Criteria &

2021 New York City Film, Video and Digital Production Grant

The purpose of this page is:

  • to allow you to see the questions in the application before you complete the online application in Submittable;
  • to connect the application questions to the review criteria used by panelists;
  • to define the review criteria that panelists will use;
  • and to inform you about how the panel review process works.

About You/Project Basics

  • Individual
  • Co-Directing Team
  • Experimental
  • Animated
  • Narrative
  • Documentary
  • Combination of these forms (please describe)

(e.g., Digital, 16mm, 35mm, etc.)

(recommended length: 50 words)

  • Pre-production
  • Currently in production
  • Post-production
  • Distribution
  • On hiatus from production
  • Other: please specify

Artistic Merit


In the application, you must provide a minimum of 2 and maximum of 3 work samples with a combined total of 10-minutes for 2 samples or 12-minutes for 3 samples. Each sample must come from a different work, must be one continuous sequence per sample, and must adhere to the following rules:

  1. Two work samples must be from completed (versus rough cuts or works-in-progress) works that you have conceived and generated as a director.
  2. A third (and optional) work sample may be submitted of a work-in-progress of the project proposed in this application—if you have begun production and can provide a sample that is a good representation of the artistic level to which your project aspires. Only those applicants who are submitting work-in-progress footage of the project in this application may submit a third work sample.
  3. A script sample from the proposed project is required for narrative films only: upload the first 10 pages of the proposed project script.
  • The script excerpt allows the panel to gauge the quality of the writing and assess your ability to create character, structure, rhythm, etc.
  • If you work in narrative film but do not work from scripts and instead rely on an improvised process, you must explain that process and submit an alternative to the script sample (possibly an improvisational structure or outline) that helps the panel assess your skills in directing unscripted work. You are also strongly encouraged to make sure that one of your work samples is from an improvised work, if possible.
  • If you are still in the storyboarding phase, work from a finished script and do not have a script sample, you are encouraged to apply in a future round when the script has been completed.
  1. A concept, storyboard or project outline may be provided, but is not required, for filmmakers working in animation, documentary, or experimental films. You have the option to upload a storyboard or outline or visual concept that helps panelists gauge how you are developing the project, characters, structure, rhythm, visual concept, etc.


Work sample time maximum:

Identify one start and end cue point per work sample for the panel to watch. These cued sections are up to 10 minutes total for the 2 required work samples combined (not 10 minutes per work sample). If you have a third work sample, you may identify up to 12 minutes combined total across all three work samples (not 12 minutes per work sample).

For example, you may submit one 5-minute sample of a completed and publicly screened work, a 4-minute sample of a different work, and a 3-minute section from the work in progress for which you are applying.

General work sample rules
  • Submit links to the full-length work and provide a start and end cue point within the work for the panel to watch.
  • Submit your works in the order in which you would like them to be viewed. We recommend starting with your strongest work sample. Panelists want to see a range of work demonstrating development over time, dedication to the field, craft and potential.
  • Panels prefer work created within the last 3 years. Older samples may be submitted with an explanation in the “work sample context” field.
  • If applying as an individual, you 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 you are the performer, writer, editor, producer, etc., —but are not the director—are also not eligible.
  • If applying as a co-directing team, those listed in the application must share co-directing credits on every work sample, and the co-directing team must be consistent for all samples (i.e., the composition of the team cannot change even if additional directors are not part of the application). You may not submit works you or your colleague(s) directed individually, directed without you, or directed with additional other people.
  • A note regarding episodic or web series: do not use the same episode or web series for both work samples, even if they are different episodes. The panel wants to see a range of work.
  • Do not submit promotional videos, music videos, work created during a degree granting program, proofs of concept, trailers, reels, or interviews. Panels prefer to see real-time sequences of work.
Ineligible work samples include:
  • work that you produced or edited or acted in and did not direct
  • industrials
  • projects created for team-based or 24–72 hour, short-term fest projects, such as 24 Hour Film Slam, 48 Hour Film Fest, 72 Film Fest
  • commercial or non-commercial work-for-hire that you created at the direction of a client or producer, and for which you do not have creative control, even if this is commissioned work
  • any work for which you do not have primary creative control
  • episodic or web-based series for which you are not the creator and director
  • news or video clips produced for journalistic purposes

Jerome staff will assess whether your work samples are eligible for the panel to view. If your application does not contain work samples from two different eligible works, the panel will not have enough information to gauge the merit of your work. As a result, your application will be considered incomplete and removed from further consideration.

For each work sample in the application, you will provide the following required information:

  • provide a link to the full-length work if possible. This provides panelists the opportunity to view more of the work if they so choose.
  • Vimeo password, if applicable
  • Name of the Work
  • Date Completed
  • If the work has been screened, when and where it was screened
  • If your only role was as the director, enter “director”

    • If you played multiple roles, list all of the roles you played in the creation of the work. For example, “camera operator, editor, actor, producer.”
  • Indicate your start and stop time for the excerpt (e.g., “Start at 3:30 and end at 8:00”). If no start and stop time is provided, panelists will begin watching at the beginning and will have full discretion of when to stop viewing.
  • Do not submit more than one sequence/cue point per work (e.g., Do not say “Start at 1:00 to 1:30 then jump to 2:45 to 3:45”—panelists want to see uninterrupted sequences of work in real time).
  • If you are submitting only two samples, the total time of your excerpts for both samples combined is 10 minutes (not 10 minutes per work). If you are submitting a third work in progress sample from the project for which support is requested, the total time of your excerpts is 12 minutes combined across all three work samples (not 12 minutes per work).
  • Provide up to 150 words (recommended length) to give panelists a context for what they are watching. This can include a brief description of the entire work, information about sections of the work occurring either before or after your clip that you want them to know, or your intentions and goals in creating the piece.
  • If your requested project is for a different kind of work than the sample, please direct the panel’s attention to the elements of the sample that will give them confidence you can undertake a new kind of work.
  • Given the panelist preference for recent work, if you are submitting work samples that are older than 3 years, please explain why.

Artistic Merit Questions

(recommended maximum length: 800 words)

This question asks “what” the story or content is and “how” are you telling the story or structuring the content. We recommend you address the below prompts in your response:

  • What is the story/content and story/content structure?
  • What themes, characters, plot points, and narrative trajectories or questions are you working with?
  • How are you telling this story or structuring the content? What is your vision for the visual style, look and feel of the finished work?
  • Explain the intended use of cinematic language or any particular artistic approaches that informs the work.

(recommended maximum length: 200 words)

  • What is your artistic lineage? Who are the film or video directors, mentors, artistic communities, organizations, peers or creative practices that inspire or influence your work?
  • Are there specific subject areas or aesthetic styles that you embrace?

(recommended maximum length: 200 words)

How does your work expand ways of working, ask questions, and inspire new ways of imagining, whether by creating new forms of expression or by adding a unique artistic voice to deepen and inform established traditions?

In looking at the work samples in combination with your answers to the questions, the panel will assess if there an alignment between the aims of the work and how that is demonstrated in the work.


(recommended maximum length: 200 words)

  • Who are the specific communities, participants and/or audience(s) (whether social or aesthetic) you seek to engage, inspire, and impact through your work?
  • What is your relationship with or connection to them and what is the desired impact?
  • Do you have producing partners or community collaborators in the community? Please explain.

»    For documentary and narrative filmmakers: Discuss the relationships and partnerships with any communities or organizations connected to the project. How have these relationships informed the project’s development?

Resumes must be current and complete. Bios are not acceptable. The resume is your chance to present your background, experience and accomplishments to the panel and confirm your status as an early career film, video or digital production director (as defined in the guidelines) with a history of ultimate creative control over projects. For that reason, you need to be specific about film, video or digital production titles, length, year of completion, and your specific role on each project in order to clearly establish your eligibility. Applicants whose resumes are incomplete or do not clearly include this required information will be considered ineligible for further consideration.


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 one completed work supported by a presenting organization (e.g., film festival or screening series) or funder, the resume should clearly list at least one completed and screened work directed by the you alone (or as co-directors if applying as a co-directing team). Resumes that leave the panel uncertain about how many projects (and which ones) you have actually directed will render the application ineligible.

Co-directing teams are 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 at least one completed and screened film directed by the co-directing team.

You may include additional artistic experience as an editor, actor, producer, teacher, etc. in a separate list on your resume.

Resumes should contain dates for film, video and digital credits, running times, and clear indications of what your 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.

List the years spent in a degree-granting program, identifying the educational institution, the graduation date or the dates enrolled in the program.

»    View a sample individual filmmaker resume

»    View a sample composite resume (for co-directing teams)


Are you serving multiple roles beyond conceiving, creating and directing the project? If so, please explain.

(recommended maximum length: 250 words)

  • What is the current status of the project? What stage of production are you in?
  • Outline the production timeline from the project’s current state to the anticipated completion date—when do you plan to start production, and when will production finish? What is the estimated completion date for the project?

(producer, editor, director of photography, composer, etc.)

Films of any financial scale are eligible.

Because some films have budgets that are larger than $30,000 and because panels may not award the full amount requested, we ask all applicants to identify additional secured and/or potential sources of income for the project in the detailed budget even if the total budget is less than $30,000.

(recommended maximum length: 250 words)

  • What is the fundraising status for the project? How much of the funding has been secured? How much has been requested but not secured? How much is yet to be requested? (Because film budgets may exceed grant amounts, either because of scale or because the panel recommends less than you have requested, all directors are asked to identify additional secured and/or potential sources of income or the project as an indicator of feasibility for the project to be completed. Individual donors or supporters do not need to be specifically identified.)
  • What is the largest production budget for a project you (or the co-directing team) have completed? If this project has a significantly larger budget than past projects, what adjustments will you make if you have funding issues? Will you change the scale or certain elements of the budget or you extend the timeline to fundraise, etc.?

(recommended maximum length: 250 words) (optional)

Are you working in a new genre or working with a larger cast/crew/budget? Are you managing multiple locations or working with new artistic techniques? Are you moving from short form to long form (or vice versa)? What strategies do you have to manage this new scale or different form?

Additional Questions

(recommended maximum length: 250 words or two minutes of video)

Applicants can choose to respond in writing or by uploading a short video. If using video, this may be a phone recording. This is not an artistic sample or a chance to include another work sample—we provide the option of video as an alternative to writing. Refer to the Program Overview for the Foundation’s definition of “early career.”

Please remember that need is not a criterion; do not use this opportunity to explain why you need a grant.

Demographic & Contact Information

Jerome Foundation seeks to be inclusive and accessible to all individuals and serve a diverse range of artists. For this reason, we request information about your identity to help us know whether this program is achieving its objectives.

We first ask you to self-describe in the way that is most powerful and relevant for you. We invite you to share the words you use to more fully communicate who you are and your experiences. This might include but is not limited to how you position yourself in terms of cultural, socio-political, geographic, class, education, health, citizenship, immigrant/refugee, ideological, language, parental status, marital status, rural/urban, and/or spiritual/religious background. Do not feel you have to address each of these.

We then have more standard, often broader checkbox questions around race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and age that allows us to understand you compared to the data available for the geographic areas in which we fund. We ask for your participation in both the self-description and in completing the checkboxes.

(recommended maximum length: 100 words)

If you do not wish to share this information, you are welcome to skip this question or enter “Decline to state.”

  • Multi-racial or Multi-ethnic descent
  • Native American, Alaskan Native or Indigenous peoples
  • African descent/Diaspora
  • Southern African descent
  • Central African descent
  • East African descent
  • North African descent
  • West African descent
  • Caribbean descent
  • North American descent
  • Central American descent
  • South American descent
  • Central Asian descent
  • East Asian descent
  • South Asian descent
  • Southeast Asian descent
  • Middle Eastern /Southwest Asian descent
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Island descent
  • Latinx descent
  • European descent
  • Decline to state
  • Prefer to self-identify

Examples: Dakota-Shakopee Mdewakanton, Honduran, Azeri/Persian, Puerto Rican, Nigerian, Hmong, Thai, Scots-Irish, Russian Jewish descent, Laotian, Chicano, Italian, Rural/Remote resident, Yupik, Haitian and Creole, Norwegian, decline to state, I don’t know, etc.)

  • Female
  • Gender non-confirming/non-binary
  • Gender fluid
  • Male
  • Two Spirit
  • Decline to State
  • Prefer to self-identify
  • Yes
  • No
  • Decline to state
  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay
  • Queer
  • Lesbian
  • Pansexual
  • Bisexual
  • Demisexual
  • Asexual
  • Same Gender-Loving
  • Decline to state
  • Prefer to self-identify
  • Under 25
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65-74
  • 75 or older
  • Decline to state

This will be used to verify your eligibility. Your legal residence is defined by the address you use when filing your federal taxes. PO boxes are not acceptable at this stage, but can be submitted if awarded a grant.

Temporary Residence: If you are staying at a temporary address due to COVID or a work opportunity or artistic residency or fellowship, etc., please share that address as well and provide some idea of dates when you will be at this location.

  • Google or other web search
  • Jerome email or website
  • Jerome staff or in-person event
  • Referral from other website
  • Referral from a colleague
  • Social media
  • Previous applicant or grantee
  • Other (please specify)

Before you submit your application, we ask each applicant to verify eligibility and affirm the information provided in the application is complete and true. 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.

  • Eligibility check: list two completed film or video works, at least one of which has been supported by a presenting organization (e.g., film festival or screening series) or funder (for a project grant from either a foundation or a federal, state or local arts agency). This includes work that has been featured in online screening platforms as long as there is a competitive selection process. You will provide the title, year completed, running time, your role(s) in the project and who supported the work (either a presenting organization or funder).
  • By submitting this application, I am affirming the following:
    • All information in this application is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge.
    • I hold the intellectual property rights for the work samples provided in the application. If applying as co-directors, I am authorized to submit the work samples provided.

Please note that all correspondence regarding your application’s status will be done via Submittable, using the email address connected to your Submittable account.

Panelists consider only the following criteria:

Artistic Merit

1. Artistic Merit

The following factors all are considered when assessing artistic merit (meaning both artistic achievement and artistic potential):

  • Distinctive and authentic artistic “voice”
  • Bold and risk-taking approach—deepening or expanding the form, aesthetic or social experience
  • Technical proficiency, rigor and a skillful level of craft and execution
  • Effective and engaging use of structure, rhythm, aesthetics, cinematography, etc., to convey substance and meaning
  • Creative, original, imaginative and memorable content
  • Established relationship with or connection to subjects/subject matter and audiences

Panelists rely primarily on the work samples, project description and your understanding of creative community and innovation/risk or deepening/expansion of form as indicators of the artistic merit.

2. 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 director’s and/or the project’s potential impact on the larger field or community aesthetically or socially. The panel will assess whether the director has a clear idea of the audience or community for the project and how to reach them. The application questions on timeliness and relevance as well as the filmmaker’s self-assessment of their work along with the resume will be used to assess this criterion.

The resume provides context for your production experience and work with specific formats and subject matter. Work samples are also referenced in the discussion of your 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: is considered in the broadest sense. The Foundation supports 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, languages, physical abilities, and missions. We support a diverse range of artistic disciplines and forms, created in a variety of contexts and for different audiences or communities, and a diverse range of early career artists.
  • Innovation/Risk: reflect the Foundation’s interest in supporting artists from diverse backgrounds and experiences who are expanding ways of working, asking questions, and inspiring new ways of imagining, whether by creating new forms of expression or by adding a unique artistic voice to deepen and expand established traditions. The Foundation applauds unconventional approaches to solving problems and supports artists that challenge and engage the traditional aesthetic and/or social dimensions of their respective disciplines.
  • Humility is the Foundation’s aspiration to support artists who embrace their roles as part of a larger community of artists and citizens, and who consciously works with a sense of purpose, whether aesthetic, social or both. The Foundation works for artists (rather than the reverse) and believe that artists are the best authorities to define their needs and challenges—an essential humility reflective of Jerome Hill, our founder.

3. 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 questions in the Budget and Feasibility section.

Directors whose project represents an attempt to move into a new form should explain the reasons for wanting to make this move as well as their capacity to do so by responding to this direct question in the application. You are also encouraged to use the Work Sample Context field to explain how your work samples might be indicators of your 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 production team or 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.

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


The Jerome Foundation staff first pre-screens applications to verify eligibility, relying on the work samples and resume. Staff will not perform any additional research, including on IMDb or applicant websites to verify eligibility.

Applicants who do not identify at least one eligible completed past project 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.


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. If the Foundation receives a large number of eligible applications, these applications may be divided among panelists for review.  Each application will, however, be reviewed by a minimum of three panelists.

Through this review, panelists identify a group of finalists to be discussed at a full day panel meeting where they will arrive at a collective set of recommendations.


Panels meet for a full day and are charged with recommending a roster of grantees and alternates to the Jerome Foundation Board of Directors. The panel convened in this program will review only the New York City applicants. A different panel will consider applicants from Minnesota.


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