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Lightbox: Illuminating Opportunity — June 2023

Original publish date: June 6, 2023

We’re over the moon … it’s June! The summer movie season is here, and if your independent project needs some big budget help, we’ve got good news: there are many national programs available to help projects like yours get in front of cameras. This month, we’re homing in on a few of the best initiatives around the industry. 

1. Sunny Side of the Doc

La Rochelle, a beautiful coastal city in France, is home to an international market that has been running for more than 30 years. With over 2,000 attendees from 60 different countries, this market has become a popular gathering place for professionals in the film industry. Over 800 registered companies, including broadcasters, decision-makers, and filmmakers, participate in the event, making it an ideal location for pitching a documentary for co-production or co-financing. Additionally, filmmakers can sell their finished films to potential buyers.  

The market features various events, including exhibitions, pitching sessions, panels, workshops, and networking events, providing ample opportunities for industry professionals to connect. Participants who purchase passes have access to all events and can also register their film, which will be placed in a widely circulated e-catalogue. 

Dates: Market takes place June 19 – 22  On the web: https://www.sunnysideofthedoc.com/ 

2. Film Independent: Fast Track 2023

An exclusive film market is set to showcase 10 fiction and 5 nonfiction feature projects, providing a unique opportunity for filmmakers to connect with influential industry decision-makers. This intimate event is designed for director-producer teams with features in development or preproduction for fiction and documentaries in production or postproduction.  

Participants will have the chance to connect directly with executives, financiers, agents, managers, and distributors from a range of influential companies, including Fox Searchlight, Netflix, Participant Media, and Plan B, among others. This film market promises to provide a valuable platform for talented filmmakers to showcase their work and forge new relationships within the film industry. 

Deadlines: June 26 On the web: https://www.filmindependent.org/programs/artist-development/fast-track/ 

3. Vision Maker Media: Public Media Fund

Applications are open year-round for filmmakers interested in applying for funding through Vision Maker in partnership with PBS. This initiative supports projects that explore the lives of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, created by and portraying these communities.  

The amount of funding available is dependent on the current stage of production, with grants ranging from $5k to $25k for research and development, $150k for principal photography, and $30k for postproduction. Selected projects must agree to assign exclusive broadcasting rights for four years and one year of off-air recording rights for educators.  

This is a great opportunity for filmmakers looking to create compelling content that shares the stories and experiences of Native American and Alaska Native communities while receiving support and funding for their projects. 

Deadlines: June 30 ON THE WEB: https://visionmakermedia.org/public-media-fund 

4. Vanishing Angle Post Grant 2023

Vanishing Angle, a full-service production studio based in Southern California, has partnered with DryDock, a postproduction house, to offer a grant that provides free post-finishing services for one short film per year. The grant includes color correction, DCP, film festival strategy, marketing, and release services, which are valued at $10k. The grant is open to short films under 20 minutes in length.  

Recent success stories include Poof, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this May. Vanishing Angle’s past films include Greener Grass (Sundance), We the Coyotes (Cannes), and The Robbery (Sundance). The grant aims to encourage filmmakers to use short films as a steppingstone for making a feature film, providing them with support and resources to bring their vision to life. 

Deadlines: July 3 On the web: https://vanishingangle.com/shorts 

5. National Endowment for the Arts: Media Arts

Grants ranging from $10k to $100k are available through this initiative, with both cost-sharing and matching options available. The grants are intended to support projects that provide opportunities for artists to create, research, or share their artistic practices and works. Additionally, the projects should integrate media arts activities with strategies that promote the wellbeing of communities and offer opportunities for public audiences to experience film and media art works and / or engage directly with artists.  

The initiative aims to build capacity and strengthen the film and media arts field through knowledge-sharing and resources. This grant is an excellent opportunity for artists and filmmakers to receive financial support and contribute to the development and promotion of media arts in their communities. 

Deadlines: Part one applications due on July 6; part two applications due on July 18 On the web: https://www.arts.gov/grants/grants-for-arts-projects/media-arts 

Please note that film festivals and markets are chosen based on Dear Producer’s annual study, which asks distributors from where they acquire films, how many films they distribute in a year, and other factors.

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