside.”

Film Independent Directing Lab

This is an intensive eight-week course for directors looking to get their feature film into production. Under the guidance of established industry professionals who serve as creative advisors, Directing Lab Fellows receive script feedback, discuss their visions, and select short scenes from their screenplays to workshop. Directors then cast actors and rehearse their scenes in the Lab before undertaking a mini-production.

Directors also get a pass to Directors Close-Up (which runs concurrently with the Lab), a pass to the LA Film Festival, inclusion in the Film Independent Talent Guide, and year-round support from Film Independent for all phases of production.

Film Independent Project Involve

Project Involve is a free, intensive nine-month annual program that offers 30 up-and-coming film professionals from underrepresented communities the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, utilize free or low-cost production resources and ultimately gain the industry access necessary to succeed as working artists.

The Lab also offers mentoring, master workshops, production of a short film, and educational and networking events.

Cinereach Film Grants

“Cinereach develops, produces, finances, and supports feature-length fiction, nonfiction and hybrid films crafted for the big screen. They look for projects (at any stage) that create deep and lasting impressions through story, character, or cinematic approach.”

Cinereach is also looking to work with both unknown and established filmmakers who may face creative, financial or systemic obstacles to realizing ambitious visions.


Daisy Franklin is an adventuress, rabblerouser, and all-around snarky bon viveur. She worked in the music business for ten years and it made her absolutely miserable. Now she works as a freelance writer and is working on her first book, 'Live to Fail Another Day'.

[email protected]

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