The SFFILM Environmental Fellowship supports documentary filmmakers telling powerful stories about the environment and/or conservation. The fellowship includes a $25,000 grant, an advisor with expertise in the specific environmental topic being explored, and access to SFFILM’s dynamic suite of artist development services, including an educational lesson plan. The fellow will also travel to San Francisco and Seattle to partake in workshops and activities that address filmmaking, the environment, and entertainment industry connections.
SFFILM has partnered with Vulcan Productions to create this fellowship, based on the shared belief 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. This fellowship will support a feature documentary project in development or early production that addresses pressing environmental or conservation issues through strong, creative storytelling that is both unique and appealing to a large audience.
About Vulcan Productions
Vulcan Productions is dedicated to the power of storytelling, producing content and large-scale campaigns that entertain, inspire and change the way people understand the world’s toughest challenges. Vulcan Productions’ films, television series and digital content spark ideas and turn action into measurable impact. Founded by Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen, the company creates content across all platforms, and spotlights Mr. Allen’s work in biodiversity, science, climate, oceans, education, technology, current social issues, history and the arts. Award-winning projects include Sundance Special Jury Award-winner STEP, The Ivory Game, Unseen Enemy, Racing Extinction, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12, Mind of a Giant, We the Economy, We the Voters, Ocean Warriors, #ISurvivedEbola, Girl Rising and The Blues. Upcoming projects include Ghost Fleet. For information on Vulcan Productions and our leadership in generating change through impact storytelling, visit vulcanproductions.com.
- Filmmaker may not be an SFFILM or Vulcan Productions employee or Board Member .
- Filmmaker must be at least 18 years old .
- This fellowship is open to filmmakers internationally who are able to visit San Francisco and Seattle on dates agreed to by all parties.
- Applicants must be actively engaged in either the development phase or early production.
- Applicants must be the director or producer of the film.
- Filmmaker, or any other applicant or co-applicant must become a SFFILM member at the Film Pro level or above prior to SFFILM releasing funds related to the fellowship.
- Project must be a documentary addressing pressing issues of the environment or conservation. Stories may take place in any country.
- Project must be in alignment with the SFFILM mission and represent an imaginative contribution to film.
- The project must be a feature-length documentary film.
- Project must not be work for hire.
- Project must not be a narrative or short film.
- Project is thought-provoking, vibrant, intelligent, original and moving.
- Project has strong and recognizable story related to climate change and/or conservation at the center of the film.
- If the project is fully funded and/or has distribution, it is NOT eligible.
- Applicant clearly articulates their intended goals for the fellowship, how those accomplishments will be measured, and their next steps for the project.
- Applicant directly answers all questions on the application and does not go over the word count.
- Funds may be spent on development, pre-production or early production phases.
- Project budgets shall be $3 Million or under, including all phases of production.
- Fellow agrees to submit progress reports detailing how the funds were spent, and a new work sample. The first report will be due three months into the fellowship period. The second report will be due six months into the fellowship period.
- If a fellow is unable to complete any of the requirements stated in their contract or in submitted application they must inform SFFILM in writing immediately. Please Note: It is possible that if a fellow becomes unable to adhere to the requirements of the grant, the money may not be awarded or could be returned to SFFILM
- The fellow agrees to travel to San Francisco to receive support through the FilmHouse Residency program.
While in the Bay Area, the fellow will meet with members of the local and visiting industry and form connections with the Bay Area filmmaking community.
The Fellow agrees to travel to Seattle to meet with Vulcan Productions and enrich their work through a series of workshops addressing filmmaking and the environment.
- Applicant will sign an agreement with SFFILM
- Applicant understands there will be a press release announcing the SFFILM Vulcan Productions Fellow. Unless otherwise specified for confidentiality reasons, the submitted bios and loglines from the application will be used in those press releases.
- Upon completion, a copy of the film will be made available to SFFILM.
- Filmmaker shall provide acknowledgement to the SFFILM Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship in the credits. If the grant represents up to 25% of the project budget, the SFFILM/Vulcan Productions Fellowship is to be listed with other comparable funders/grants, with language that mirrors or is similar to “Made with support from SFFILM and Vulcan Productions”—onscreen in end titles and in marketing materials tied to other grants/funders. If the grant represents between over 25% of the project budget, the SFFILM/Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship will receive an “in association with” credit—onscreen in main titles or end titles, and in marketing materials tied to other “in association with” credits. Logos will be provided by SFFILM.
- Fellows agree to offer SFFILM a “first look” and first right of refusal for the potential Bay Area premiere only at SFFILM Festival and/or other SFFILM exhibition venues. Please note: that while we encourage supported filmmakers to submit applications to the SFFILM Festival and other SFFILM Makers programs, winning a grant, residency, or fellowship from SFFILM does not guarantee acceptance into the SFFILM Festival or other SFFILM Makers programs.