SFFILM is proud to have partnered with a number of notable foundations and partners over the years to create grant programs that directly fund and support films in various stages of production. Read below to learn more about our previous grant programs and check out the Supported Projects page for information on the many films and filmmakers that are part of the SFFILM Makers community.
Catapult Documentary Fellowship
SFFILM and the Catapult Film Fund supported filmmakers in the early stages of development on compelling, story-driven, feature-length documentary films. The fellowship was geared towards emerging filmmakers who have directed short films previously and for whom this is their first feature, or filmmakers who have directed one or two features already.
Awards were made once a year to three films. In addition to a $10,000 grant, fellows received mentorship by industry professionals whose work or artistic approach aligned 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. This fellowship allowed filmmakers to create a strong fundraising trailer and core application with which they used to bring on additional key team members, partners, and funders.
New American Fellowship
Through the SFFILM New American Fellowship, created in partnership with the Flora Family Foundation, SFFILM offers six-month fellowships to narrative or documentary filmmakers who have arrived in the United States within the past ten years as either an immigrant or a non-immigrant. The fellowship is open to both directors and producers working on at least one active project.
SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant
The Hearst Screenwriting Grant awarded $15,000 annually to a screenwriter who had been practicing for at least five years and who had previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay. The grant was open to writers residing in the United States whose project expressed both a unique personal perspective and an artistic approach to the subject. Priority was given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have successfully been produced into finished films.
Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship
The SFFILM Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowship supported documentary filmmakers telling powerful stories about the environment and/or conservation. The fellowship, originally launched in 2018, included 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 also traveled to San Francisco and Vulcan Production’s headquarters in Seattle to partake in workshops and activities that address filmmaking, the environment, and entertainment industry connections.
The SFFILM Westridge Grant supported US-based, independent narrative feature films in the screenwriting phase. Grants were awarded twice annually to projects that address social issues and pressing questions of our time through creative and original storytelling. The SFFILM Westridge Grant was open to US-based filmmakers whose stories take place in the United States.
A total of $200,000 was granted annually through this program, with four or five $20,000–$25,000 grants awarded each spring and fall. In addition to financial support, grantees received a range of benefits through SFFILM’s comprehensive and dynamic artist development programs, as well as support and feedback from SFFILM and Westridge Foundation staff.
Women, Peace, and Security
SFFILM was awarded a grant from the Compton Foundation to launch the Women, Peace, and Security Fellowship, open to both documentary and narrative filmmakers who were telling stories of women’s efforts to end conflict and advance peace. Two $25,000 grants were allocated through consecutive fellowships in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018.
Created with the goal of inspiring filmmakers to tell stories of courageous women leaders, generate conversation across public audiences, and encourage policymakers to invest in women as essential actors in effective peace-building and violence prevention, the Women, Peace, and Security Fellowship supported a filmmaker dedicated to elevating women’s efforts to end conflict and advance peace. In addition to financial support, SFFILM provided fellows with connections to advisors with expertise in the subject matter of their film, networking opportunities, and active support from SFFILM staff and from mentors within the Bay Area creative community.