The current political climate has driven home the importance of raising up voices and stories that inform and engage. As we look at the big issues on the table in the coming years – immigration, racial justice, gender equality, health care, criminal justice and climate change, to name just a few — we believe it is critical that there be a vibrant public debate grounded in an understanding of the myriad ways these issues affect individuals, families and communities.
Non-fiction visual stories bring together diverse communities, and sometimes unlikely allies, to engage in real dialogue and action. These stories are more urgent than ever and we believe that they need to be deployed quickly, in a range of formats, to help amplify the work of individual leaders, nonprofits and movements. We know filmmakers and other media makers have creative ideas about how to do this (and sometimes have footage that can be repurposed), but often lack the financial resources to implement them quickly.
To that end, Fledgling’s Special Fund for Rapid Story Deployment provides grants ranging from $2,500-$10,000 to support short non-fiction films and/or other visual stories that can be completed and distributed quickly. Priority will be given to projects that have a plan to distribute the work in ways that deepen the debate around our most critical social issues. We are open to funding at all stages (production, post-production, distribution and outreach) but will give priority to projects and that are well positioned to make an impact quickly.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and must be submitted via our online application system. We are committed to an expedited review process and will notify applicants of proposal’s status within two weeks. Unfortunately, due to volume, we are unable to provide feedback on declined applications.
THE STORY We are looking for short-form (typically less than ten minutes, though the story should drive the length), non-fiction, compelling, authentic, and timely stories that are character driven and/or add a new perspective to or new information about a critical social issue. We are seeking projects that have unique power to inspire, educate and mobilize diverse and sometimes overlooked audiences.
ISSUE AREA Priority will be given to projects that respond in real-time to U.S. social and political changes that affect vulnerable populations in the U.S. and abroad.
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION We are seeking projects that can be quickly deployed and are looking for thoughtful, ambitious and achievable ideas about using the content. Having nonprofit partnerships in place, unique plans to build viewership and timely calls to action will help a project stand out.
BUDGET AND TIMELINE We will give priority to projects that can be completed and distributed within weeks or months and can be deployed to influence the political and social conversation. We will consider the overall budget and prioritize projects where our funding can play a key role in getting the project to the finish line.
TEAM We will prioritize projects led by experienced teams with a track record of producing high-quality documentary films and other media and who are capable of repurposing existing footage and/or producing new material to be completed and distributed quickly.
We welcome applications from individual filmmakers, media makers and/or from nonprofit organizations working in partnership with media makers. Student projects are not eligible. Before receiving a grant, all applicants must have a 501c3 fiscal sponsor based in the United States. This does NOT need to be in place for you to submit the application, but it must be in place for the funds to be disbursed.