Spring Grants List: Where Can Female Filmmakers Find Money?

The spring application season is officially open for arts funders seeking female filmmakers, as shown in this list of grant resources.

As we head closer to a return to normalcy, funding opportunities for the arts are beginning to open back up — which means it’s time for women to take center stage in the film industry. For female filmmakers in particular, grants for documentaries, short films, feature films, and more are beginning to shake off the winter doldrums and prepare for the spring application season: the ideal opportunity to improve female representation in film.

Jamie Babbit (right), director of the film Addicted to Fresno, poses with (from left) Molly Shannon, Judy Greer, and Natasha Lyon at SXSW. Fresno was produced with help from a grant from Gamechangers Films. (Image Credit: Cinelinx)

Here are a selection of funders (presented in alphabetical order) looking for female directors and filmmakers. This is by no means a complete collection. More to add to the list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share this grants list with the female filmmakers in your social circles!

Big Vision Empty Wallet #kickstartdiversity

Big Vision Empty Wallet is a talent incubator for women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to funding opportunities, BVEW offers discount and vendor collaboration programs with streaming services, film distributors, TV networks, and national/international theater release programs. The incubator is currently on hiatus, but BVEW plans to ramp up efforts post-pandemic.

Chicken & Egg: Grants for Female Filmmakers Focused on Social Change

Chicken & Egg Pictures supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. This grant program offers funding of up to $35,000 to first- and second-time filmmakers as well as a collection of awards and mentorship programs tailored specifically for female filmmakers.

Chrest Foundation: “Special Projects”

The Chrest Foundation mainly funds women under its “Culture, Communications, and Civic Life” and “Special Projects” categories. It has given grants to support survivors of gender-based violence, organize women’s film festivals, increase gender diversity in journalism, support women’s shelters and advocacy groups, and more. See all past grantees here.

Creative Visions

Creative Visions is an organization that focuses on using media, the arts, and technology to spread awareness and cultivate social change. Some of their focuses include human rights, gender equality, and climate change, which they support through project grants, programs, and competitions. They call their work “creative activism”. Learn more in the PW Knowledgebase.

Gamechanger Films: Grants for Female Filmmakers

This grantmaker offers funding to female filmmakers focusing on narrative features. The “gamechanger” grants focus on films that break Hollywood stereotypes: no “white saviors,” “Black poverty porn,” “girl who becomes whole when she finds the ‘right’ guy” stories, “burying the queer,” or “ableism” narratives. Learn more about their programs here.

Hedgebrook Screenwriters Lab: Writers in Residency Program

The Writers in Residence (WiR) program is Hedgebrook’s core program, now in its 32nd season. WiR supports fully-funded residencies for women-identified writers at the retreat each year. From July to October of 2021, Hedgebrook cottages will be open to up to 4 local or regional residents (from this region – within driving distance that can safely be completed with no overnight stops, and no air travel). Residents must be willing to adhere to a specific set of health and safety protocols the team has implemented to keep writers, staff, and surrounding communities safer. Applications open soon for the July to October residency — sign up for Hedgebrook’s mailing list for the most up-to-date information!

IRIS Films: Funding and Partnerships for Feminist Films

Iris Films was founded in 1975 by a group of feminist filmmakers to produce and distribute films that creatively address social and cultural issues. The company offers a full suite of the latest production and editing equipment and actively seeks opportunities to partner with individuals and organizations to produce and distribute multimedia content that engages, uplifts and nourishes communities. Learn more about their programs here.

Jane Walker IFW First Women Grant Program

While not technically restricted to film, the grantmaking program sponsored by whiskey-maker Johnnie Walker will support 15 women-owned businesses, including eligibility in the Entertainment & Film industry. Applications are accepted through June 2021, and can be accessed here!

Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant

The Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant is awarded to a US-based female filmmaker “for a film on physical or developmental disability issues”. The grant is made through New York Women in Film and Television and totals $7,500. It is intended to assist in the production of a work-in-progress and can be of any length or genre. Learn more about the grant in the PW Knowledgebase.

Tangerine Entertainment: Production and Community

Tangerine declares itself “a production company and community builder for media by women directors.” It is is a film production company focusing on commercially viable, critically acclaimed stories for all audiences, with an emphasis on female filmmakers and strong roles for women. Tangerine has a clear and specific agenda aimed at increasing the presence of smart, complex women both behind and in front of the camera. While Tangerine does not accept unsolicited submissions, it does offer the annual Juice Award to first- and second-time female filmmakers. Learn more about it here.

Women in the Arts and Media Coalition: Resource-Based

“The Women in the Arts and Media Coalition is a centralized resource for professional women in the performing arts and media industries.” It offers networking, support, and extensive funding resources. Individuals can view their extensive resource/funding glossary. They also includes monthly submission opportunities for women in theatre & film/video, and list COVID emergency resources. Learn more about the Coalition in our Knowledgebase.

Women in Film: Mentorship Programs and Grants

Women in Film (WIF) advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries—to achieve parity and transform culture. Grant opportunities like the Film Finishing Fund, Production Program, and the Sundance Institute Financing Intensive offer funding opportunities for female filmmakers. Applications are rolling depending on the awards and production series, but their mentorship programs are excellent for female filmmakers and producers.

Women Make Movies: Production Assistance Program and Fiscal Sponsorship

The Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program was established in 1988 to develop and support women producing independent media. The Program fulfills this mission by offering support services including fiscal sponsorship, individualized consultations, workshops, networking and more. While fiscal sponsorship is a component of the program, unlike other sponsoring organizations, we also provide a suite of support services such as tailored consultations, discounts to our workshops and webinars with leading industry professionals, and other essential resources. Submissions are taken on a rolling basis.

Voices with Impact Film Grants

Facilitated by Art With Impact, these film grants provide support for films about Mental health, “culture of masculinity”, and LGBTQ issues. Learn more in the PW Knowledgebase.


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Author: Maggie May

Maggie May is a small business owner, author, and story-centric content strategist headquartered in Annapolis, MD and Philadelphia, PA. She has a passion for finding stories and telling them the way they're meant to be told.

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