Mission and Objective
The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides production funds for feature-length documentary films taking on in-depth explorations of original, telling contemporary-relevant 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 with regard to the filmmaking team, subject matter, and geography are a priority of the fund. Please reference the FAQ or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Period: March 02, 2023 - April 04, 2023
If you want to review the application components before signing on to Submittable, you can find the link to the Application Checklist here: 2023 ENTERPRISE PROPOSAL CHECKLIST.
- Fill out the brief online application (Available starting March 2, 2023). You can save and return as often as needed until you are ready to submit.
- You will need a narrative proposal (.pdf) and a line item budget. See the Proposal Checklist below for details.
- You will need links to streaming versions of your visual work samples for the project you are applying with and a previous work sample.
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. IDA membership logins will not work in conjunction with the application process. Please create a separate user account on Submittable.
If you are experiencing problems logging onto Submittable, please reset your password through the following link: https://manager.submittable.com/account/forgotpassword.
IDA staff and a committee that may include journalists, filmmakers, scholars, programmers, and industry professionals will review applications and accompanying materials through a confidential selection process. Evaluators will consider the following:
- Does the project, as presented, meet the grant goals and eligibility requirements?
- Do the story and filmmaking approach have journalistic integrity and integrate journalistic practices?
- Has the story been told before, and if so, does this project's approach bring something new to the story?
- What is the filmmaker's connection to the community in which the story is about? If the filmmaker is an outsider, how will he/she/they engage and collaborate with the community?
- Has access to the film participant(s) and location(s) been secured?
- Does the work sample support the written materials, and is it clear what the sample represents?
- Does the application clearly illustrate the story and narrative structure, the filmmakers’ vision, the contemporary relevance of the story, and the project’s journalistic approach?
- Does the application identify an audience and a realistic plan to reach that audience?
- Does the project have a realistic plan to raise the remaining budget? Is the budget thorough and reasonable? Are line items in the budget within industry norms and standards? Does the fundraising plan and do the current funders avoid conflicts of interest with the subject matter?
- Applicant must be the director and/or a producer who shares creative and editorial oversight of the project. Executive Producers can not be the applicant.
- Applicants can apply from anywhere in the world, but if based outside of the United States they must have a US-based fiscal sponsor before applying.
- At least one director and/or producer (not Executive Producers) must have directed and/or produced a minimum of two feature-length films (40 minutes or longer). One person has to hold both credits.
- The applicant is not required to be a member of IDA.
- The applicant is not required to have nonprofit status or fiscal sponsorship unless they live outside the U.S.
- 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, accountability or investigative approach, or the navigation of hostile environments and protection of sources.
- There are no restrictions on the film style, aesthetics, or treatment.
- Stories must be original, relevant to contemporary audiences, and of an urgent or critically important nature. Purely historical films will only be considered if they have a significant contemporary component or narrative.
- The film must be in production and funds must be used for production costs only. Production costs may include staff, crew, travel, gear rental, office expenses, production insurance, deferred payments to the crew, and legal 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 must have production expenses remaining. Funds can’t be used for finishing color and sound after picture lock, but we do consider Editor salaries and edit-related costs as part of production.
- The film must be intended to reach a large and broad audience. A broadcast or distribution commitment is not required.
- Access to major film participants must be secured.
- NOT eligible to apply: Biographies, branded content, student films, completed films, and short documentaries (under 40 minutes finished run time)
- All required sections of the Enterprise Checklist need to be answered to be considered.
- 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, unless noted which 15 minutes the reviewers should watch).
- Work samples shorter than 10 minutes will not be considered.
- Work samples should not be changed throughout the selection period- April thru August of 2023.
- As of 2023, we will require that all work samples have captions. They can be open captions, subtitles with audio descriptions, or closed captions. Work samples without captions will not be considered. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions about your work sample.
- Grant requests may be up to $100,000.
Additional Resources & Workshops to Assist in the Application Process
Download the PDF of Public Info Session follow-ups & links here.
Enterprise Production Public Info Session
Want to learn more about the Enterprise Production Fund guidelines and process? We will have an additional 30 minutes at the end for any questions.
- Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - Now on YouTube
Documentary Journalism Summit
To learn more about journalistic practices, register for the Documentary Journalism Summit. This four-part virtual series is a combination of brain trust, debate, and how-to; the aim is for attendees to take away from each session helpful and practical learnings that they can directly apply to the pre-production, production, post-production, and impact stages of their non-fiction storytelling practices to make impactful films.
- Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - March 10, 2023, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PT, REGISTER HERE
Now Offering Office Hours
Have questions about the Enterprise Production Fund or Application Checklist specific to your project? The Funds Team is now offering two sessions to address applicant questions.
- Session 1: Office Hours for International Applicants: March 14, 2023, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PT, REGISTER HERE FOR SESSION 1
- Session 2: IDA Members and IDA Fiscally Sponsored Projects: March 29, 2023, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PT, REGISTER HERE FOR SESSION 2