Guidelines

LEF invests in documentary film and video projects that demonstrate excellence in technique, originality of vision and voice, and creativity in form. The strongest proposals will be those that clearly articulate the ways in which the proposed project aligns with the program’s funding criteria.

Funding Criteria

  • Quality of cinematic form and technique
  • Originality of filmmaker’s voice, vision, and point of view
  • Resonance and power of the film’s core idea or story
  • Feasibility of production

Eligibility

  • Projects must be long format; running times of 40 minutes or more.
  • Primary creative personnel (director and/or producer) must reside in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont).
  • Students enrolled in degree-granting programs may not apply.
  • Multi-channel or installation work will not be considered.
  • LEF no longer requires you to have a confirmed fiscal sponsor at the time that you submit a letter of inquiry or application. However, if you are awarded a grant, you must have a confirmed 501c3 fiscal sponsor in place in order to receive any grant funding. (Find more details about locating a fiscal sponsor on our FAQ page, and reach out to us if you have other questions.)
  • For prior grantees, a final report on previous LEF grant funding is required. Previous LEF grantees, please click here for important eligibility information

Pre-Production Funding

A maximum of (6) grants of $5,000 will be awarded to projects in the Pre-production phase of development at one June deadline each year. Please click here for more information on how to apply.

Appropriate Use of Funds: Pre-production funds may be used for research, travel, location scouting, script or storyboard development, experimentation with shooting picture and sound, distribution planning, fundraising, creating a trailer, and schedule and budget development.

(NEW) Early Development Funding

A maximum of (6) grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to projects in the Early Development phase. This new opportunity will share the same June deadline as LEF’s Pre-production grant deadline. Please click here for more information on how to apply.    

Appropriate Use of Funds: Early Development funds may be used for research, travel, location scouting, script or storyboard development, experimentation with shooting picture and sound,  distribution planning, fundraising, creating a trailer, and schedule and budget development.  

Production Funding

A maximum of (6) grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Production phase during LEF’s major grants review. There is one January Deadline for Letters of Inquiry each year. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Appropriate Use of Funds: Production funds may be used for shooting picture and sound, early stage editing, equipment costs, materials, travel, and staffing (creative, technical, or otherwise).

Post-Production Funding

A maximum of (4) grants of $25,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Post-production phase during LEF’s major grants review. In order to be eligible for Post-production support, the project for which you are applying must have received previous LEF support. There is one January deadline for Letters of Inquiry each year. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Appropriate Use of Funds: Post-production funds may be used for editing costs, rights, online, sound mix, color correction, transfers and distribution strategy.

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