About the Fund

The IDA+XRM Media Incubator supports short vérité documentary films from around the globe, with an emphasis on emerging filmmakers and new perspectives. Both a fund and a mentorship program, the Incubator provides production and post-production grants and mentorship from Academy and Emmy award-nominated directors to filmmakers crafting character-driven observational shorts. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund.

With major support from XRM Media, the Incubator will grant three filmmakers with $25,000 each. In 2021, the Incubator mentors are Oscar-nominated directors Skye Fitzgerald (Hunger Ward) and Smriti Mundhra (St. Louis Superman), and Emmy-nominated director Nadia Hallgren (Becoming).

Application Period: July 5 - August 2, 2021


Who is eligible to apply?

Applicant must

  • be 18 years of age or older,
  • be the director and/or a producer who shares creative and editorial oversight of the project,
  • have directed and/or produced a minimum of one short documentary film (at least 20 minutes)

Are there any regional restrictions to the fund?

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.

What qualifies as a short film?

The final project must be 40 minutes or less.

What is vérité and observational style?

We are looking for films that are character-driven and immersive, with little or no sit-down interviews and narrative expositions.

What qualifies as production and post-production activities?

Eligible projects will be in production or post-production having completed the bulk of research and development. Editing and other post-related work are also eligible to receive funding. 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.

How can funds be used?

Grant funds can be used to advance or reimburse production and post-production expenses.

When will the application guidelines and checklist be made available?

Monday, June 28, 2021.

Is a prior work sample required?

Yes. The applicant must have directed or produced a short documentary film (at least 20 minutes). A streaming link to this work must be included in the application. 

Is a current work sample required?

A current work sample is encouraged but not required. However, films should demonstrate substantial research and development in order to apply.

Can I submit multiple projects?

No, only one project per applicant is allowed.

Can I apply with a short that already has a distribution deal?

Films must not already have a distribution deal nor should they be attached to any broadcaster or platform.

If I receive the grant, is distribution with XRM Media guaranteed?

Distribution is not guaranteed if you receive the grant. Similar to previous IDA grants, the Incubator grant is unconditional.

When will I be notified?

Applicants will be notified in November 2021.

What are the other requirements for this grant?

Applicants must complete their project within a year from receiving the grant—by November 2022.