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May 14, 2024

IDA Open Call 2024 Providing Over $500,000 in Grants for Documentary Filmmakers Worldwide

International Documentary Association (IDA) announced that applications for the organization’s flagship Enterprise Documentary Fund and Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund providing over $500,000 will be received through a unified Open Call using the Core Application beginning May 29, 2024. The application deadline is June 25 for non-IDA members and July 9 for IDA members. Learn more and apply here.

Filmmakers can apply for the journalistically focused Enterprise Documentary Fund and the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund. In addition to cash grants, IDA provides artist support and professional development guidance to all grantees. IDA will hold workshops and seminars to educate filmmakers about the application process. It is IDA’s mission to support a thriving documentary culture. Funding urgent and innovative films from across cultures is vital to this work.

Keisha Knight, IDA’s Director of Funds & Advocacy, notes, “We are constantly updating our approach to grantmaking and our administrative processes in order to show up for filmmakers and the field in ways that meet the moment. Our new Open Call model is designed to streamline the application workflow for filmmakers and reduce the administrative burden on our IDA team. We are thrilled to re-introduce Pare Lorentz as an open application for all eligible projects to apply. Drawing from Pare Lorentz’s work around reproductive health in his film The Fight for Life, this year’s call platforms films that explore Gender Justice.”

Enterprise Documentary Fund Provided $5 Million to 79 Projects since 2017

The Enterprise Documentary Fund was established in 2017 to respond to the needs of documentarians working alone or in small teams who are increasingly taking on high-stakes storytelling, which was once the domain of legacy media. The fund prioritizes projects attempting to combat the misinformation being shared on social media and other internet platforms, using journalistic principles (such as fact-checking and rigorous, methodical research) to arrive at a verifiable truth.

In recent years, many organizations have emerged to support this type of filmmaking with resources, educational programming, and advocacy. IDA is proud to be a part of this effort. IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund seeks to support crucial facts-based storytelling while helping filmmakers retain their independent voices and artistic visions.

About the impact of the 2023 Enterprise Documentary Fund, producers of The Phantom Pain of Rojava said, “We are so grateful for the Enterprise production grant and the support we have got from the IDA team. This will help us move forward with this important film and make the stories and voices of the wounded soldiers be heard in the world. One aim of this film is to raise awareness of the situation of women in The Middle East and the Kurds of Rojava's struggle for independence and gender equality. Now we are one step closer to getting our film out to the world.”

Since 2021, the Fund has increased access and resources for filmmakers outside the United States. Press freedom, facts-based storytelling, and mediamaking are urgent global issues. As our information infrastructure becomes more globalized, filmmakers worldwide must have access to resources that can elevate their voices. The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund is supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Previously Nomination-Based, Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund Now Accepts Applications

Named after the American documentary filmmaker, The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund began in 2011, making it the International Documentary Association’s oldest fund. Thanks to the support of the New York Community Trust, the fund has granted $1,285,000 to 69 projects. The previously nomination-based fund is now open to applications. The theme for this year’s Pare Lorentz fund is Gender Justice.

The fund supports feature-length documentary films and immersive nonfiction media projects that reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz's work, exhibiting objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, artistic writing, and outstanding music composition, as well as skillful direction, camerawork, and editing. Pare Lorentz’s films are available to stream on the IDA website.

The fund provides production and post-production grants to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate urgent issues. Noteworthy Pare Lorentz grantees include Standing Above the Clouds, What These Walls Won’t Hold, Black Mothers, Not Going Quietly, Hummingbirds, After Sherman, and Crip Camp.

John Cardellino, producer of Powwow People, which received the Pare Lorentz 2023 grant, said, “IDA's Pare Lorentz grant allowed Powwow People to conduct our final production shoot, hire consulting editor Joe Bini, and settle our outstanding production costs from the film's powwow held in August 2023.”

IDA believes that documentary films and filmmakers are critical to speaking truth to power and maintaining vibrant, independent media ecosystems, which are essential cornerstones of thriving, healthy democracies. The Open Call's primary focus is projects that are deeply in conversation with journalism and facts-based and research-grounded approaches.

The IDA Grantee Database contains a complete list of all IDA grantees. IDA also supports filmmakers with its free-to-access Grants Directory, which aggregates available documentary filmmaking grants worldwide.

The image used in the flyer is a film still from Enterprise Documentary Fund 2022 grantee Our Hoolocks.
 The image used in the flyer is a film still from Enterprise Documentary Fund 2022 grantee Our Hoolocks.