IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund Development Grant Application Guidelines

Mission and Objective

Applications are closed at this time. The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides development funds to documentary projects taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories and integrating journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund.

Applications submitted for the 2020 open call are currently in review. Updates on the status of those applications will be sent in March 2021. The 2021 Enterprise Doc Fund calendar will be released in late January 2021. Please also reference the FAQ or email questions to


  • Applicant must be the director and/or a producer who shares creative and editorial oversight of the project.

  • Applicant must be 18 years of age.

  • Applicant must either be a U.S. citizen or reside in the U.S., and be a "U.S. Person" with a valid TAX ID. International co-productions are eligible if the applicant (director and/or producer) is a U.S. citizen or resides in the U.S. and is a "U.S. Person" with a valid TAX ID.

  • Applicant must have a proven track record working in non-fiction, but a directing and/or producing credit is not necessary. 

  • Project must be in research and development. Projects that have completed significant production are not eligible.

  • Subject may be domestic or international.

  • Final project may be a short, feature, series, podcast, VR or other emerging documentary film format. 

  • Project must be intended to reach a large and broad audience (a broadcast commitment is not necessary).

  • Journalistic practice must be integral to the project, with a commitment to fairness and accuracy. Journalistic practice is broadly defined and may include, but is not limited to, extensive research, accessing public records, an accountability or investigative approach, the need to protect sources or media, a heavy reliance on facts, or navigating hostile environments.

  • Stories must be contemporary and of an urgent or critically important nature. Biographies are not eligible. Historical projects will only be considered if they have a clear contemporary angle.

  • There are no restrictions on style, aesthetics or treatment.

  • Applicants must submit an online sample of their previous work, and, if available, a sample from the proposed project.

  • Grant requests may be up to $15k.

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

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

  • Student films are ineligible.

To Apply:

  1. 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 the brief online application. You can save it and return to it as often as needed until you are ready to submit.

  3. You will need a narrative proposal (pdf) and filmography or resumé (pdf). See the Proposal Checklist below for details.

  4. Applicants must submit an online sample of their previous work. You can submit any length, but only 15 minutes will be viewed. If available, we encourage you to submit a sample from the project you are proposing, but this is not required.

Proposal Checklist

Please prepare a narrative proposal and line item budget as outlined in the proposal checklist. Read the guidelines and proposal checklist carefully, making sure to note which items are required and which are optional. The proposal checklist is compatible with the Documentary Core Application Project, but has additional supplementary questions. Please carefully review the Enterprise checklist. 

2020 Development Application Checklist

Submission Portal

We welcome applications from all IDA members and non-members. A user account is not necessary. Grant applications are accepted and processed through Please create a separate user account on Submittable. IDA membership logins will not work in conjunction with the application process. If you are experiencing problem logging onto Submittable, please reset your password through the following link: