Film,
Video and
Digital
Production
Grants

Applications Open
Jan 31, 2019
Deadline to Apply
May 1, 2019
Notification of Award
no later than Sep 30, 2019

Bronx Documentary Center, BDC Films.

Production grants of up to $30,000 to early career film, video and digital production directors from Minnesota or New York City.

download the guidelines (pdf)

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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Offered every two years, this program provides production grants of up to $30,000 to early career film, video and digital production directors who reside in Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City and who work in the experimental, narrative, animation or documentary genres.

This program provides grants to individual filmmakers to support specific projects, both short and full-length, for production and select post-production expenses (not pre-production, or marketing, distribution, or festival fees). The awards of up to $30,000 do not require matching funds.

The program does not fund retroactively: only costs incurred after the grant is awarded and a grant contract is signed will be supported.

Learn more about the past Film, Video and Digital Production grantees in Minnesota and New York City.

Program Timeline

Jan 31, 2019

Online application opens

Feb 21, 2019

Webinar with program staff

Register for the webinar at 12 noon Central/ 1 pm Eastern on Thursday, February 21, 2019. The session will be recorded and posted to the "Help and Contacts" section.

May 1, 2019

Deadline for applications

Applications will not be accepted after 4 pm Central/5 pm Eastern on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

No later than Sep 30, 2019

Notification of grant status

Staff will not have status updates on your application in advance of this date.

Oct 31, 2019–Oct 31, 2021

Funds distributed

Grant funds may be requested during this timeframe.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Please read these requirements carefully. The application will not be considered if the applicant does not fit the eligibility requirements. If there are questions or doubts regarding eligibility, please contact Foundation staff and we will advise: we do not want any artist to spend time on an application that is rejected due to issues of eligibility.

Who is eligible to apply?

This program supports early career film directors who have in the past and will in the proposed project generate new work. Generative filmmakers are those who generate new works and claim creative “authorship” and creative control in the creation of new work, and whose primary practice is centered in creating new work in animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative film, video and digital production.

The Foundation understands that, especially at an early stage, artists may do more than direct: they may also act, design, write, edit and/or produce. Artists who perform multiple functions are eligible if these functions also include directing. This program is not open to film producers, editors, designers, etc., unless they also meet the basic history of directing criteria and are applying for a project that they will direct.

Raúl O. Paz Pastrana, still from Border South.

Raúl O. Paz Pastrana, Border South.

Early career directors show significant potential; have some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment; and are recognized as early career artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators. Applicants whose filmography is entirely self-distributed and who have no additional support through grants, public screenings produced or sponsored by others and/or competitive prizes are generally uncompetitive. See the FAQ for more detail.

Still from Nicole Antebi, Fred’s Rainbow Bar and Other Stages on the International Border (working title).

Nicole Antebi, Fred’s Rainbow Bar and Other Stages on the International Border (working title).

This is not a program for first-time or second-time filmmakers.

At a minimum, applicants must have directed and completed at least two non-student film/video/digital production projects.

Applicants must serve as the director(s) of the proposed project (i.e., must be listed in the film credits as the director).

Applications are only accepted from individuals or co-directing teams applying jointly. Applications may not be submitted by fiscal sponsors, production companies, LLCs, or other organizations.

  • If applying as an individual, applicants must have sole directing credit on at least two non-student film/video/digital production projects. Projects done as part of a co-directing team will not count towards eligibility and may not be used as work samples unless applying as a co-directing team (see below). Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements listed in the table below.
  • If applying as a co-directing team, applicants must have credits on at least two, non-student film/video/digital production projects that they have already co-directed together. Projects completed individually or co-directed with anyone other than the co-directing partner for the application do not count towards the two minimum credits to meet eligibility and may not be used as work samples.

All individual applicants or all members of a co-directing team must meet all eligibility requirements listed below.

Residency Status

✓  is a resident of the state of Minnesota or New York City as demonstrated by having filed two most recent federal taxes as a resident of Minnesota and/or New York City, and will file in those same areas next year

✓  have either a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

✗  has not been not a resident of either the state of Minnesota or New York City as demonstrated by not having fil two most recent federal taxes as a resident of Minnesota and/or New York City, and will not file in those same areas next year

✗  does not have either a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Student Status

✓  are not participating in any degree-granting programs (K-12, undergraduate, graduate) in any field at the time of application

✓  will not enter degree programs during the grant period

✗  applicants who are or will be students enrolled in degree-granting programs

»  applicants who are enrolled in PhD programs should discuss options with staff

Body of Work

✓  has directed two completed film/video/digital production projects

✗  these projects cannot have been in production and/or post-production while the applicant was enrolled as a student

✗  these projects cannot have been music videos, commercial or industrial work

✗  is a first-time or second-time filmmaker and does not have at least two completed projects that were made entirely in production and/or post-production in non-student years

Career Stage

✓  are in the early stages of their creative development and:

   »  show significant potential

   »  have some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment

   »  are recognized as early career filmmakers by other filmmakers, curators, producers, etc.

✗  would be identified as “mid-career” or established in any arts discipline, including but not limited to film/video/digital production

✗  are engaged in filmmaking as a hobby or avocational pastime

Creative Control

✓  must assume the role of director with ultimate artistic/creative control of:

   ✓  two completed past projects

   ✓  the project for which support is requested

✗  producers, editors, crew, cast and screenwriters who are not in ultimate creative control of the project

Other Status

✗  previous Jerome grantees (in either the film, video and digital production or Travel and Study programs) who have not completed final grant reports

✗  costs already supported through other Jerome-funded programs are not eligible for support in this program

What projects are eligible?

Types of Work

Eligible works include new film, video and digital production work in the genres of animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative. The Foundation has no preferences for subject matter or genre (i.e., documentary over narrative or animation).

Applicants are expected to demonstrate an ability to complete the proposed project. Depending on the subject matter, this may require the applicant to demonstrate an understanding of the subject and an ability to handle the material appropriately. In reviewing documentary proposals, panelists are interested in the degree to which relationships with the film subjects/content has been or will be developed.

Ineligible works include installations, new media, gamers or interactive work. This type of work is supported in other Foundation programs and is not eligible for this program. Commercial, industrial, music videos, informational, or student work all fall outside of Foundation priorities and are not eligible in any Foundation program.

Jerome Foundation considers music videos to be industrial or commercial work; they are therefore not eligible for support, cannot be considered as work samples or to establish eligibility. Music videos, industrial work and/or commercial work submitted as work samples will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed by the panel.

Project Stage: Production and Select Post-Production

Funds may be used for:

✓ Production, including:

   »  Shooting

   »  Rights

   »  Location fees

   »  Equipment

   »  Materials

   »  Travel

   »  Staffing (creative, technical or otherwise)

✓ Select post-production expenses, including:

   »  Editing

   »  Transfers

   »  Scoring/sound mix

   »  CGI/titling

   »  Special effects

   »  Color correction

Funds may not be used for:

✗ Marketing

✗ Creation of trailers

✗ Distribution costs

✗ Festival fees

✗ Pre-production costs, including:

   »  Research

   »  Professional development

These types of activities are supported through the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships—not through this program.

 

Funds may only be used for expenses incurred after the grant is awarded and the grant contract is signed.

Film projects that are or will be in post-production at the time awards are made are eligible but are a lower priority.

Grantees must accept all grant funds within 18 months and use all funds within 30 months of the date of the grant letter (issued in September 2019).

Projects that are still in early pre-production planning and that may not begin shooting for at least 24 months are encouraged to not to apply until more work on the project has been completed. This program does not offer second grants to support projects previously funded within the Film, Video and Digital Production Grant program.

 

Project Budget

Films of any financial scale are eligible. Because the award may not be able to cover the entire costs of production even for those films with budgets of less than $30,000, we ask applicants to identify additional secured and/or potential sources of income for the project in the application.

SELECTION PROCESS & CRITERIA

The Foundation’s highest priority in this program is to support projects by filmmakers who demonstrate strong artistic merit.

Step 1: Prescreening

The Jerome Foundation staff first pre-screens applications to verify eligibility, relying on the “eligibility check” in the application and the resume. Staff will not perform any additional research, including on IMDb or applicant websites to verify eligibility. Applicants who do not identify at least two eligible completed past projects that they have directed (or in the case of co-directing teams, have co-directed) in the eligibility check will be eliminated at this stage, regardless of additional information that may be found or inferred in the resume.

Step 2: Panel Review

All applications deemed eligible by staff are then reviewed by a panel of experts working in the field(s) of film, video, and/or digital production. Panelists do not visit websites, view additional materials, or consider samples that exceed time limits or do not meet format requirements. Panelists identify a group of finalists to be discussed at a full day panel meeting where they arrive at a collective set of recommendations.

Step 3: Panel Meeting

Panels are charged with recommending a roster of grantees and alternates to the Jerome Foundation Board of Directors. Separate panels are convened for applicants based in Minnesota and applicants based in the five boroughs of New York City.

Step 4: Board Approval

Panel recommendations are reviewed by the Jerome Foundation Board of Directors, which has the sole authority to approve the panel recommendations and award grants.

Panelists consider only the following criteria:

1
Artistic Merit
2
Feasibility
3
Impact

Artistic Merit

The following factors all are considered when assessing artistic merit:

  • Distinctive and authentic artistic “voice”
  • Bold and risk-taking approach—expanding the aesthetic or social experience
  • Technical proficiency and exhibiting a high level of craft
  • Imaginative, rigorous, and well-executed
  • Engaging aesthetically and experientially
  • Effective structure, rhythm and use of the medium to convey substance and meaning
  • Creative, original and memorable content
  • Established relationship with or connection to subjects/subject matter and audiences

Panelists rely primarily on the work samples as indicators of the quality of work and the ability to undertake the proposed project. Directors whose project represents an attempt to move into a new form should explain their reasons for wanting to make this move and include an explanation of the work sample as an indicator of ability in the proposed new form. The information provided in the application questions Project Summary, Topic Summary, and Artistic Approach will also be used to assess merit.

Panelists rely primarily on the work samples as indicators of the artistic merit. The resume and information provided in the application questions Project Summary, Topic Summary, Artistic Approach, and Innovation and Risk are also used to assess merit.

Feasibility

The feasibility of the project is indicated by the responses to the application question on Production Stage and Timeline and budget information (including the detailed budget—with details about additional funding sources) and the response to the Budget and Feasibility question.

The resume provides context for the director’s ability to handle specific formats, subject matter or, in the case of documentaries, the relationship of the director to the community(ies) being filmed.

Directors whose project represents an attempt to move into a new form should explain their reasons for wanting to make this move as well as their capacity to do so by responding to the optional “Capacity” application question. Applicants are also encouraged to use the Work Sample Context field to explain how the work sample is an indicator of ability in the proposed new form.

Panelists will assess whether the production timeline and budget are appropriate for the scope of the project, the level of planning around logistics (including but not limited to anticipated shooting schedule, identification of collaborators, and viability of location(s), and sources of additional potential and/or secured funding), and if the filmmaker and their assembled team are capable of completing this project.

 

Impact

Panelists assess the potential impact of the project in terms of how it contributes to the artistic development and career of the director as well as the potential impact on the larger field aesthetically or socially. They’ll assess whether the director has a clear idea of the audience for the project and how to reach them. The application question on Creative Community, Impact, and Innovation and Risk will be used to assess this criterion. Work samples are also referenced in the discussion of the director’s potential impact on the larger field.

In reaching the final roster of grantees and alternates, panels are charged to think not only of the ability of every grantee to meet each criterion strongly, but of recommending a cohort of grantees that collectively captures the diversity—one of the Foundation’s core values—of the larger field of film, video and digital work. Within this diverse roster, our highest priorities are to support artists who share the Foundation’s additional core values of innovation/risk and humility:

  • Diversity: We consciously embrace diversity in the broadest sense. We support a diverse range of artists and organizations, including but not limited to those of diverse cultures, races, sexual identities, genders, generations, aesthetics, points of view, physical abilities, and missions. We support a diverse range of artistic disciplines and forms, created in a wide range of contexts and for different audiences.
  • Innovation/Risk: We applaud unconventional approaches to solving problems and support artists and organizations that challenge and engage the traditional aesthetic and/or social dimensions of their respective disciplines.
  • Humility: We serve artists (rather than expecting artists to serve us) and believe that artists and organizations are the best authorities to define their needs and challenges—an essential humility reflective of Jerome Hill, our founder. Our grantee artists and organizations embrace their roles as part of a larger artistic and/or social community of artists and citizens and consciously work with a sense of community purpose, whether aesthetic, social or both.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  • Directors provided with support through this program must request and receive all grant funds and begin production by October 31, 2021. Exceptions to this policy, whatever the reason, must be approved in advance by staff and requested before September 30, 2021.
  • Grantees may not substitute a different project than the project for which a grant was received. Doing so may result in the Foundation recalling the grant. Any major changes to the nature or scope of the project must be approved in advance by the Foundation.
  • If a grantee has abandoned or delayed the proposed project beyond October 31, 2021, the Foundation may cancel the grant and require the refund of any funds already distributed and not spent.
  • The Foundation does not fund retroactively. If an applicant completes the proposed project between applying and the award date, no funding will be awarded.
  • Grantees are required to submit a progress report in every year in which grant funds are received. Grantees must also complete a final project report when the project has been completed (or abandoned). Grantees are ineligible to apply for additional support in this grant program until the final report for this grant is approved.
  • Grants are considered taxable income. Grantees must provide a social security number or ITIN to the Foundation and will receive a 1099 for any year in which grant funds are received. All grantees are listed in the Jerome Foundation's annual tax return, which is a public document and is posted on the Foundation's website. For more information on public access to the tax returns of foundations, please contact Foundation staff.

Review the guidelines to make sure the applicant and the proposed project meets the eligibility requirements. Contact Jerome staff with any questions.

Applications must be submitted using Submittable, our online application platform. Go to https://jeromefdn.submittable.com/ and select either the Minnesota or New York City application (depending on residency status) to begin.

Potential applicants who have lived in Minnesota for at least a year but plan to relocate to New York City before October 2019 should apply in the NYC program; those who have lived in New York City for at least a year but plan to relocate to Minnesota before October 2019 should apply in the Minnesota program.

Submit the application by Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4 pm Central/5 pm Eastern.

Any applicant or grantee who falsifies application information will be eliminated from consideration and will (depending on when this becomes apparent) have the grant revoked and be ineligible to apply to any Jerome program in the future. If such falsification is discovered after a grant has been awarded, the Foundation will be entitled to a refund of all funds paid.

Go to Submittable

The application will ask for the following…

ABOUT THE APPLICANT(S)

  • Resume(s). Resumes should be current and complete. Bios are not acceptable. The resume is applicant’s chance to present their credentials to the panel and confirm their status as an early career film/video/digital production director (as defined in the guidelines) with a history of ultimate creative control over projects. For that reason, applicants need to be specific about film/video/digital production titles, year of completion, and their specific role on each project.

    • Resume Requirements:

      • List director credits separately from other roles (editor, director of photography, animator, actor, etc.). Since the eligibility for this grant requires a minimum of two non-student films directed by the applicant(s). If applying as an individual, the resume should clearly list at least two works directed by the applicant alone.

      • Co-directing teams will be asked to submit both a composite resume representing the team’s past credits as well as individual resumes for each member of the co-directing team. The composite resume should clearly list as least two non-student films directed by the co-directing applicant team.

      • Applicants may include projects that they have edited, acted in, or produced in the same list as projects they have directed, if and only they have also directed them.

      • Resumes that leave the panel uncertain about how many projects (and which ones) the applicant had actually directed will render the application ineligible.

    • Resumes should contain dates for film, video, and digital credits, running times, and clear indications of what the applicant’s responsibilities were on each credited project.
    • Staff will rely entirely on the resumes as presented in the screening stage and will not do additional research to determine an applicant’s role. Any applicant whose resume does not clearly establish eligibility will be eliminated for further consideration at the prescreening stage.
    • Include any post-secondary education and when the applicant attended. This will be used to verify non-student works.
    • View/download a sample individual resume
    • View/download a sample composite resume (for co-directing teams

 

  • “Why do you identify as an early career filmmaker?”

    • Applicants can choose to respond in writing (maximum 250 words, roughly ½ page in Arial 12pt, single-space) or via uploading a short video (two minutes maximum). If using video, this may be a phone recording. This is not an artistic sample—we provide the option of video as an alternative to writing.
    • Word and time limits will be strictly observed.
    • Refer to the FAQ for the Foundation’s definition of “early career.”

WORK SAMPLES

  • All applicants must submit Vimeo or YouTube links to two completed works, identifying up to 10 minutes for panelists to watch. These do not have to be the same works provided in the eligibility check section of the application.
  • Applicants who have begun production on the proposed project are strongly encouraged to include a third work sample, comprised of footage of the work in progress if the footage is a good representation of the artistic level to which the project aspires.
  • Only those applicants who are submitting work-in-progress footage may submit a third work sample. Applicants submitting a third work sample may identify up to 12 minutes (across all three work samples) for panelists to watch.

 

  • For each work sample, provide:
    • Vimeo or YouTube URL (and password, if applicable)—see our help page to learn how to make these links private
    • Work Sample Description, listing the following:
      • Name of the Work (or working title)
      • Year completed
      • Running time
      • Where the work has been publicly screened (do not include self-produced screenings or personal channels online), if applicable
      • Awards received, if applicable
      • Grants received that supported this project (source and grant amount), if applicable
    •  Role(s) in the Project
      • If applying as an individual this must include “director”
        • This may seem redundant if the applicant is solely the director—in this case, enter “director.”
        • If the applicant plays multiple roles in the creation of the work, list them all (e.g., “director, screenwriter, editor, composer”).
      • If the applicant is applying as part of a co-directing team, all members must be named as “co-director.”
        • If members of the co-directing team play multiple roles, list them all (e.g., “Kyrie: co-director, editor; Leslie: co-director, screenwriter, composer”)
        • Provide this detail for all members of a co-directing team.
    • Work Sample Cue Times
      • Indicate the start and stop time(s) for the excerpt (e.g., “Start at 3:30 and end at 8:00” or “Watch 9:00–12:00 and then 35:00–37:00”)
      • Remember the total time of the excerpts across all samples combined is 10 minutes (or 12 minutes if also submitting work in progress footage)
    • Work Sample Context
      • Provide up to 250 words (1/2 page) to give panelists a precise context for what they are watching. The applicant may use this to contextualize the scene/clip they are choosing to highlight—how does this clip fit in the arc of the larger work? If the applicant would like panelists to pay attention to specific aspects of the work, this is where they might instruct them to do so.
      • For the third work sample, note what the level of production is and what work remains to be done. The applicant does not need to repeat anything they may have stated about the project elsewhere in the application.

General work sample rules:

  • If applying as an individual, the applicant must have sole directing credit on every work sample. Projects done as part of a co-directing team are not eligible work samples, are not considered in establishing eligibility, and will not be considered. Projects for which the applicant is the performer, writer, editor, producer, etc.,—but is not the director—are also not eligible.
  • If applying as a co-directing team, the team as constituted in the application must share co-directing credits on every work sample. Projects completed individually or co-directed with anyone not applying as part of the co-directing team are not eligible work samples and will not be considered.
  • Ineligible work samples:
    • Works in production started when the applicant was enrolled as a student in a degree-granting program
    • Commercial, industrial, informational, or other work for hire (including music videos)
    • Trailers or promotional reels
  • A note regarding web series: do not use the same web series for both of the work samples, even if they are different episodes. The panel wants to see a range of work.

 

If the applicant does not submit two eligible work samples, the application will be considered incomplete and removed from further consideration.

PROJECT PROPOSAL

  • Amount requested (up to $30,000)
  • Title, genre, medium, and logline/brief summary
  • Project status
  • Projected length
  • Written Responses: by answering these questions, directors will describe the film/video/digital production they hope to make with Jerome support and/or to help panelists understand more about the artistic, social and/or community context in which they work. It is the director’s chance to make their case to the panel for why funding should go to their project. 
    • Project Summary, 1–2 pages (maximum 900 words). What is the story and story structure? Give an overview, introducing the ideas, themes, characters, potential plot points, narrative trajectories, etc.
    • Topic Summary, 1–2 pages (maximum 900 words). Describe why this topic is important, timely or relevant. Detail the topics, issues, themes, challenges, stakes, or questions that the project will cover. Things to consider include: Why is the applicant the best person and why is it important to do this project? Explain the cultural, social or aesthetic relevance and context for the topic, and why this project is timely or urgent.
    • Artistic Approach, ½ page (maximum 250 words). How is the director going to tell this story? Describe the creative vision for the finished project—its visual look and feel. Explain the intended use of cinematic language or any particular artistic approach that informs the storytelling.
    • Creative Community, ½ page (maximum 250 words). Who are the applicant’s artistic mentors, peers, inspirations? Who is the applicant’s creative team for this project?
    • Impact, ½ page (maximum 250 words). Who is the anticipated audience for the project and how does the applicant plan to reach them? What is the applicant’s relationship and access to this community? Does the applicant have producing partners or community collaborators in the community? For documentary and narrative filmmakers: Discuss the relationships/partners with organizations/communities connected to the project? If so, how have these relationships informed the project development?
    • How is your work innovative and risk-taking?, ½ page (maximum 250 words). How are the values of innovation and risk exemplified by your project? This might be something that is apparent in the topic you are addressing, your artistic approach, how you define your creative community or the context in which you are distributing work and connecting with audiences.  Through its core value of innovation and risk, the Foundation applauds unconventional approaches to solving problems and supports artists who challenge and engage the traditional aesthetic and/or social dimensions of their respective disciplines. This may include, but is not limited to:
      • expanding the aesthetic or social experience in the discipline in which they work and/or reclaim and revive traditional forms in original ways
      • bold and risk-taking
      • engaging aesthetically and experientially
      • connects with intended audiences/participants
      • compelling and has a distinctive vision and authentic voice
      • technically proficient and exhibit a high level of craft
      • imaginative, rigorous, and well-executed
    • Production Stage and Timeline, ½ page (maximum 250 words). Explain the current status of the project. Outline the production timeline from the project’s current state to the anticipated completion date. When does the applicant plan to start production, and when will production finish? What is the estimated completion date for the project?
  • Applicant’s role(s) in the production. Is the applicant(s) serving multiple roles beyond conceiving and directing the project? Please explain.
  • Budget information
    • Total production budget
    • Detailed budget (please download an example/template budget)
    • What is the largest production budget for a project the director(s) has already completed?
    • Budget Feasibility and Contingency: Provide further context around the fundraising for the project. If fundraising goals are not met, what adjustments will be made to the project? If this project has a significantly larger budget than past projects, applicants should speak to their fundraising capacity to raise significantly more resources and manage such a budget.
  • (optional) Capacity, ½ page (250 words maximum). For those whose proposed project is in a new genre, represents a significant growth in production scale (including but not limited to crew/cast size, shooting schedule, multiple locations, etc.), or is a move from short form to long form (or vice versa), please explain the capacity to make this change. (½ page, word limit)
  • Script sample (for narrative films only): upload the first 10 pages of the proposed project script
    • Applicants still in the storyboarding phase without a script sample are encouraged to apply in a future round when the script has been completed.
    • For narrative projects, the script excerpt is required and allows the panel to gauge the quality of the writing and assess the applicant’s ability to create character, structure, rhythm, etc. in the first 10 pages.
    • If the applicant works in narrative film, but does not work from scripts and instead relies on an improvised process, directors must explain that process and submit an alternative to the script sample (possibly an improvisational structure or outline) that helps the panel assess the applicant’s skills in directing unscripted work.
  • Concept/storyboard/outline sample: (optional for animated, documentary, or experimental films). Upload a storyboard or outline or visual concept that helps panels gauge how the applicant is developing the project, providing a sense of character, structure, rhythm, visual concept, etc.

CONTACT INFO, DEMOGRAPHICS & ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION

  • Contact Information
  • Demographic Information: the Jerome Foundation values diversity in the broadest sense. We seek to support a diverse range of artists, including but not limited to those of diverse cultures, races, sexual identities, genders, generations, aesthetics, points of view, physical abilities, and missions. We gather demographic information as a means of assessing the diversity of our applicants. Application materials are accessed by Jerome staff and panelists and are otherwise kept confidential.
  • Eligibility Check: details establishing that the applicant has directed and completed two eligible non-student projects (title, year completed, running time, role(s) in the project)
  • Eligibility Declaration

Informational Webinar

Watch the informational webinar from February 21 below. You can also download a PDF of the speakers' notes to read the presentation.

Live Informational Sessions

Learn more about this program and ask your questions to Jerome staff at these in-person sessions. Staff will discuss eligibility, the application, and the selection criteria and process—and answer your questions.

MINNESOTA

This event took place Monday, March 11 from 6–8 pm Central Time at SPNN (550 Vandalia St, Suite 170, St. Paul, Minnesota 55114).

NEW YORK CITY

This event took place Wednesday, April 3 from 5–6 pm Eastern Time at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue at East 2nd Street, New York, NY 10003).

Contact Information

The Foundation encourages applicants to contact Foundation Staff to ask questions and to discuss potential applications.

Staff may also be contacted by telephone (651-224-9431) between 9 am and 4:30 pm Central Time, Mondays through Fridays (excepting holidays).

The Program

It depends on the panel, the amounts requested by the most competitive filmmakers and the number of projects the panels want to support. Generally, 5–8 grants are provided each round in Minnesota, and 13–18 in New York City.

In the most recent round, the Minnesota program received 41 applications, and five grants were awarded. The New York City program received 174 applications, and thirteen grants were awarded.

The Foundation has supported film projects since its founding in 1964. Please find information about Jerome-funded projects on our website.

The grantee search can also filter by year and Minnesota/New York City.

Eligibility

No. We hope the director will apply after the second project is completed.

The applicant might first take into consideration the production timeline. Will the director be able to draw the funds by October 31, 2021? If the director receives funds but does not use them, it will affect their ability to come back for additional production funds through this program or support via the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship.

Applicants will also want to consider the program schedule. While applicants can apply next year for a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, project applications in this program will next open in 2021. Consider whether the project be too far along the next time this program is available.

The Foundation supports directors working in multiple genres and the given our value around innovation and risk, applauds experimentation. The challenge for panels in such a situation is being able to appreciate whether the director has the skills and experience to move into a new form. Applicants should explain this in response to the Capacity application question. It is important for applicants to “connect the dots,” helping panelists appreciate how the past work should inspire such confidence. Applicants may also reinforce this in the Work Sample Context fields for each of the work samples.

The Foundation recognizes that the term “emerging” means different things to different people. In this program, applicants must have at least two completed projects in order to meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

The Foundation’s goal is to serve a spectrum of artists typically in their 3rd to 12th post-student (if applicable) year of creative practice as a director. This spectrum is framed by directors with some track record of creating and presenting full work (not beginning directors), and directors who are NOT at a point in their careers where they receive consistent development and production opportunities and significant recognition, awards, and acclaim (not mid-career or established artists).

The Foundation intentionally has not defined a more precise number of years in the field for eligibility, recognizing that some directors may experience enormous success and move past early career status well before their 5th year or 10th year or 12th year. We know that the numbers of opportunities afforded to directors may differ significantly based on discipline, race/ethnicity, class, gender, physical ability and geography among other factors. Consequently, some directors may be past their 12th year and still be on the spectrum of early career status. Our use of early career is an attempt to be clearer about the kinds of directors we are supporting. We realize the lack of a rigid definition leaves room for interpretation, but we have embraced this flexibility out of our value around diversity and in recognition of the many variables that impact directors’ careers.

Yes, but please pay special attention to the following factors in order to make sure the application is eligible.

The co-directors must have completed at least two non-student projects together as a directing team and must be sharing the responsibility of directing the proposed project. The directing team that directed all of the work samples must be identical in its entirety to those named as members of the directing team in the application. Projects completed individually or co-directed with anyone not applying as part of the co-directing team are not eligible work samples and will not be considered.

Each member of a co-directing team must meet all eligibility requirements in these guidelines. If the co-director team includes both New York City and Minnesota applicants, the application should be filed in the state where the majority of the team lives. If the co-director team is evenly split between New York City and Minnesota artists, the application should be filed in the program where the team will spend the majority of its working time together. Other individuals associated with the film (in producing, writing, crewing, or acting but not in co-directing) will not be recognized as a co-director.

No, these programs are only open to residents of Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City. Applicants who are not Minnesota or New York City residents will be deemed ineligible. Grantees who are no longer residents of Minnesota or New York City when the grant is awarded will be denied support. After—but only after a grant is awarded—a director may relocate to another area without the grant being rescinded. In this case, please remember to let the Foundation know your new location.

Directors are eligible to apply, if, and only if, the applicant has moved or will move to Minnesota from New York City or to New York City from Minnesota and all of their time as a resident for the last year was spent in a combination of Minnesota and New York City. Otherwise, the applicant is ineligible.

We understand that artists often travel for work and frequently are on the road. Directors are only eligible for these programs if they filed their federal taxes in both 2018 and 2019 in New York City and/or Minnesota, and plan to do so again in 2020.

No. The Foundation’s mission is to support directors who are living and working in our geographic funding areas.

Yes, as long the director has established their primary residency in the state of Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City and has established their residency for at least one year before applying, continue to claim a primary residency in those locations at present, and plan to continue residency in those locations through 2020.

While funds may be used to support productions costs that include fees to actors, producers, writers and crew, the applicant must be the film director(s). Actors, producers, writers and crew may not submit their own applications.

No. The programs only support independent work directed by the applicant. Jerome Foundation considers music videos to be industrial or commercial work and therefore are not eligible for support or appropriate for submission as work samples. If music videos are submitted as work samples, they will be removed from the application before the panel. If the applicant does not submit two eligible work samples, the application will be considered incomplete and removed from further consideration.

No. This program’s exclusive focus is moving image media, which includes narrative, experimental, documentary, and animation.

Yes. The panels have shown a great willingness to take on controversial subject matter and recommend grants to the Foundation's Board.

Yes, non-traditional venues are not an issue for the Foundation—in addition to work screened in movie theaters, festivals or broadcast channels, ranging from commercial to public access, the Foundation also supports online distribution/presentation. The Foundation does not support media work that is part of an installation/exhibition, unless the work is designed to be screened, broadcast or distributed as a film, video or digital production.

No, the program will only provide one grant per project.

Absolutely. That said, an applicant with a project that has been rejected by two or more different panels is strongly advised to seek feedback and counsel from staff before applying with the same project yet again.

No. This is an individual artist grant program and only individuals may apply.

Yes. However, directors may not use funds from the Fellowship and from this project grant to support the same costs.

The Application

No. Only work samples from projects that the applicant has directed may be submitted. If the applicant does not have at least two completed projects that they have directed, they are not yet eligible to apply for Jerome support.

In this time when filmmakers can self-produce and self-distribute their own work, panels are typically curious about whether an applicant has received additional support. Such support might take the form of grants, commissions, prizes, residencies, distribution, or selection for public screenings in a curated context. Include this information in the resume and, when relevant, in the Work Sample Description.

While having this kind of support is not a factor in determining eligibility for this program, applicants without any type of prior additional support have historically not been competitive in this program.

Resumes are a critical component of the evaluation. Resumes that are incomplete or confusing often lead the panel to reject the application, even before reviewing other components of the application and work samples. For specific information on what the resume must contain, see the “How to Apply” section for details and links to samples.

No, applicants may not exceed the limits, and the online application system will not allow the submission of an application when any fields have exceeded a word limit requirement. Past panels have often interpreted excessive explanations as an indication of lack of focus. Additionally, in a discipline where the ability to present “the pitch” is an important professional skill, the application seeks to encourage condensed, precise presentation as a way of increasing applicant skills.

No. A director may submit only one application per round, regardless of the number of projects they may be working on in the potential grant period. If a director submits an application as an individual, they cannot apply separately with a co-directing team. Nor can members of a co-directing team be a part of more than one application.

No. Panels are asked to make their judgments based on the work samples and materials as provided in the application. We believe the benefit these letters may offer is outweighed by the burden they place on applicants to request them, references to write them, and staff or applicants to make sure they have been submitted.

No. We ask busy professionals in the film/media/digital arts world to serve as panelists and to review more than 100 applications before identifying those artists they want to consider finalists to be discussed at the full panel meeting. Asking them to provide written critiques of each individual applicant they review would impose an enormous burden on their time and might compromise the quality of the panelists willing to serve.

At the panel meeting, staff take notes during discussions and subsequently provide feedback to the finalists who are discussed. You can indicate in the application whether you would like to receive that feedback if you are a finalist.

We will not, however, be able to offer non-finalists feedback on their applications, beyond a general sense of the meeting itself and general trends of what made applications more or less competitive.

We at the Jerome Foundation value transparency and are making greater and greater efforts to share the review process openly, adding additional information to our guidelines in each program as well as in the follow-up grantee and rejection letters, conducting webinars and convening community meetings.

We have, however, made a conscious decision to protect the confidentiality of panelists—a decision affirmed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, which is comprised of a majority of artists, women, and people of color. In assembling a panel, we work hard to capture the diversity of each field, in terms of identity, aesthetic expression, the many genres within a particular field, understanding of and relationship with early career artists, and geographic location. Panels are constructed to have delegations from either Minnesota or New York City, complemented by additional outsiders with important expertise or insight, and constructed to ensure that no single race or ethnicity constitutes a majority or even half of the panel.

Because so many panelists come from the very areas where applicants live, we are especially sensitive to the potential for a professional relationship to be strained when an unsuccessful applicant knows that a colleague, collaborator, presenter, or friend has been a panelist, especially if an applicant approaches a panelist wanting to discuss why she/he/they did not receive a grant.  It is out of concern for these relationships that we maintain the confidentiality of the panelists.

A comprehensive list of panelists we have used for past selection processes is available in order to provide a reference for the caliber of our panelists, even while we do not link a specific panelist to a specific program or year. The panel composition changes annually, so knowing the identity of the panel in a given year does not provide insight into who will serve in the next round.

Many artists have told us that seeing the roster of the grantees, not of the panelists, is the most helpful information in deciding whether they wish to apply again in a future round. Past grantees may also be viewed on our website.

Budgets

Yes. It is an allowable grant expense, and that fee should be included in the budget provided as part of the application.

Any budget, large or small, qualifies. Applicants are expected to submit a fundraising plan for their project. For larger budget films, it is helpful to reference the funding levels for past films as a demonstration of the ability to secure the funds needed to produce the project.

Yes. It is rare that a Jerome grant will be able to cover all production costs. When assessing feasibility, panelists look for evidence that the applicant has thought about where the remaining potential income will come from. We ask directors to include both committed and pending income sources in the project budget they upload to the application (noting whether they are secured, pending, applied for but not yet confirmed, or yet to be requested), and offer the opportunity to explain their plan and any contingencies.

Panels recognize that Jerome funding can, on occasion, be the first confirmed funding for a project and can then help secure or leverage additional funds. Secured funding, therefore, is not required.

At the same time, panels are charged with investing grant funds in viable projects that are likely to move forward. Providing a list of other secured and/or potential funds gives the panel an indication of how realistic planning for the project has been and how likely the project is to move forward. Projects with no backup funding sources or with inflated or unrealistic expectations about other contributions are unlikely to fare well in the review process.

Grant Payments

No. Eligible costs must be incurred after the grant is awarded.

Each grantee will be required to sign a grant agreement with the Foundation and submit a plan outlining intended use of grant funds before money can be released. We anticipate first funds will be distributed no earlier than October 31, 2019. Payments are made through direct deposit. Typically, the time necessary to process the contract and establish a direct deposit account takes a minimum of three weeks. The Jerome Foundation’s payment dates are the third Mondays of each month, excepting April when no payments are made. For the sake of planning, applicants should not expect to receive funds before November 15, 2019 at the earliest.

Yes, these grants are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service.  Grantees will receive 1099 forms in any year(s) in which grant funds are received. In addition, grantee names and city of residence are required to be listed in the Jerome Foundation’s annual tax return, which is a public document and is posted on the Foundation’s website.

If grantees prefer, a P.O. Box may be provided instead of a home address for the purposes of reporting.

Program History

Inspired by our founder, Jerome Hill, the Jerome Foundation has a long history of supporting filmmakers. In 1965, the Foundation made its first grant to an individual, filmmaker Stan Brakhage, in the form of an annual fellowship. Jerome Hill also initiated a long period of support for Jonas Mekas’ Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

In 1978, the Foundation’s support for emerging/early career filmmakers in New York City was launched as a structured, annual grant program, providing production funds to individuals through an open application and independent panel review process.

In 1980, the Foundation’s support for emerging/early career film and video artists in Minnesota was launched as a structured, annual grant program, operated by Film in the Cities through 1993, with an open application and independent review process. The program awarded production grants to individuals. Jerome Foundation began operating the program in 1994.

In 2014, the Foundation broadened its film and video production grant program to include digital works for virtual environments, open to artists working in the genres of experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation.

Jerome Hill with film reels, examining frames
Jerome Hill

About the Jerome Foundation

The Jerome Foundation honors the legacy, artistic interests and humanistic concerns of its founder, Jerome Hill—an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, painter, photographer, composer, and supporter of the arts and artists in the United States and Europe.

We seek to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by early career/emerging artists. The Foundation makes grants to early career artists and those nonprofit arts organizations that serve them in the state of Minnesota and the five boroughs of New York City.