Small Arts Grants :: Instructions for Filmmakers

The Fleishhacker Foundation makes grants to film projects within its Small Arts Grants Program. Please review the application guidelines for further detail on the type of grants made and application review criteria. We are more interested in supporting an artist’s vision than educational documentaries. Applications are only accepted for the post production phase of the project (i.e. a full rough cut is complete and a sample of the current work is available). Filmmakers should have raised and spent at least 50% of their project budget before applying. Filmmakers are funded at any point in their careers, but grants are not awarded to film students. Only residents from San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, and Santa Clara are considered.

Most grants are in the range of $2,000 – $5,000. Artists may only apply once for any given film project, and only if they have already secured a fiscal sponsor. These organizations’ missions must correlate with that of the film project, it is preferred that a Bay Area arts organization serve as the fiscal sponsor. A letter from the fiscal sponsor stating the terms of their support and their agreement with the artist must be included with the grant application. The annual budget requirement for Small Arts Grant  organizational applicants (between $100,000 and $750,000) does not apply to filmmakers’ fiscal sponsors. However, film projects considered in this grant category must have budgets under $750,000. (Larger projects are occasionally reviewed in the Special Arts Grant program and applicants must receive advance approval to apply from the Foundation’s Executive Director).

There are two review cycles per year: January 15 for spring decisions, and July 15 for fall decisions. When filling out the Application Information Form, include contact information for both the fiscal sponsor and for the filmmaker. The budget questions on the application form relate to the fiscal sponsor. However, artists who keep annual financial records for their production company should also attach the most recent financial statement and current year budget (under the supporting material link). Filmmakers should answer only the other application questions that pertain to their project and can ignore questions not relevant (those directed to organizational applicants). They may also attach to the Grant Proposal Narrative a 1 or 2 page overview of the film.

The required items to be mailed are: 7 DVD copies of a full rough cut (first edited cut), and a postage paid envelope for return.

The online application process is detailed under the Small Arts Grants guidelines. Note that the organizational attachments are for the fiscal sponsor. In the case of films sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society, only a copy of their sponsorship letter  is needed. Please note that all grant communication goes to the fiscal sponsor, and they are responsible for informing filmmakers of the status of their grant proposal, promptly forwarding any funds awarded, and insuring that final grant reports are filed within one year of the award date. The project budget should include the entire scope of the project, including post-production budget; budgets cannot include the purchase of major equipment items.

The arts review committee will assess the project’s artistic clarity and craft from the rough cut work sample (of the film for which funding is sought) of which 7 copies should be mailed to the Foundation. Please send a return postage-paid mailer if the samples are to be returned (the Foundation keeps copies of funded films). Applicants should also include a very brief narrative statement about the work sample and the status of its final edit.