Filmmakers have often shared with us their frustration over the amount of time and effort involved in writing and revising grant applications to suit the varied requirements of documentary funders. We estimate that applying for grants alone represents tens of thousands of hours of unpaid labor on the part of documentary filmmakers each year.

In response, Sundance Institute and the IDA joined forces to create and disseminate a common funding application to the field. With the Documentary Core Application Project, a small but growing group of documentary funders have made a commitment to a more filmmaker friendly way of grantmaking.

Collectively, participants in the Documentary Core Application Project represent more than 5 million dollars in funding for independent documentaries annually. By adopting a standardized set of proposal requirements, participating grantors hope to ease the significant burden that has traditionally been placed on filmmakers and contribute to a more equitable and sustainable documentary field.

Currently, the project consists of a core proposal checklist that filmmakers can use to create a single proposal that will satisfy the primary requirements of participating fiscal sponsors and grantors.  In the next phase of the project, we are exploring standardizing other elements, such as work sample lengths, budgets, and grant reporting requirements. 

Core Proposal Checklist Frequently asked questions

The following organizations and grantors are currently using the Documentary Core App:

Chicken and Egg Pictures access application

DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab access application

Fork Films access application

Frameline Completion Fund access application

IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund access application

IDA Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund access application

LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund  access application

The Miller/Packan Film Fund access application

New Film Fund (Yeni Film Fonu)  access application

SFFILM access application

Sundance Institute access application

Tribeca Film Institute access application

The following organizations will accept the documentary core application with their next round of funding:

Doc Society  access application

Catapult Film Fund access application

The Chicago Media Project (application coming soon)

ITVS access application

The Redford Center access application


The following organizations will accept the documentary core application for fiscal sponsorship applications:

The Film Collaborative access application

Film Independent access application

IDA access application

Women Make Movies access application

Utah Film Center access application