Government Grants for Filmmakers

By Stephen Hicks
Find the money you need

Public funding for filmmakers (and others in the arts) has seen better days than today, but don't lose hope. It may be a bit more challenging to find the necessary funds than it was in the past, but they are still available if you know where to look. Federal and state agencies exist to provide money for this purpose, and many non-profit and private institutions exist as well. There can never be an all-inclusive list of available grants because they keep changing all the time. Please see the Resources section for an extensive list of state, private and non-profit agencies which offer grant money for various purposes.

Film, Media and New Technology Production

This grant is offered annually in the state of New York. To qualify, an artist must be sponsored by a qualifying non-profit organization registered in that state. There is no specific limitation on the type of project which will be considered for funding, though priority is often given to projects "that emphasize the collaborative process and whose goal is to produce a distinctive work resulting from the meeting of disciplines." The registration and application deadlines have passed for 2010; the next registration deadline will be January 2011, with the corresponding application deadline the following April. Grants are awarded in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

New York State Council on the Arts 175 Varick St. New York, NY 10014-4604 212-627-4455 nysca.org

MEDIA ARTS: Access To Artistic Excellence

The federally funded National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offers some grants for filmmakers regardless of the state in which they live. The Access to Artistic Excellence Award has the purpose of promoting excellence within the field of visual media (including film), and broadening access of this media in communities throughout the country. The NEA has a specific registration and application process which is detailed on their website. The deadline for this award is August 12, 2010, with an earliest funding date set for June 1, 2011.

Mary Smith (Media Arts Specialist) 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Washington, DC 20506 202-682-5742 nea.gov

All Roads Seed Grant Program And Film Project

One award offered through the state of California is National Geographic's All Roads Seed Grant Program and Film Project. This grant is awarded four times annually and is designed to fund film projects by and about "indigenous and underrepresented minority-culture filmmakers." Application deadlines are the 15th of the months of March, June, September and December.

California Arts Council 1300 I St., Suite 930 Sacramento, CA 95814 916-322-6555 800-201-6201 cac.ca.gov

About the Author

Stephen Hicks has been writing professionally since 2000. He recently published his first novel, "The Seventh Day of Christmas." He spent three years as a licensed life and property/casualty insurance agent in California. Hicks holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in cinema studies from New York University.