True Productions + SIFF Documentary Filmmaking Grant

For the second consecutive year, SIFF and True Productions have partnered to underwrite two $50,000 documentary grants for filmmakers. The sole purpose of the grants is to invest in the filmmaking community, the filmmaking process, and - most of all - the art of true storytelling through the lens.

The 2017 grants will focus on two themes that are very timely and important in our society today:

The first grant, provided by the Clark Family Legacy Foundation, will focus on the very real and relevant theme of heroin/opioid use in youth. With ever-increasing numbers of youth experimenting with, and becoming addicted to, heroin/opioids, this topic touches everyone. The focus of the film can be on any part of this problem: the user, the family, the system, the community, crime, etc.

The second grant, provided by Áegis Living, will focus on immigration, which is a defining challenge in the world today. This focus is very open-ended, and can look at any theme around immigration.

Both grants will be adjudicated separately, and the winning project in each grant topic will be awarded $50,000. The selected grantee must submit the completed film for consideration to the Seattle International Film Festival or SIFF Cinema for its world premiere screening. Although SIFF retains the right of first refusal in terms of where the film may make its premiere, SIFF will work with the grantee to create a festival and exhibition strategy that provides the most advantageous exposure to the film and filmmaking team.

In 2015, two $50,000 filmmaking grants were awarded to films that handled the complex topic of aging. Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday's film BIG SONIA, an absorbing film about Holocaust survivor and 90-year-old Kansas City tailor-shop owner Sonia Warshawski, and Kate Dandel's film GOLD BALLS,which profiles several competitive athletes over age 80 as they pursue a National Championship title in tennis.


Grant is open to filmmakers that satisfy the following criteria:
• Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
• Documentary must be a minimum length of 50 minutes.
• Applicant must be in a key creative role for the film: ideally, the producer or director.
• In each grant, the topic of either heroin/opioid use by youth - OR - immigration must be used for the theme of the documentary.

Evaluation Criteria

• Project reflects excellence in storytelling and visual style.
• Filmmaker clearly articulates the intended theme and goal for the grant.
• Filmmaker demonstrates how the grant will impact short- and long-term professional and artistic goals.


• Filmmaker may not be SIFF employee, SIFF board member, or a True Productions representative.
• Filmmaker may not be a full-time student.
• Project cannot be a work for hire.
• Only one application per project will be accepted.

How to Apply

• Application cycle opens September 30, 2016.
• Applicant must fill out application and submit by November 15, 2016.
· Once the application process opens, filmmakers can submit within a one-month period. 

Application Process

Applications, details and instructions will be provided on the SIFF website when the application cycle opens.
Sample of a few of the questions you will find in the online application:
• Bio (200 words or less).
• Logline. In a couple of sentences, please describe the crux of your film (75 words or less).
• Project synopsis (300 words or less).
• Trailer or other work sample (we will watch no more than 5 minutes of submitted footage).
• Proposed specific use of the grant (150 words or less).
• How will you measure the success of this project (150 words or less)?
• To date, what support have you received for this project? List all sources such as awards, residencies, grants, donations, investments, and in-kind (150 words or less).
• Describe the anticipated impact of the requested grant award on your short and long term professional and artistic goals (150 words or less).
• List the names and roles and other key (2-3) individuals involved in the project. Please briefly describe their qualifications (200 words or less).

**If you have any questions, please email


Finalists will be asked to submit the following:
• A three to ten page treatment.
• Work Sample One: A ten-minute sample on DVD or online link (of a short or feature).
• Work Sample Two: A ten-minute sample on DVD or online link of the work-in-progress.
• A one-page Director's statement.
• Full budget including money raised to date.
• Presentation to the review panel if required.

Review Panel

A review panel will evaluate the initial applications and finalists. The review panel will award the grants at its sole discretion. The review panel will consist of:
• SIFF representatives
• True Production representatives
· Representatives of the film community

Payment and Reporting Information

Grant recipients will be required to submit a progress report and a new work sample every two months from the date of the grant award. Payment will be dispersed in equal installments tied to successful completion and review of Progress Report.

Marketing and PR/Media Relations

A full marketing and public relations plan will be developed to announce and support this grant. Grant winners are asked to help us in these marketing efforts in various capacities that will be outlined in the application.

Fine Print

• Filmmakers with incomplete applications will not be considered.
• All DVD work samples should be tested before sending. DVD or links may be submitted. DVDs will not be returned.· Filmmaker shall provide acknowledgement to True Productions and SIFF.• Filmmaker shall recognize Dwayne J. Clark, True Productions as Executive Producer.
• Filmmaker shall provide acknowledgement to SIFF. If the grants represents up to 25% of the project budget, credit with a "Produced in association with SIFF and True Productions" credit and use of our logos in film, web and written materials. If the grant represents between 25% and 50% of the project budget, credit will be "Produced in partnership with SIFF and True Productions" credit and use of our logos in film, web, and written materials. If the grant represents 50% or more of the project budget, a "SIFF and True Productions presents..." credit and use of our logos in film, web and written materials. Logos will be provided.