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  • Kevin P. Baker

Seeking a Grant for your Film or Video? Start Here!

List of Grantmakers Graphic, Made by Charlie Puritano

So you want to make a film. That’s fantastic! Every single team member at PMG got their start in independent film, and are even all working on them right now! 

When making an independent film there are a lot of struggles, but the one that often kills or demoralizes young and independent filmmakers is funding. Well we at PMG want to be a resource to help you find some cash for your film, because believe it or not, there is cash out there! 

Below are some resources to help you find grants, as well as some actual grants open for application. 

Film Independent offers a variety of grants and fellowships, including narrative filmmaking grants. Their deadlines vary, so check their website for upcoming opportunities.

The Sundance Institute offers grants and fellowships through their Screenwriters Lab and Development Lab programs. These programs are highly competitive, but they can provide significant funding and mentorship for your project.

The San Francisco Film Society offers grants for narrative feature films through their Filmmaker Development Program. These grants are open to filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offers grants for film projects through their Media Arts program. These grants are highly competitive, but they can provide significant funding for your project.

Women in Film & Television (WIFT) offers a variety of grants and awards for women filmmakers. These grants can provide funding for development, production, and post-production.

The Rubys Artist Grants provide direct funding of up to $15,000 to Baltimore-area artists to support innovative projects with significant impact. Grants are offered in four broad discipline categories—Performing Arts, Media Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts—for the creation of new artwork. Applications in each discipline category are accepted once per year.

Resources in the DMV

While there isn't a single centralized resource specifically for film grants in the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area, you can explore various avenues to find suitable funding for your narrative film:

State Arts Councils:

  • Maryland State Arts Council: Offers grants like Individual Artist Awards and Project Grants that might support film projects under specific criteria.

  • Virginia Commission for the Arts: Provides Individual Artist Fellowships and Project Grants that could potentially support narrative filmmaking under their guidelines.

  • DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: Offers several grant programs, including the Artist Fellowship and Project Grants for Artists, which might be relevant depending on your project's stage and eligibility.

Local Film Commissions:

  • Maryland Film Office: Offers various resources and incentives for filmmakers, including the Maryland Film Production Incentive Program, which could offer financial support for qualified film projects shot in Maryland.

  • Virginia Film Office: Provides various incentives through the Virginia Film Production Tax Credit Program and other initiatives, potentially aiding qualified film projects shot in Virginia.

  • Film DC: While not offering direct grants, this organization serves as a resource for filmmakers in the DC area, and they might have information on relevant funding opportunities.

Additional Resources:

  • Women in Film & Video, DC: Offers the WIFV Narrative Short Film Finishing Fund, supporting short film post-production (under 15 minutes) for WIFV members. While not a grant for full production, it can be valuable support at a specific stage.

  • GrantStation: This online platform allows you to search for grants based on location, keyword (e.g., "film"), and other criteria. It can be a valuable tool to discover relevant grant opportunities, including those specific to the DMV area.

  • Local Film Festivals: Consider contacting film festivals in the DMV area. Some festivals might offer filmmaking grants or awards associated with the festival, so researching their websites or contacting them directly could reveal potential opportunities.

Final Thoughts

If you are have non-profit status and are serious about your search for grant funding, Candid (formerly the Foundation Center) has a subscription service (starts at $55 for a month of access) to a directory of thousands of grantmakers profiles and contact information. Candid's Foundation Directory

Remember, securing funding often requires a proactive approach. Research thoroughly, explore various options, and tailor your applications to each grant's specific requirements.

A photo with a list of grants

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