Finding filmmaking grants for non-commercial film project can be difficult. Competition for certain grants and other types of funding can be fierce. Here in this post, we’re going to explain where to look for grants and give you some pointers on how to secure this type of funding.
What are Filmmaking Grants?
There are many organizations in the world that want to see certain types of movies get made. Usually, this means making documentary-style films that bring an issue into the spotlight that a particular organization aligns with. You will find grants for issues pertaining to social justice, the environment, culture, along with many other things.
An organization, like Filmmakers Without Borders for example, publicly posts an award for a certain type of film to be made and starts accepting proposals. The applications must meet the criteria laid out by the organization to be considered for the award. Once a winner, or group of winners, is chosen then the money is awarded, and the film project can begin.
The Benefits of Using Filmmaking Grants
Using grants to fund a film can be a great thing. The best part about a grant is that you can get all the money you need for your film in one place. If you land the right grant, you don’t have to worry about securing tons of different sources of funding.
While the grant writing process can be time intensive, it is also rewarding in more ways than financially. If your project wins a grant from a reputable organization, then it gives a certain level of legitimacy to what you’re doing. Asking for an interview after you have received funding from a big name organization vastly increases your chances of getting to talk to that person.
Securing Your First Grant
If you have never gotten a film grant before then, it might seem like an impossible task, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not. While it’s true that many film grants are very competitive, you can start small and work your way up.
Unfortunately, first-time filmmakers are going to have a tougher time securing a film grant than more established filmmakers. Organizations who are providing grants usually feel more comfortable giving money to somebody who knows what they are doing and has a proven track record. Some grants do exist specifically for first time filmmakers like the one from Panavision, but the funds available will not be as large.
One thing you can do to help your chances is to build a portfolio of your work that you can share along with your application. You want to be able to demonstrate that you can accomplish the project that you are getting the grant for.
Beyond a portfolio, you need to be able to express yourself and your idea well which is why you should consider taking a grant writing course before applying. Learning how to professionally write a grant will allow you to hit the right points that organizations want to hear and position you to get funded.
Where to Find Filmmaking Grants
The first thing you have to consider when applying for a grant is the deadline. Different grants will have different kinds of deadlines. Usually, grant season starts to ramp up in the winter, but there are many grants that have “rolling deadlines” meaning that they are available year round.
The best way to look for grants is to start with the type of film that you’re making. If you want to make a nature documentary, then start looking for non-profit organizations who support environmental conservation. While not all of the organizations you find will have grants specific to film, it still might be worth it to contact them about what you’re doing.
When you separate yourself from the idea that you’re looking for a grant and focus on the fact that you’re really looking to get your movie made, then many more avenues for funds will start to become clear.
The next thing you need to do is start applying for grants! There are of course some major players in the filmmaking world that you can look to as well. Filmdaily.tv is a really helpful resource for finding filmmaking grants of all kinds. You’re best bet is to pick a handful of these types of grants and apply to all of them simultaneously. As long as your project meets their criteria, you won’t have to worry about landing more than one.
A big part of winning a film grant is persistence. You should expect to be rejected more than accepted, but don’t let this discourage you. The road to getting funding is often difficult, so keep your chin up and keep moving forward.
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