Pare Lorentz Application Guidelines

Please review the grant guidelines in full prior to applying. Contact grants@documentary.org with any questions pertaining to your project's eligibility or the application process in general.

Mission and Objective

The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund will provide production grants totaling $195,000 to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate pressing issues in the United States. Grants will be made to up to 12 projects that tell a compelling story and focus on one of Pare Lorentz's central concerns—the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.

The fund supports full-length documentary films that reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's work, exhibiting objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, high production values, artistic writing, and outstanding music composition, as well as skillful direction, camerawork and editing. A program of the International Documentary Association, the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund is made possible by The New York Community Trust.

Supported Activities

Eligible projects will be in production, having completed the bulk of research and development but still having substantial production or post-production related work and expenses remaining. Grant funds may be used for production and post-production related expenses incurred during the period of support.

Expenses may include line items such as principal photography, travel, equipment purchase or rental, insurance, rights and clearances, editing and filmmaker salaries. The fund does not support expenses related to fundraising, distribution, publicity, marketing or outreach.

Deadline

We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until July 31, 2017. Applications will be reviewed throughout this time period, with grants being awarded quarterly. We strive to review submissions and make notifications within eight weeks.  If you haven't heard from us after that period has passed, please feel free to contact grants@documentary.org.

Period of Support

The grant period of support is one year from the date of the grant award. Grant funds will be used to advance or reimburse production and post-production related expenses incurred during that period. 

Grant Range

Grants made will range from approximately $15,000-25,000.

Eligibility

  • The applicant (Project Director) must be 18 years of age or older.

  • The applicant must be a producer and/or director of the submitted work.

  • The applicant must be an independent filmmaker working on an original project. For the purposes of this grant, IDA defines an independent filmmaker as a content creator who both owns the copyright of his or her work and has full artistic, budgetary, and editorial control of the documentary project. Documentaries being produced for or under the direction of a third party, such as a broadcast entity, university, foundation or nonprofit organization are ineligible.

  • The project must addresses a critical issue in the United States and focuses on one of Pare Lorentz's central concerns—the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.

  • The project must be in production, having completed the bulk of research and development but still having substantial production and post-production related work and expenses remaining.

  • The applicant should be an experienced filmmaker with at least one key above-the-line (producer, director, co-director, co-producer) or other principal creative (director of photography, editor) credit on a previously completed documentary. Applicants with limited experience or who lack a previous credit as either a producer or director of a completed documentary should have a production team that includes other highly experienced key production personnel and advisors. Key team members and advisors may be contacted during the review process to assess their level of involvement and commitment to the project.

  • The applicant does not need to be a US citizen or US resident. However, grants to non-US citizens or non-US residents may be subject to mandatory US government withholding.

  • The applicant is not required to be a member of IDA to be eligible to apply.

  • The applicant is not required to have nonprofit status or fiscal sponsorship.

  • Student films are ineligible.

  • Completed films are ineligible.

  • Short documentaries (under 40 minutes finished run time) are ineligible.

What you will need to apply:

  1. Once you click on the application, you will be asked to register with Submittable, which involves entering contact information and choosing a username and password.

  2. Fill out our brief online application. You can save it and return to it as often as needed until you are ready to submit.

  3. A narrative proposal, line item budget and statement of interest. See our Proposal checklist below for details.

  4. A link to a streaming version of your visual work sample for the current project you are applying with.

Proposal checklist

Please prepare a narrative proposal and line item budget as outlined in our proposal checklist.  Our proposal requirements are compatible with the Documentary Core Application Project

Read the guidelines and proposal checklist carefully, making sure to note which items are required and which are optional. 

IDA PARE LORENTZ PROPOSAL CHECKLIST

Evaluation Criteria

Both IDA staff and a committee of distinguished filmmakers will review applications and accompanying materials. Some of the questions that staff and review committee members will use in evaluating applicants include:

  • Does the project, as presented, meet the grant goals and eligibility requirements?

  • Does the project tell a compelling story and address a pressing issue in the United States?

  • Does the project exemplify the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's work?

  • Does the project take an innovative approach to the subject matter? Has the story been told before and if so, does this project's approach bring something new to the story?

  • Does the Project Director have the access necessary to tell the story in a compelling way?

  • What is the quality of the work sample provided? Does it have a strong visual style and does it reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's films, such as exhibiting high production values, artistic writing, outstanding music composition and skillful direction, camerawork and editing?

  • Is the narrative well written and does it give a clear picture of the film's story and themes?

  • Does the application articulate the film's connection to the grant and its stated objectives?

  • Are the Project Director and production team assembled experienced and capable of completing the project as described?

  • Does the proposal identify an audience and a realistic plan for reaching and engaging that audience? Does the project have a realistic strategic plan for raising the remaining budget and a reasonable chance of securing public distribution in theatrical release, broadcast or cable television, or educational/ancillary distribution (to schools, museums, or other institutions)?

  • Is the budget thorough and realistic? Are line items in the budget within industry norms and standards?
     

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A program of the International Documentary Association, The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund
is made possible by The New York Community Trust.