2020 Grants All Film Makers Must Know About

            Funding is usually a major setback for most script writers and movie production teams, so we decided to take up the initiative and develop a reference point for young movie producers. Being the leading distribution company in the whole of West Africa, it is our responsibility to ensure the sustainability of movie production in these regions. Here are some international organizations willing to sponsor young talents in 2020. These organizations are engaging the movie industry to endorse a wide story coverage on a much more professional level. The categories involved for selection would cut across documentaries, narratives, screenwriting, and new media. 

ITVS Open Call


If you have a work-in-progress for a standard broadcast length film, this co-production funding of $150,000 to $350,000 from ITVS is the stuff doc dreams are made from. From ITVS:

We’re looking for exceptional storytelling that’s in line with our mission: stories that take risks, tackle important issues, and are seldom seen in public media. We know how hard you’ve worked on your project, and we’ll partner with you to help you finish it, then distribute it on public television.  Deadline: Opens January 6, Deadline February TBA

NEH Media Projects Production Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities is the big daddy of government support for documentaries that address the humanities. The application process isn’t easy—in the past elements that been required an experienced team, a non-profit organization or fiscal sponsor, two humanities advisors, and a lengthy application (Ken Burns’ project descriptions are rumoured to have been around 40 pages), but the payoff is worth it: one-to-three year grants up to $650,000 range. From NEH:

The Media Projects program supports documentary film, television, radio, and podcast projects that engage public audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical. The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of information to explore its larger significance and stimulate reflection. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects that we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad general audience. Deadline: January 8

Sundance Documentary Fund

A core component of Sundance’s Documentary Film Program, this competitive grant looks for artful films about relevant topics, and it can get you $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the application type (Development, Production/Postproduction, Audience Engagement). From the Sundance Institute:

The Sundance Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display artful film language, effective storytelling, originality and feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and potential to reach and connect with its intended audience. Preference is given to projects that convey clear story structure, higher stakes and contemporary relevance, forward going action or questions, demonstrated access to subjects, and quality use of film craft. Deadline: February 17

Visions Sud Est Fund

If you’re a filmmaker based in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and you’re looking for either production or post-production support, Visions Sud Est can be good for 20,000 Swiss francs on narrative features and 10,000 Swiss francs for documentaries. From Visions Sud Est:

The Swiss fund Visions Sud Est was initiated by the Foundation trigon-film Baden and the Fribourg Film Festival, with the collaboration of Nyon’s Visions du Reel and the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It supports film productions from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, aims at making them visible worldwide and guarantees their distribution in Switzerland. Deadline: February 27

Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund supports feature-length documentaries highlighting issues of social importance in the range of $10,000 to $25,000. From TFI:

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund with support from the Oath Foundation will provide funding to 6-10 feature-length documentaries that highlight and humanize issues of social importance from around the world. Funded films will be driven by thoughtful and in-depth storytelling, bolstered by a compelling visual approach. More than half of the fund will support projects about women and under-served youth around the globe and illuminate the ways they are working to improve their communities, their futures, and the world. Deadline: Opens February 5

Catapult Film Fund

If you’re just starting out on a documentary, you know how hard it is to raise money when you have nothing to show. Because, hey, you need money to shoot something to show! The Catapult Film Fund will give you $5,000 to $20,000 to shoot enough footage so you can do a fundraiser 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 films to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find. Deadline: Rolling

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