Workshop for Grant Seekers

Last week LEF took part in a workshop for media grant seekers at New England Foundation for the Arts in downtown Boston. Dan Blask from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MassHumanities’ Hayley Wood and LEF’s Sara Archambault were there to talk about what funding is available for film- and video-makers, demystifying the grant application process and fielding questions from potential grant recipients .

Here are my notes from the workshop (thanks to NEFA for hosting us!)

Mass Cultural Council has artists’ fellowships available to film/video makers living in Massachusetts (must have been a legal resident for the last two years at the time of application) Fellows receive $7,500 and  on the basis of “artistic quality and creative ability as evidenced by original work submitted.” (finalists receive $500) The jury is anonymous, but the MCC draws from people with a range of perspectives and areas of expertise. They list past fellows on their website and it’s an impressive list of filmmakers. Also check out the ArtSake Blog (

Dan emphasized that it’s a very simple online application – don’t be daunted by the fast-approaching deadline: January 30, 2012

Apply :

MassHumanities funds films with a strong humanities relevancy.

To apply for a grant, the project needs a fiscal sponsor (they don’t fund individuals). The filmmakers do not need to be Massachusetts residents, but stories with a direct relevancy to the people of Massachusetts take priority!

The application process is a little more complex than the MCC’s, and it’s an online process, but Hayley wanted to let filmmakers know that staff members are very responsive and helpful throughout the application process – contact them with questions. Look on their website under “Project Grants” (

MassHumanities chooses a broad thematic focus that changes periodically, so proposals should fit this theme in some way – right now the theme is : Crisis, Community and Civic Culture. (There’s a more full explanation of the theme on their website). MassHumanities can also match filmmakers with humanities scholars with expertise in the film’s subject for consulting and interviews.

There  are 3 kinds of project grants available to filmmakers:

Pre-production (maximum award: $10,000) (May and November deadlines). This award can fund research and the production of a 5-10 minute fundraising trailer. The application requires a script for the finished film, and feasibility (including a plan for later outreach and distribution) is a factor in the decision-making process

Social Media and Outreach (maximum award: $10,000) (May and November deadlines) This award is to help films reach their widest audiences and to make the desired social impact.

Distribution (May, February, November deadlines)

Check out the Valley Advocate, a MassHumanities-run blog (

LEF New England’s guidelines and how to apply can be found right here on this website – LOIs for Production and Post-Production funding are due this Friday, January 27 at 5pm! Call the LEF New England Office at 617.492.5333 with any last-minute questions or email or

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