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Documentary Fund Proposal Checklist


Please address the following items in the proposal that you upload. You MUST include your budget within your proposal document as we are only able to accept ONE upload per project.  We are unable to accept unsolicited updates to proposals or visual samples once your project is submitted.

Proposal must contain the following:

Topic Summary (1-2 pages)
Briefly provide information to acquaint the reader to the subject, advising why the topic is interesting and why such a film is needed now. Explain any contemporary social or global relevance for the topic. Describe why you are pursuing this project and why you are the best person to tell this story.

Story Summary (Narrative Synopsis) (1-2 pages)
What story or question is your film following? What is your likely story structure? This section might describe who the characters or subjects are  and what is their journey? Here you might chose to communicate how the film in intended to unfold from beginning to end. This section is an opportunity to reflect on the potential mission, stakes, central question or possible outcomes.

Visual Sample:
An online streaming link is required to complete your submission. Links must be download enabled and accessible through January 2015.We encourage links to be sent through streaming platforms such as Vimeo or Youtube.  Include the links and passwords ( if applicable) in your written proposal. 

  • Director's Prior Work (1 paragraph) (required)
    For all proposals, the director’s previous work in a visual medium is required.  If a prior directing sample is not available, you may submit a film you have shot or edited. Alternatively, previous work from a key creative on the team, will also be accepted. For the work that you submit, briefly highlight its narrative, aesthetic or communication intentions. Articulate the relevance to the current proposal, if any. If the current proposal is a departure, how will the film differ. If a link is not available for the directing sample, you may send a DVD. Please make a note of this intention in your written application.
  • Current Sample or Rough Cut (1 paragraph)
    If the film is already underway, please submit any sample, rough cut, teaser or clip you may have. Development proposals are strongly encouraged to submit clips, trailers and selects, although visual material is not required. Production/Post-Production proposals are required to submit 10 minutes or longer of edited material. With the work you submit, explain concisely what is present or absent in the sample, and how it will differ as a finished film. How does it reflect the intended story, style, subject, etc.  Please provide links and password (if applicable) to visual material.

Project Stage (1 paragraph)
Clearly communicate a projected timeline for your film, describing your point in the creative/producing process at time of your application. Please provide an estimated potential time for completion of principal photography and picture lock. If you have applied before, please share how your project has progressed since the last time your applied.

Distribution and Marketing Strategy (1 paragraph)
Characterize the intended distribution life for your film, including relevant broadcast, festival, theatrical, or home video markets.

Audience and Community Engagement (if applicable) (1 paragraph)
Audience Engagement is a strategic campaign to  encourage individuals and communities to move from passive to active participants on the issue your film broaches. Engagement campaigns are distinct from distribution (which puts films on screens), and from marketing and outreach (alerting viewers to see films). Rather, engagement is designed to activate audiences and stakeholders  toward a specific goal. Not all films are suited for social engagement, but if yours is, what action would you hope viewers will take after the screening? If you have any partnerships with organizations already in place, how are these relationships/partnerships informing your approach.

Interactive Elements (if applicable) (1 paragraph)
Some films are intended for multiple platforms as an integral part of the user experience. IF applicable for your project, describe any story elements that are meant for other platforms (ex: games, installations, apps, augmented reality, etc).  Explain how cross platform elements will enhance the experience and interaction between viewers and the world of the story.

Key Creative Personnel (1-2 paragraphs each)
Provide brief biographies (50-150 words) for the director(s), and if attached, the producer (s), cinematographer, or editor. DO NOT send resumes, CVs or extensive filmographies. Bullet list any other advisors or consultants, if applicable.

Fundraising Strategy
List secured funding sources as well as the funding sources you intend to pursue. Clearly distinguish between potential sources and secured amounts.


  • Foundation A ……… $5,000 Secured
  • Foundation B ……….$ Applied

Comprehensive Line Item Expense Budget
Please list a breakdown of all expenses from development through release in U. S. dollars, including a grand budget total. You may view a sample budget by clicking here (pdfexcel). This sample budget is provided as a reference tool only, you may use your own budget format.

Contact Information
Please provide complete contact information including a valid email address, telephone number and mailing address ( in the country’s format). Contact information should be valid for at least six (6) months after the submission deadline.