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Film and Creative Media Grants

Fledgling has one open application cycle per year for film and creative media projects. Most of these grants support outreach and audience engagement for social issue documentaries and range from smaller planning grants to implementation grants for projects that have a clear plan ready to launch. A small number of these grants support post-production for timely projects that have strong social change potential. All of these grants typically range from $5K to $30K. To understand how we think about outreach and audience engagement, please review our Resources.


What Criteria Do We Consider?

    • Strength of the Film. Do we find it compelling? Does it tell an important and timely story? Does it add a unique perspective or new information? Do we connect with the characters? Does the story inspire us? Motivate us to act? Review our funded projects to better understand what we look for.
    • Stage of Project. Can we see enough of the film to understand how the story develops and whether it can carry the project’s goals? Do we understand how it likely will be distributed? Typically projects are at least at the rough cut stage. Given our focus on outreach and audience engagement, we rarely consider projects that are still in development or early production.
    • Needs of the Movement. Who will use this film? Does the project have partnerships with nonprofits/activists in place or plans to develop them? How will it advance their work?
    • Strength of the Proposal. Does the proposal demonstrate a commitment to social change? Do we see that the campaign is at least in development? Do we have a good sense of possible target audiences and how the film can activate them? Review our resources page to better understand how we think about activating audiences.
    • Issue Area. Does the project focus on at least one of our priority issue areas? Visit our films page for more information on our current focus areas.


What Does the Process Look Like?

    • Submit a Letter of Inquiry. You may do this during our open call. This provides an opportunity for you to introduce us to your project and goals.
    • Fledgling Reviews all Letters of Inquiry. We look at the goals, your funding needs and the strength of the letter of inquiry.
    • Fledgling Invites Full Applications. We invite full applications for those projects that, at least on paper, meet our criteria.
    • Submit a Full Application. At this stage, invited projects expand on the letter of inquiry and submit a complete budget and the latest cut of the film.
    • Fledgling Reviews all Applications and Media. We look at the strength of the complete application, its fit with our criteria and how it compares to other projects under consideration.
    • Fledgling Notifies Applicants. We notify applicants about our decisions as they are made. All applicants will be notified by the close of the cycle.


Who Can Apply?

The open application cycle is for projects that have not previously received support from Fledgling. We welcome applicants and projects from both inside and outside of the United States. However, before receiving a grant, all applicants must have a fiscal sponsor based in the United States. This does not need to be in place for you to submit the letter of inquiry or the application but it must be in place for the funds to be disbursed.Note: We consider requests from existing grantees outside of this open cycle. If you are an existing Fledgling grantee, please contact us to discuss re-application.


What if My Project Has Received Fledgling Support in the Past?

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you! In fact, in some cases we will provide additional support for existing grantees when we think it will help to extend and deepen the impact of that project. These grants are highly competitive and we have a separate process for requesting that support. We look at how additional support will lead to greater engagement or help you document and communicate the impact you have already achieved.If your project has received support from Fledgling in the past and you wish to request additional support, shoot us an email and we will discuss next steps.


Field Building Grants

In addition to film and creative media grants, we provide a limited number of field building grants focused on supporting the capacity of the social issue documentary field. They range from support for programs and conferences that strengthen outreach and audience engagement skills to film festivals and other events that showcase social issue documentaries as tools for change.

We consider how a project might advance the social issue documentary field. Does it fill a need or test a new idea for audience engagement? What unique value does the project add? How does it compare to similar projects? We also look at the potential of the program or event to bring together different stakeholders to brainstorm, network and share their knowledge.

Field building grants are considered on a rolling basis and are BY INVITATION ONLY.



Application Cycle Closed






Application Deadlines



  • June 16, 2014:
    Funding Cycle Opens Online
  • July 15, 2014
    midnight EST
    :
    Deadline for Initial Letter of Inquiry
  • August 22, 2014:
    Applicants Notified as to Status of Letter of Inquiry
  • September 18, 2014:
    Materials Due From Applicants
  • December 12, 2014:
    Applicants Notified as to Outcome of Complete Application
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