February 21, 2018

A Massive List of Spring 2018 Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About

ABACUS Steve James
Will this year's Rites of Spring include getting your hands on some cool cash for your next film?

With the spring season right around the corner, it's time to unveil our seasonal grants list as the weather begins to show further signs of warmth. As always, the following opportunities are organized by deadline, from March through early June, and by category: documentaries, narratives, screenwriting, and new media. If you're looking for a head-start on a different granting season, check out our most recent summer grantsfall grants, and winter grants roundups.

Note: An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative.

As always, use your best judgment when deciding to apply.



Still from San Francisco Film Society Documentary Film Fund grantee "Hale County, This Morning, This Evening" by RaMell Ross.

Center for Asian American Media Open Call

The Center for Asian American Media will award between $15,000 and $50,000 for public television appropriate documentary programs. From CAAM:

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media.

Deadlines: March 1

Vision Maker Media Public Media Project Fund

Vision Maker Media will award anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 for projects in R&D, Production, or Post-Production stages that are accessible to a broad audience and have the potential for a national broadcast. This year there are a handful of specific initiatives about critical social issues in Indian country that might qualify for programming beyond general submissions. From VMM:

Vision Maker Media invites proposals for programs intended for Public Television that represent the experiences, values and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Deadlines: March 1

ITVS Digital Open Call

Do you have a non-fiction, linear, transmedia, or other kind of digital series that's is still in pre-production? You could get a development agreement to make it happen. From ITVS:

We’re looking for exceptional stories on any subject. We provide up to $30,000 in research and development funding to help you take your original digital content idea to the pilot stage for distribution on public media. 

Deadline: March 2

The Scottish Documentary Institute Consultancies 

The Scottish Documentary Institute is rapidly becoming a renowned force behind interesting documentaries coming out of the region, so if you're based in Scotland, the Consultancies are a good way to get your foot in the door. From SDI:

Throughout the year we can offer professional consultancies to Scotland-based filmmakers and for projects (shorts and features) in development, production or distribution. Our consultants include SDI core team members as well as first rate UK based and international external advisors.

Deadline: March 2

IFP Filmmaker Lab: Documentary

If you have a rough cut for your first film, apply to be a part of the illustrious IFP lab for a year-long mentorship program presented by the Time Warner Foundation. From IFP:

The IFP Filmmaker Labs ensure that talented, emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to complete, market and distribute their first feature. Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers. Open to all first-time feature documentary directors with films in post-production. 

Deadline: March 5

San Francisco Film Society Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship

This brand new initiative from SFFILM and Vulcan Productions offers you $25,000 plus an advisor, travel to San Francisco and Seattle, and more to explore an important environmental or conservation story that needs to be told. From the SFFILM:

SFFILM and Vulcan Productions believe that filmmakers tackling stories about climate change and the environment need and deserve meaningful financial and creative support, particularly as the environment and science as a whole face new threats. The SFFILM Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship is geared towards filmmakers from anywhere in the world with a proven track record of creating compelling, wide-reaching stories through documentary film, photography, journalism, or related fields. 

Deadline: March 5

SFFILM/Catapult Documentary Fellowship

Need help to develop your next documentary? Check out this partnership from SFFILM:

SFFILM and Catapult Film Fund support filmmakers in the early stages of development on compelling, story-driven, feature documentary films. The fellowship includes a $10,000 grant, curated mentors whose work or artistic approach aligns with the filmmaker's goals, guidance from SFFILM and Catapult Film Fund staff, and access to SFFILM's FilmHouse residency and dynamic suite of artist development services.

Deadline: March 5

BDC Films Fellowship Program

If you are a traditionally underrepresented documentary filmmaker, apply to participate in a free year-long documentary filmmaking fellowship with The Bronx Documentary Center. From BDC Films:

The Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) created BDC Films in response to the lack of support for traditionally underrepresented documentary filmmakers in the Bronx, as well as the changes in storytelling professions that require a broader skillset for potential employment in creative industries.  Through such offerings as documentary filmmaking courses and professional development workshops; mentorships; documentary film screenings and panel discussions; equipment loans and low-cost rentals; access to free meeting and work space; and a video editing suite, Bronx filmmakers will have the necessary tools to tell their own stories and gain employment in creative industries. 

Deadline: March 15

Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Short-Short Documentary Film Grant

If you're an up-and-coming filmmaker from anywhere with a short documentary from 10 - 30 minutes in length that highlights human issue and journalistic issues, you could get $5,000 from the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film. From MROF:

Mirroring the mission of our foundation and themes covered in our still photography grants, we invite documentary film makers around the globe to share their human interest stories and submit their “Short-Short” documentary film projects highlighting human unrest, forgotten communities, over-exploited people and environments impacted by war, poverty, famine, disease, exploitation and global distress.

Deadline: March 31

IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund

In its second year, the International Documentary Association will awards up to $100,000 from the Fund for feature length documentaries that incorporate journalistic practices into their original story. From IDA:

The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides production funds to feature-length documentary films taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories and integrating journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. In addition to funds, grantees will receive additional resources and expertise tailored to the needs of the project.

Deadline: April 1

Still from Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund recipient "Crime + Punishment" by Stephen Maing.

Screen Australia: Documentary Development

If you're looking to develop an Australian documentary or co-production, you could get up to $30,000 for development from Screen Australia:

Screen Australia’s Documentary Development program assists experienced documentary makers to achieve planned outcomes for the development of their projects. This could include further research, writing the next draft of a script or treatment, strategic shooting and/or editing to attract marketplace development or production finance, or compiling a sizzle reel.

Deadline: April 6

Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund supports 4-10 feature-length documentaries the highlight issues of social importance in the range of $10,000 to $25,000. This year, two-to-five additional grants will be provided for docs about extraordinary women. From TFI:

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund will provide funding to 4-10 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. For films, based anywhere, that are in production or post-production with the intended premiere exhibition.

Deadline: April 16

IFP Project Forum: Spotlight on Documentaries:

Among other things, the Spotlight on Documentaries that takes place in the Project Forum during IFP Film Week allows filmmakers to take part in pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with potential financing and distribution partners and speed dating meetings with festival programmers. From IFP:

Spotlight on Documentaries is an extremely successful and viable forum for U.S. and International buyers, sales agents, and financiers to meet with filmmakers with new documentary feature and serialized projects. Presenting 60+ documentary projects ranging from those at an early financing stage (i.e. early development or in production) to those nearing completion (i.e. in post-production or at a rough cut stage), this section includes emerging and established filmmakers working in non-fiction.

Deadline: Opens April 2018

IDFA Bertha Fund: Europe International Co-Production

A grant from one of the most prestigious doc-only film festivals, IDFA, this grant is earmarked for a film with a European co-producer and key European production elements, while the director has to be from the IBF country list. From IDFA:

This category caters to documentary projects in all stages of production that have a director from a country on the IBF Country List and that are realized through international co-productions between at least one European and one non-European producer. The maximum contribution per project is €40,000.

Deadline: May 1

The Jerome Foundation Artist Fellowship

If you're a creative filmmaker located in Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City, you could be one of ten grant recipients in the Media category to get up to $30,000 in the first round of a new Artist Fellowship program. From the Jerome Foundation:

The Jerome Foundation is pleased to announce the first round of a new Artist Fellowship program that offers flexible, two-year grants to support the creative development of early-career generative artists in the state of Minnesota and the five boroughs of New York City. Artists may apply individually or together with other members of ongoing collectives or ensembles.

Deadline: May 8

Miller / Packan Film Fund

This brand-new grant from the Rogovy Foundation will award doc filmmakers between $5,000 to $25,000 for work that addresses social issues and inspires others. From the Rogovy Foundation:

The Miller / Packan Film Fund supports documentaries that Educate, Inspire and Enrich. The Fund is financed through the Rogovy Foundation. We believe in the transformational power that comes from enlightening narratives and inspiring characters. The Fund began granting in 2016. In its first year, grants totaling $150,000 will be awarded to between six and ten filmmakers. The fund operates an open call submission process, and awards are announced bi-annually. The first grants were awarded in June 2016.

Deadline: May 15

Still from Vision Maker Media Public Media Fund recipient "Keep Talking" by Karen Lynn Weinberg.

IDFA Bertha Fund: Classic Project DevelopmentProduction & Post-Production

This IDFA grant will bring in up to €5,000 for pre-production or €17,500 for production & postproduction for projects from countries less represented in other film funding. From IDFA:

Applications have to be submitted by a director or producer from a country on the IBF Country List and the contribution must be spent in a country on this list as well.

Deadline: May 15

San Francisco Film Society Documentary Film Fund

If you have a documentary in post-production, the San Francisco Film Society wants to help you finish it. So far, it has granted $650,000 in finishing funds for documentaries that went on to achieve great acclaim, such as Zachary Heinzerling'Cutie and the Boxer, which won Sundance's Directing Award for documentary and was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. From the SFFS:

The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports riveting documentaries in post-production distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach...As with all SFFILM grants, in addition to the cash awards, recipients will gain access to numerous benefits through SFFILM Makers, the comprehensive and dynamic artist development program.

Deadline: TBA; Typically opens late March, closes in May

Pacific Pioneer Fund

For filmmakers based in California, Washington, or Oregon, this grant offers from $1,000 to $10,000 to emerging documentarians. From PPF:

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. 

Deadline: June 1

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: Rolling

The Fledgling Fund for Documentary Film Outreach and Engagement

If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support outreach and audience engagement strategies to an average $10,000 to $25,000. From the Fledgling Fund:

Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable.

Deadline: Rolling

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

This new fund offers £10,000 to 50,000 to doc filmmakers from any country in a mix of grants and investments. From BRITDOC:

The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, and bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.

Deadline: Rolling

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 fundraise 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


The Strange Ones
Still from The Davey Foundation recipient "The Strange Ones" by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein.

The Film Fund

Back for its second year, this initiative will award up to $10,000 to a filmmaker with the best one-sentence idea for a short film. From Thomas Verdi of The Film Fund:

Starting out as an independent filmmaker not based in Los Angeles or New York, I found myself struggling to raise financing and find resources for my film projects, and it appeared that many contests were dominated by those who already had industry experience or access to better resources and crew. The Film Fund is designed to level the funding field, as no advantage is given to entrants based on industry experience. Effective storytellers should be able to succinctly convey the vision they have for their projects, and that is the basis of the contest.

Deadline: February 26

Bureau of Creative Works Short Film Grant*

Now in its third year, the Bureauis inviting short films to be a part of their library; once in their library, films can be eligible to receive production funds for original works when a grant is made available. From the Bureau

The Bureau brings together some of the best independent filmmakers working in short film. We are fighting to redefine the value and importance of short films as a stand-alone medium. Submit your film for consideration within The Bureau library.

Deadline: March 1

IFP Filmmaker Lab: Narrative

Working on your first feature, with a budget under $1Million? Apply to be a part of the long-standing IFP lab for a year-long mentorship program presented by the Time Warner Foundation. From IFP:

The IFP Filmmaker Labs ensure that talented, emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to complete, market and distribute their first feature. Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers. Open to all first-time feature documentary directors with films in post-production. 

Deadline: March 5

IFP Screen Forward Lab*

If you are interesting in TV and web series, interactive storytelling, or app-based work, IFP is looking for 10 innovative creators with fiction and non-fiction serialized projects. From IFP:

After participating in this year-long program, Screen Forward Labs alumni have gone on to, among other successful stories: find partners and executive producers; connect with production companies; work in top writers rooms; self-launch and build audiences; win awards; have their project acquired for development by television and digital companies.

Deadline: March 5

Film Independent Producing Lab & Sloan Producer's Grant

Are you a producer with feature length narrative in active development or pre-production? If you are interested in getting your project off the ground, not to mention be eligible for a $30,000 Sloan Producer's Grant, check this out from FIND:

The Producing Lab also helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing. In addition to attending class sessions with guest speakers from film’s legal, financial, and production arenas, each Producing Fellow will be paired with an experienced Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work in class and one-on-one to further develop their project over the course of the program. 

Deadline: March 12

Film Independent's Fast Track

If you're a directing and producing team with a full-length narrative or documentary film seeking financing, the Los Angeles Fast Track market could be a great place to find it. From FIND:

Fast Track is a three day film financing market, held during the Los Angeles Film Festival and designed to help producer-director teams “fast track” their projects forward through sixty meetings with top executives, financiers, agents, managers, distributors, granting organizations, and production companies. During three days of intensive meetings, participants gain valuable exposure and build vital relationships as they propel their films towards completion.

Deadline: March 12

Sundance Episodic Story Lab

For the Episodic Story Lab, Sundance Institute will choose writers/filmmakers with an original episodic pilot for a six-day fellowship. From Sundance:

The Sundance Institute Episodic Lab is a six-day program at the Sundance Resort in Utah that offers writers the opportunity to workshop an original pilot script, while developing their writing and pitching skills. Working with accomplished showrunners, non-writing creative producers and executives, the Fellows participate in one-on-one story meetings, pitching sessions, and simulated writers rooms, which together provide creative and strategic keys to success.

Deadline: March 15

Hidden Figures screenplay
Still from Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship recipent "Hidden Figures" by Theodore Melfi.

The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists Short Film Grants

To honor the late artist David Ross Fetzer, the DRFF offers grants to up-and-coming filmmakers under 35, and in their fifth year will award three $5,000 grants, including one gear incentive package provided by Film Exchange. From the Davey Foundation:

The goal of the Foundation is to provide opportunities for young, emerging filmmakers and playwrights to have their work produced and shown on screens and theatres in Utah, and nationally...The Davey Foundation to date has awarded thirteen short film grants to some amazing emerging filmmakers whose films have been included in festivals nationally and internationally, and have been nominated for and won prestigious film prizes (such as Nick Dixon’s Emmy-award winning “Mine” and Vika Evdokimenko’s BAFTA-nominated “Aamir”). Others have gone on to write, produce, and direct feature films (such as Lauren Wolkstein’s “The Strange Ones.”)

Deadline: April 1 (Regular), May 1 (Late)

IFP Project Forum: No Borders Narrative Features & Series

From emerging showrunners to international directors, IFP's well-attended Film Week is a must for your narrative project to be showcased in front of financiers, distributors, and programmers. From IFP:

The newly-revamped No Borders program offers both narrative feature filmmakers and series creators the opportunity to attend IFP Week and meet with various members of industry in an effort to help move their projects forward, broaden their networks, and find a level of career sustainability.

Deadline: Opens in March

Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program*

If you're an Australia-based filmmaker, you have got to get in touch with Screen Australia. The government film agency throws down major funds for low-budget features, documentaries, and large-format programs. From Screen Australia:

Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program aims to assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.

Deadline: April 6 (for June 22 decision)

The Roy Dean Grant/From the Heart Productions*

The Roy Dean Grant includes over $30,000 of in-kind services and products is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500,000. From FTHP:

We fund compelling stories about little known subjects, historical films, and films that touch hearts. We like films that expose, and bring, important information to light; as well as films about little known people when there is a good story.

Deadline: April 30

Still from IFP Narrative Lab participant "Dayveon" by Amman Abbasi.

National Film Board of Canada Filmmaker Assistance Program*

If you're a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, the Film Board of Canada has 10 provinces that offer emerging filmmakers $3,000 - $5,000 grants a year in technical services to complete your film. Deadlines depend on the province, so be sure to check them out individually. From NFBC:

The National Film Board’s mandate is to reflect Canadian values and perspectives through the production and distribution of innovative Canadian audiovisual works accessible in relevant media of today. The Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to help developing independent filmmakers complete their films/videos by providing technical services and support.

Deadline: April 15 (depending on FAP region)

San Francisco Film Society/Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship

This fellowship from SFFS offers $35,000, a two-month residency at FilmHouse, and connection to the Bay Area's science and technology communities. From the SFFS:

The Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship is funded by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of their support of programs that nurture, cultivate, and champion films that explore scientific or technological themes and characters. Under the auspices of its Artist Development program, SFFILM will award fellowships to filmmakers in the screenwriting phase developing a screenplay that tells a story related to science or technology. 

Deadline: May 1

SmashCut Film Lab

Are you a thoughtful, liberty-minded filmmaker with a treatment who could use 100 days and $10K to turn that treatment into a short or series? Check this Lab out from Taliesin Nexus:

The SmashCut Film Lab (formerly known as Liberty Lab for Film) is an advanced program for those who have filmmaking, screenwriting, producing experience and want an opportunity to work alongside like-minded creatives with the guidance of seasoned professionals such as Daniel Knauf, (executive producer, NBC’s The Blacklist screenwriters Bill Marsilii (Deja Vu, Cold), Paul Guay (Liar Liar), David H. Steinberg (American Pie 2) and Courtney Balaker (Little Pink House)  in developing, writing, filming and editing your short film or web series idea.

Deadline: May TBA

LEF Moving Image Fund: Pre-Production  

Specifically for New England filmmakers, the LEF Moving Image Fund supports original and creative films with 4-6 pre-production funds of $5,000. From LEF:

 Pre-production funds may be used for research, travel, location scouting, script or storyboard development, experimentation with shooting picture and sound, distribution planning, fundraising, creating a trailer, and schedule and budget development.

Deadline: June 1

ScreenCraft Spring 2018 Film Fund*

Now accepting shorts, features, documentaries, or series, if you’ve got a script or are in early stages of production, you could be one of two filmmakers to score up to $30,000 in financing and production services. From ScreenCraft:

In partnership with BondIt Media Capital, a film & media fund based in Beverly Hills, ScreenCraft is offering two production grants per year to talented filmmakers for narrative features, short films and TV pilot series scripts and documentaries that display originality, vision & exceptional potential. Grant amounts will vary from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scale and merit of each project. 

Deadline: February 1 (Early) June 30 (Final)

2018 Adobe Design Achievement Awards*

Are you a student looking to jumpstart your career? ADAA can offer the chance for mentorship, detailed feedback, career boot camps, internships, and a trip to Las Vegas to attend Adobe MAX 2017. This year, there's also a category for students working with AR, VR, and emerging technologies. From ADAA:

The ADAA is a global digital media competition for student creators. Connected to industry professionals, academic leaders, and top brands, the ADAA aims to launch the next generation of student careers.

Deadline: Spring TBA

Panavision's New Filmmaker Program

If you are a student or a low-budget indie maker, Panavision might supply you with free camera packages. From Panavision:

The New Filmmaker Program loans film or digital camera packages (based on availability) to filmmakers for student thesis films, “low-budget” independent features, showcase reels, Public Service Announcements, or any other type of short not-for-profit project.

Deadline: Rolling


Film Independent Episodic Lab 2018

Are you or your writing team in need of support to realize your long form episodic content? From FIND:

Each Fellow will be paired with a creative advisor with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to further develop their project over the course of the program. Additionally, guest speakers will screen and discuss their own work to offer insights into the creative process and industry best practices. A final networking and pitch event will offer fellows the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to studio and network executives.

Deadline: February 26 (Extended)

Script Pipeline 2018 Screenwriting Contest

$25,000 is up for grabs, along with consultations and personal introductions meant to give you a leg up in the industry. From Script Pipeline:

The 15th Annual 2017 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest continues a long tradition of discovering up-and-coming talent and connecting them with top producers, agencies, and managers across studio and independent markets. This process has proven enormously successful, with numerous screenwriting contest alumni finding elite representation and gaining crucial introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach industry execs.

Deadline: March 1 (Early)

Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition

A popular screenwriting competition where first prize gets $10,000 and genre winners get $500. From Scriptapalooza:

From choosing our judges to creating opportunities, our top priority has always been the writer. We surround ourselves with reputable and successful companies, including the many producers, literary agents, and managers who read your scripts. Our past winners have won Emmys, been signed by agents, managers, had their scripts optioned, and even made into movies. But the most important prize of all is this: Scriptapalooza will promote, pitch, and push the Semifinalists and higher for a full year. No other competition in the world does that.

Deadline: March 1 (Regular)

ScreenCraft 2018 Screenwriting Fellowship

In its 5th year, ScreenCraft's Screenwriting Fellowship offers winners an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood and three months of one-on-one consultations with the ScreenCraft staff and mentors, and meetings with lit agents. From ScreenCraft:

The chosen recipients will receive ongoing professional support and a special trip to Los Angeles for meetings and introductions to key entertainment executives, producers and representatives...Past ScreenCraft Fellowship winners have optioned their projects and signed with top representatives at 3 Arts Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Creative Artists Agency, Anonymous Content, Paradigm Talent Agency, ICM, Bellevue Productions, Plattform and more.

Deadline: March 1 (Final)

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts an international screenwriting competition established to identify new talent in screenwriting. From the Academy:

Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application when the competition is open for submissions. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.

Deadline: March 7 (early); April 10 (Regular)

Showtime's Tony Cox Screenplay Competition

This screenplay competition from Nantucket Film Festival gives cash prizes ($5k for winners) and VIP festival access to winners with scripts for short films, feature films, 30-minute TV Pilots and hour-long TV pilots. From Nantucket:

Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions recognize emerging writers in four unique categories as the best from the pool of submissions each year. Finalists in each competition are read by prestigious juries, receive top industry recognition, and participate in a Festival focused specifically on screenwriting that includes cash prizes for all competitions and a Mentors Brunch with a prominent screenwriter (past mentors include Oliver Stone, Robert Towne, David O. Russell, and Nancy Meyers). 

Deadline: March 12 (WAB extended)

ScreenCraft Sci-Fi & Fantasy Screenplay Contest

If you're looking to be discovered in this genre and win $1k in the process, this contest could be for you. From Screencraft:

Whether you’re writing a contained science fiction drama or an epic fantasy saga, we want to read your feature film script. The jury is out of this world — with judges who love sci-fi movies — from top companies including 20th Century Fox, Sony and United Pictures Group! Don’t miss the industry’s #1 sci-fi & fantasy feature screenplay contest.

Deadline: March 30

Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Contest

A long-standing and popular festival and competition amongst screenwriters, win this competition for a chance to be signed with a major agency and have your script optioned, acquired, and produced. From AFF:

For over two decades, Austin Film Festival has been catapulting writers into life-changing careers. With one of the most noteworthy competitions among Hollywood tastemakers, AFF consistently yanks newcomers from the isolation of their desks and ushers them into the bustling world of film and television. 

Deadline: March 30 (Early), April 20 (Regular)

Slamdance Writing Competition

This competition program has four categories and gives awards to the top three of each, plus a grand prize. Also, every entry gets feedback. From Slamdance:

The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world. We are looking for work that is truly compelling and stories that are truly unique.

Deadline: April 10 (Regular)

Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest

This contest offers $20,000 in prizes and introductions to executives, agents, and other potentially important industry contacts. From BHSC:

The Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest is an international screenwriting competition dedicated to discovering and showcasing the work of the world’s best new emerging screenwriters in the city globally recognized as the center of the movie and television industries.  We celebrate and share your passion for storytelling by helping to advance the careers of talented screenwriters, connecting our winners with working industry producers, agents, managers, and development executives. 

Deadline: April 30 (Early)

CBS Writer's Mentoring Program

In this 6-month mentorship program, writers get to build relationships to further their careers. From CBS:

There are many different paths writers can follow to get their first foothold in being hired in television. As part of its ongoing commitment to create additional access for writers of diverse backgrounds CBS’ Diversity Institute has launched a different kind of writers program which highlights one of those paths. The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.

Deadline: TBA; Typically Opens March 1, Closes May 1

Sundance Screenwriters Lab

The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is more than a five-day screenwriting workshop. It's the gateway for all films chosen to be in the Director's Lab, as well as eligibility to many of the Sundance grants. From the Sundance Institute:

Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.

Deadline: May 2

New Media

The Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance: Shenzhen 2018

Looking for investment in your super cool VR project? Comprised of 47 VR investors who hold investment meetings every two months between San Francisco and  holds their next session in Shenzhen on March 15. From VRCVA:

We invest in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed reality startups of any size from anywhere around the world. We meet six times a year with our base of operations out of Beijing and San Francisco. Our network spans the entire globe, so it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you are doing something game-changing, we want to help you realize your dream. We are not searching for the next technology revolution because it is already here. We are searching for the next entrepreneur to lead it.

Deadline: February 28

VIVE X: VR Accelerator from HTC 

If you're passionate about VR and would like to cultivate your skills and a relationship with HTC Vive, not to mention get some funding and industry connections, consider applying to VIVE X. From Vive:

Our mission is simple: We want to help cultivate, foster and grow the global VR ecosystem by supporting startups and providing them with education, investment and mentorship. Shape the future today by participating in our accelerator programs located in Beijing, San Francisco, Taipei, ShenZhen , Tel Aviv and more locations to come.

Deadline: TBA

NEH Digital Projects for the Public

If you have a humanities-themed project that is intended for distribution on new media, check out this grant from NEH:

Digital platforms—such as websites, mobile applications and tours, interactive touch screens and kiosks, games, and virtual environments—can reach diverse audiences and bring the humanities to life for the American people. The program offers three levels of support for digital projects: grants for Discovery projects (early-stage planning work), Prototyping projects (proof-of-concept development work), and Production projects (end-stage production and distribution work). 

Deadline: June 6

OSVR Developer Fund

Are you a VR content developer who can build on and support the open ecosystem? This $5million fund from Razer could be worth looking in to. From OSVR:

OSVR knows that VR content developers can’t afford to be limited by walled gardens and closed ecosystems. By supporting OSVR, developers can not only remain focused on creating the best VR experience without any limitations, but instantly gain audience as new VR platforms get released. This fund is open to all developers, indie or major, to apply. For every successful applicant, OSVR funding partners will purchase copies of their content in exchange for OSVR integration.

Deadline: Rolling

Merge AR VR Developer Fund

This $1million dollar fund from Merge could get you funding for your project. From Merge:

We’re committed to supporting your vision and want to invest in you! Whether you’re building an educational game, a digital toy, or another innovative AR/VR experience, we want to help make your ideas a reality.

Deadline: Rolling


Positioned as an intimate VR community of no more than 200 creators, Kaleidoscope acceptance could lead to funding from the likes of Oculus and invitations to events like World Tour and the DevLab content accelerator. From Kaleidoscope:

At Kaleidoscope our mission is to give independent VR creators and studios the resources they need to do great work. An invite-only community, Kaleidoscope helps secure financing, distribution and exposure for premium VR content.

Deadline: Rolling 

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation New Media Grants

If you have a film that incorporates all that is cool about science and you have a fiscal sponsor that can accept the award for you (like the Sloan-funded VR film about LIGO) like this New Media grant could be worth exploring. From Sloan:

Program goal: Advance public understanding and engagement with science through the support of innovative projects that use a range of media to reach a broad, cross-cultural audience. Grants support both traditional and web-native media that fall outside the other Public Understanding programs. Supported media types include opera, dance, music, museum exhibits, interactive games, smartphone apps, ebooks, web-native video, conferences, art and science festivals, and other cultural events.

Deadline: Rolling

Useful Links:

Keep an eye on our Grants, Contests & Awards section where we will be sharing new opportunities that come up throughout the season.

Do you know of a grant or other opportunity that's not listed here? Share in the comments!      

Featured image of The Center for Asian American Media grantee 'ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail' by Steve James.

Your Comment

1 Comment

Thanks for this helpful list!
FYI: The Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest is kind of known for being kind of scammy. You might consider looking into this and removing it from this list. (also feel free to delete this if/when you do)

February 27, 2018 at 9:28AM

Jim Picariello