Regular Deadline: Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm (PST)
Final Deadline: Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm (PST)
Application fee is $25 through the regular deadline; $45 through the late deadline. Fees are waived for SFFILM members. All applicants will be notified of their status by email within approximately three months from the final deadline.
The SFFILM Westridge Grant is a fund that supports US-based, independent narrative feature films in the screenwriting phase. Grants are awarded twice annually to projects that address social issues and pressing questions of our time through creative and original storytelling. The SFFILM Westridge Grant is open to US-based filmmakers whose stories take place in the United States.
A total of $200,000 will be granted annually through this program, with four or five $20,000–$25,000 grants awarded in each spring and fall. In addition to financial support, grantees receive 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.
Current SFFILM Westridge Grants are as follows:
- Screenwriting Grants: Grants to filmmakers in the screenwriting phase range between $20,000 and $25,000, and are awarded to writers or writer/directors who have at least one draft of their screenplay completed. The expectation is that, at the end of the six-month grant period, screenwriting grantees will have a final or nearly-final draft of their script completed.
The Westridge Foundation seeks to support individuals, organizations, institutions, and programs dedicated to promoting community and/or national social good.
- Applicant may not be a SFFILM or Westridge employee or member of any SFFILM or Westridge Board.
- Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
- Applicants with projects in the screenwriting phase must be the writer or writer/director on their project. If there is a co-writer, director who is not a writer, or producer attached to the project, they must be the co-applicant(s).
- All grant recipients and co-applicants must become SFFILM members at the Film Fan level or above prior to SFFILM distributing funds to the project.
- Project must explore current social issues through plot, character, theme, and/or setting.
- Project must not be a documentary, short film, or series.
- Project must not be work for hire
- Project must be aligned with the SFFILM mission and represent an imaginative contribution to film.
- If the project is fully funded and/or has secured distribution, it is NOT eligible.
- The majority of the project, at least 90%, is set and filmed in the United States
- Project is thought-provoking, vibrant, intelligent, original and moving.
- Project has strong and recognizable social value, contributing, for example, to a greater public understanding of a disenfranchised group; identifying an area where social change is needed; and/or bringing to light a complex and/or inspirational story, condition or issue.
- Applicant clearly articulates their intended goals for the grant, how those accomplishments will be measured, and their next steps for the project.
- Applicant demonstrates how the project will impact their ability to achieve their short- and long-term professional and artistic goals.
- Applicant directly answers all questions on the application and does not go over the word count. Applications that go over the word count will be considered ineligible.
- All grant funds are to be used solely for the purpose of supporting the project. Spending must be consistent with the budget submitted to SFFILM, with updates to the budget submitted as needed.
- Project budgets shall be $3,000,000 or under, including all phases of production.
- If the grant represents 25% or more of the project budget, credit will be above-the-line.
- Grant recipients agree to offer SFFILM a “first look” and first right of refusal—only for the Bay Area premiere—at SFFILM Festival and/or other SFFILM exhibition venues.
- While we encourage grantees to apply to the SFFILM Festival, and other SFFILM Makers grant, fellowship and residency programs, winning a Westridge grant does not guarantee acceptance into any of the aforementioned programs.
- Grantee 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 grant period. The second report will be due six months into the grant period.
- Grantees who do not fulfill the grant requirements must notify SFFILM in writing. Failure to meet these requirements might result in a nullification of funds awarded or funds may need to be returned if already dispersed.
- Upon completion, a copy of the film will be made available to SFFILM.
- Filmmaker shall provide acknowledgement to the SFFILM Westridge Grant. If the grant represents up to 25% of the project budget, the SFFILM Westridge Grant is to be listed with other comparable funders/grants, with language that mirrors or is similar to “Made with support from the SFFILM Westridge Grant” – onscreen in end titles and in marketing materials tied to other grants/funders. If the grant represents between 25% and 50% of the project budget, the SFFILM Westridge Grant 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. If the grant represents 50% or more of the project budget, the SFFILM Westridge Grant will receive a “SFFILM Westridge Grant presents” credit – onscreen in main titles or end titles and in all marketing materials. If a project is supported multiple times by SFFILM and/or Westridge, the budget percentage threshold may change for where the SFFILM and Westridge logos appear in the end credits.
- Applicant understands there will be a press release each cycle announcing SFFILM Westridge grantees. Unless otherwise specified during the approval process, the submitted bios and logline will be used in those press releases.
- Grantees are asked to support SFFILM Westridge marketing efforts by completing a questionnaire and providing links to trailers and/or reviews of their films.
- Filmmakers can apply with each project a total of two times to the Westridge Grant. If reapplying, significant process should be made since your last application.
- Applicant may apply to the Westridge Grant and other SFFILM grants simultaneously.
- Projects and applicants may reapply for additional funding during subsequent application cycles.
If you are unsure if you meet the requirements or have any questions regarding what phase you are in, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Apply
To begin the application process, navigate to the “Apply Now” page to review the required items for submission. If you have not yet created an account for the SFFILM Grant Platform, please do so (please note: this is separate from your SFFILM member account).
Prepare your answers ahead of time in a separate document before submitting in case there are any problems with your submission. Leave time for technical issues, please do not wait until the last minute to submit your application.
If you are a member of SFFILM, your application fee is waived. If you are not a member of SFFILM, there is an application fee that must be paid in order for your submission to be considered. To pay the application fee, enter your credit card information at the end of the application after you hit “submit.” Email email@example.com if you have any technical questions.
The application form includes the following elements (subject to change):
- Logline. In two to three sentences, please provide a summary of your story. (75 words or less)
- Bio. Provide a brief bio of the primary applicant (200 words or less)
- Project synopsis. What is the structure of your story? Provide a summary of your primary characters and the narrative arc of your film. (300 words or less)
- Describe how your film, through plot, character, theme or setting, explores a social issue or pressing question of our time. (150 words or less)
- Describe your artistic vision and stylistic approach. How will your film look and feel? (150 words or less)
- What made you want to tell this story and why is now the right time for you to tell it? (300 words or less)
- List the names and roles of the other key individuals involved in your project (up to five). Briefly describe their qualifications. These individuals could be producers, directors of photography, editors, actors or other key cast and crew. Include the date they became attached to the project. (300 words or less)
Additional application materials are required as follows:
- Current script sample: Ten pages of the script you are applying with. The ten pages do not need to be the first ten pages, and do not need to be ten consecutive pages. Please select what you believe to be the best ten pages. Please include a page introducing the script pages that provides any necessary context.
- You are welcome to submit a 5-10-minute visual sample however, we can’t guarantee that review committee members will view the sample or view it in its entirety.
Approximately ten applicants will be chosen as finalists. The following materials will be required for further consideration before the winners are selected. Finalists will have approximately three weeks to submit these items:
- A one-page writer or writer/director statement. This should provide insight into who you are, why you are the person to tell this story, and your process.
- A three to five page treatment. This should give us a clear sense of the beginning, middle and end of the story.
- Current Script Sample. A minimum of ten pages of the script you are applying for. The ten pages do not need to be the first ten pages. Please select what you believe to be the best ten pages. You are also welcome to submit your full screenplay, however, we can’t guarantee we will read it in its entirety.
- Current Script Sample Explanation. A one-page explanation that orients us as to where we are in the story in the submitted script sample.
- Previous Script Sample. A minimum of ten pages of a previous screenplay. The ten pages do not need to be the first ten pages. Please select what you believe to be the best ten pages. If you do not have a previous screenplay, you can submit a visual sample, with an online link in an attached document alongside an explanation of the visual sample.
- Previous Script Sample Explanation: A one-page explanation that orients us as to where we are in the story in the submitted script sample.
As of Fall 2019, Westridge supports films in the screenwriting stage that have at least one draft completed and that do not plan to start shooting within a year of the application deadline. Filmmakers should be committed to deepening the work on their screenplays and having a screenwriting mentor.
The SFFILM Westridge grant is open to applicants internationally whose stories take place in the United States. There is no required residency period or mandatory travel to the Bay Area.
Generally, five projects receive a grant during two cycles each year for a total of 10 projects annually. Each grant awarded is for $20,000.
Yes, the budget must be below $3 million.
For this screenwriting grant, the funds are awarded to the writer or writer/director and can be used for cost of living expenses and childcare while the filmmaker works on the project. Filmmakers have also used the funds for research trips, consultants, developing materials, and table reads, but the general expectation is that these funds can help offset some of the need to take on other freelance work or side projects to supplement their income and allow filmmakers time to solely focus on their scripts.
All applicants will be notified of their status through the SFFILM grant platform within four months of the final deadline.
For any and all questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.