LEF is a private family foundation that funds in New England and California. Through the LEF Moving Image Fund, the New England office supports the creation of new work by documentary filmmakers living in the region, engaging an open application process. LEF California funds projects proactively.

Moving Image Fund

Featured Work


A RECKONING IN BOSTON (83 minutes), directed by James Rutenbeck and produced by Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler, will have its world premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2021. The film follows Carl, James, and Kafi’s experience in a filmmaking project first initiated by James to document Kafi and Carl's participation in a program called the Clemente Course in the Humanities. But over time James is forced to come to terms with a flawed film premise and his own complicity in racist structures that threaten Kafi and Carl's place in the city. The film becomes a reflexive exploration of structural racism that is negotiated and unpacked throughout the process of making the film. Learn more and follow the film at www.areckoninginboston.com.


CITY HALL (240 minutes), directed by Frederick Wiseman, continues its screening and theatrical run this year after its world premiere in September 2020 at the Venice International Film Festival and its broadcast premiere on PBS. The film shows the daily operations of various employees across all levels and parts of Boston city government as they seek to administer services to city residents. Learn more and follow the film at www.zipporah.com 

ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES (73 minutes), directed by Abigail Child, had its world premiere at the 2020 DOC NYC film festival and continues its festival screening run this year. An experimental feature documentary that explores current realities of android development with a focus on human/machine relations, gender & the ethical implications of this research, the film records cutting edge laboratories in Japan & the USA where scientists attempt to make robots move, speak & look human. These scientists & their discoveries are contextualized with cinematic & pop culture references, to underline the mythic, comic & uncanny aspects of our aspirations. Learn more and follow the film at originofthespeciesfilm.com


PHASES OF MATTER (73 minutes), directed by Deniz Tortum, had its world premiere at the 2020 Independent Film Festival Rotterdam and continues its festival run this year. Filmed at the Cerrahpa┼ča teaching hospital in Istanbul where the filmmaker's father is a doctor, PHASES OF MATTER follows the living and inanimate residents of the hospital, moving from the operating room to the morgue, between life and other states, the real and the virtual. Learn more and follow the film at deniztortum.com/phases-of-matter

After its premiere in Fall 2020 at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Southern Documentary Feature, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY (81 minutes) by Jeff Bemiss and Lisa Molomot will continue its festival-run this year and will have its broadcast premiere on the PBS series Independent Lens in Fall 2021. As the national debate over immigration policy simmers to a boil, the film follows the journey of two families who go to Brooks County, Texas to look for their loved ones who have gone missing along the US-Mexico border. Learn more and follow the film at missinginbrookscounty.com

Moving Image Fund

News & Announcements

November 19, 2021: The LEF team is excited to welcome Matthew LaPaglia as our new Program Officer! Learn more about Matthew in the November 2021 LEF newsletter.

August 6, 2021: LEF is excited to announce 12 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $47,500 in Early Development and Pre-production support for New England-based filmmakers.

There are currently no open application calls for the LEF Moving Image Fund. The next deadline will be in January 2022 for feature-length (40+ minute) non-fiction films by New England-based directors/producers seeking Production and Post-production funding. Learn more about the process from our updated guidelines, how to apply, and frequently asked questions. Because the LEF Moving Image Fund has adapted its application from the Documentary Core Application, you might already have a head start on your LEF application if you've submitted a grant proposal to another funder that uses the Core. Learn more on the Core Application website and feel free to reach out to LEF Program Director Gen Carmel if you have questions about the LEF Moving Image Fund application process and requirements.

May 21, 2021: LEF has announced 10 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $190,000 in Production and Post-production support for New England-based filmmakers. 

May 21, 2021: LEF and the Harvard Film Study Center are excited to announce that Khary Saeed Jones has been selected as the 2021-22 recipient of the Film Study Center-LEF Foundation Fellowship with his project “Night Fight”. The FSC-LEF Fellowship, open to Boston-area nonfiction directors who are not currently affiliated with Harvard, aims to foster connections between Harvard filmmakers and those in the surrounding filmmaker community.  One filmmaker per academic year receives a $10,000 grant (jointly funded by FSC and LEF Foundation), access to FSC production and post-production equipment, and the opportunity to participate in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities.  Fellowship applications are accepted in the January round of the LEF Moving Image Fund Production and Post-production grant cycle and the final recipient of the FSC-LEF Fellowship is selected by the Film Study Center. See the full announcement here. 

July 31, 2020: LEF is excited to announce 12 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $50,000 in Early Development and Pre-production support for New England-based filmmakers. 

May 22, 2020: LEF is excited to announce 11 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $205,000 in Production and Post-production support for New England-based filmmakers.

Follow the latest news and updates about upcoming 2021 programming for The DocYard, a screening series and program of LEF New England that has brought new and artful non-fiction cinema and intimate filmmaker conversations to Boston since 2010.

LEF New England Newsletter: Sign up for the LEF New England monthly newsletter in the box below for a more thorough listing of LEF grantee news, COVID-19 resources, filmmaker opportunities, and New England film community events. 

Join Our Email List