Mission and Objective

The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides production funds to feature-length documentary films taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories and integrating journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. In addition to funds, grantees will receive additional resources and expertise tailored to the needs of the project. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund.


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

  • Applicant must be a US citizen or permanent resident and 18 years of age.

  • Applicant must have directed and/or produced a minimum of two feature-length films (40 minutes or longer) or an equivalent documentary series or two broadcast hours.

  • Film must be in production. Production costs may include staff, crew, travel, gear rental and office expenses during the production period. Films with principal research and development completed are especially encouraged to apply. Films nearing the end of production will be considered, but post-production activities will not be funded.

  • Subject may be domestic or international.

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

  • Access to major participants must be secured.

  • Journalistic practice must be integral to the project, with a commitment to accuracy, fairness, ethical practices, and assembling, verifying, and presenting accurate facts and visual materials.

  • Journalistic practice is broadly defined and may include, but is not limited to, extensive research, accessing public records or data, an accountability or investigative approach, the need to protect sources or media, navigating hostile environments.

  • Stories must be contemporary and of an urgent or critically important nature. Historical films will only be considered if they have a clear contemporary angle. Biographies are ineligible. 

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

  • The proposal must include an online work sample of 10-15 minutes in length (Rough cuts will not be reviewed. If you submit a rough cut, only the first 15 minutes will be reviewed.)

  • Grant requests may be up to $100k.

  • 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.

  • Completed films are ineligible.

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

Application: January 2 - March 1, 2020

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 line item budget. See the Proposal Checklist below for details.

  4. You will need a link to a streaming version of your visual work sample for the project you are applying with.

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 Checklist Coming Soon

Submission Portal

We welcome applications from all IDA members and non-members. A documentary.org user account is not necessary. Grant applications are accepted and processed through Submittable.com. 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: https://manager.submittable.com/account/forgotpassword.

Evaluation Criteria

IDA staff and a committee that may include journalists, filmmakers, scholars and programmers will review applications and accompanying materials. Evaluators will take the following into consideration:

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

  • Do the story and filmmaking approach have journalistic integrity?

  • Will the project benefit from additional resources provided by the fund?

  • 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 filmmaker and/or subject matter represent an underrepresented community?

  • Has access been secured?

  • Does the work sample support the written materials, and is it clear what the sample represents?  

  • Is the proposal well written and does it clearly illustrate the story and narrative structure, the filmmakers’ vision, the contemporary relevance of the story and the project’s journalistic approach?

  • Do the applicant and production team have the experience to complete the project as described?

  • Does the proposal identify an audience and a realistic plan for reaching that audience? Is there a reasonable chance of achieving the distribution goals?

  • Does the project have a realistic plan for raising the remaining budget? Is the budget thorough and reasonable? Are line items in the budget within industry norms and standards?


Come Back January 2, 2020 to Apply Here