Film festivals, film budgets, grants, crowd-sourced funding, internships – what’s next?

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Film Festivals

Below is a list of film festivals and sites that list film festivals. Almost every major city has a film festival. They are all looking for films and videos. There are also many topic- or demographic-specific festivals such as LGBT, Jewish, Native American, Documentary, Experimental, Black, Asian, African, Indian, Short Films, Animation, etc. Too numerous to list here, but not hard to find online.

Below is a sampling.

Tribeca Film Festival submissions overview

Brooklyn Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Independent Film Festival Boston

Coney Island Film Festival

Austin Film Festival

Video Art and Experimental Film Festival

LA Independent Film Festival

SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival, Austin

Seattle International Film Festival

Toronto Independent Film Festival

Provincetown International Film Festival

Mix New York Queer Experimental Film Festival

American Black Film Festival

Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Berlin International Film Festival

Black Maria Film and Video Festival

MovieMaker Magazine guide 2017

List of festivals with approaching submission deadlines

The Beat (blog) – List of film festivals to submit work to

you send in your film,

  • Make sure the festival is geared towards the work you want to submit.
  • Read the festival submission guidelines carefully.
  • Send exactly what they ask you for – nothing more, nothing less.
  • If you have a question, email them.
  • Don’t waste money on sending your film to the wrong type of festival.
  • If it’s already past the festival deadline, make a note of the festival for next year and add it to your list of festivals and deadlines.
  • Remember, some/most festivals have an entry fee of $25 – $75.

Grants and Fellowships for artists and film/videomakers

Read the application guidelines carefully. Full-time and degree students are often not eligible for grants outside of schools and universities. If you’re not sure, call or email the funder.

Google “grants for artists” or “film grants” or “film video residencies” or “grants for media” to find both government and non-government funding sources.

The Jerome Foundation, grants for emerging artists/filmmakers

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), grants to individual artists/filmmakers
Apply for a NYFA grant and also follow the Resources link > NYFA Source for lists of grants, including scholarships for students

New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)

Guggenheim Foundation

Roy W. Dean Grant

Assets for Artists

German Academic Exchange Service – scholarships and fellowships for research, study, and creating new work

Res Artis – listing of international artist residencies

List of Fellowships, Grants, Residencies on the CalArts Website

Grantspace, The Foundation Center NYC

Documentary Film Funding, POV, PBS


New Media/Web Funding, POV, PBS

Film Grants Directory,
This site also has a link to info on how to write a film proposal

University Film & Video Association, Grants & Scholarships

College Art Association, Opportunities

Film Festival, Funding, and Job Applications to do list:

  1. Keep all of your videos/films on the same hard drive so you can easily access them
  2. Create a high quality, high res version of each of your films (export as Apple Pro Res 422HQ, for instance)
  3. Create lower res (H.264) exports for Youtube and Vimeo
  4. Sign up for a free Vimeo account and upload your best work to a Vimeo page. Write short clear descriptions for each project and include relevant credits for anyone who participated, including music credits.
  5. Sign up for Youtube and upload work there, too
  6. Create a web portfolio, embed your Youtube/Vimeo films on a ‘films/work’ page, include brief descriptions for each, list any other kind of creative or tech work you do, and add links to your cv. Update your portfolio site regularly
  7. Create a cv/resume; keep it updated; upload it to your site. Keep contact info limited to websites and email addresses – don’t include your street address or phone number on your online cv, e.g.
  8. Write an artist statement. This can be one page long and should describe your general interests (film/video, cultural, topical), what genres you create work in, any other artists who’s work you feel an affinity towards, what your current specific interests are.
  9. Create a demo reel (.mov or .mp4 file) and keep it handy. Put only the best moments of any project on your demo reel – excerpt a minute or two max from each film/video, with lower-third text showing the title and year over the first five seconds of each new excerpt.
  10. Keep a file folder of jpegs/film stills so that you have some handy if a festival asks for stills for their catalogue. Put these on your website, too. They make nice header images
  11. Send out an email to let people know you have a new website showing your work
  12. Put links to your site on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else people will see it
  13. Submit your film to film festivals – read the descriptions they put on their website and make sure the festival is for you. Some festivals are topic-oriented, some are for/about specific groups or interests, some are only for documentary work etc.
  14. Create a website for any film you are submitting to festivals. Include info about yourself, your cast and crew, description of the film, and a trailer or clip. Don’t spend money on a new website – use WordPress or another free platform
  15. Start visiting local screening places to see what’s they’re screening. Brooklyn and Manhattan have good independent movie houses and screening venues
  16. Attend film festival screenings to see what goes on at film festivals, what kind of work is being shown, and to pick up all kinds of tips, lists, leaflets etc.
  17. Start showing your work – if you can’t find a venue right now, create one and invite others to participate, create a Facebook page for it, and invite people to come

How to Create a Budget for a New Film Project

Sample budget templates & sample budgets:

Budget Template

Film budgets list costs of pre-production, production, and post-production, and are based partly on reality and partly on fantasy. The reality part is that for every item you list on your budget, you must have a reasonable need for it and you must list a reasonable proposed cost. The fantasy part is that you don’t actually know everything you’ll need or where you’ll get it from, so the budget presents a best-case, yet common sense, scenario.

When asking for funding, you may be seeking funds for only a small part of your production. You may be asked for an entire budget amount, however, so it is best to work out a complete budget before you look for funds.

That said, gear your budget to the kind of project and the kind of funding you are seeking. Do not ask the New York State Council on the Arts, which may give grants of about $15,000 to selected media artists, for funding on a $1,000,000-budgeted project. It will not seem realistic, and will actually not be realistic.

Gear your budget to both the project at hand, i.e. don’t ask for too much or for too little, and the funder. If they say they have grants for $3000, give them budget items that total $3000. – not more, and not less. A few dollars makes no difference, but a few hundred will make a difference. This smaller budget would reflect only a part of your costs. The funder may ask for a total budget, or they may leave it at that, and ask for a budget of what their funds would cover.

Tailor your budget to your project.
Sample Budget items – you’ll have some of these items in your budget, but not always all of them:

Movie rights
Music rights
Salaries/honorariums: Producer, Director, DP, Cameraperson, Sound, Gaffer, Grip, PA, Cast
Travel costs: car/truck rental, gas, airfare, etc.
Hotel & Lodging
Camera kit, purchase or rental
Sound kit
Location fees, shooting permits
Props and wardrobe
Hair & Makeup
Office expenses: supplies, websites
Media supplies: film or digital media
Lab, if shooting film
Production insurance
Editing – rough edit
Stills, photos
Web Developer
Final post-production, final cut, color correction, titles, audio sweetening, audio mix
Contingency (10% of costs of above)
Marketing: festival fees, social media

Note:  As producer/director, it is expected that your own salary will be part of your budget if you are asking for a substantial amount (over $10,000). Pay yourself a salary of 10% of the amount requested.

How to write a budget
Divide your costs into two areas: Production and Post-production
List pre-production (script, rights, music) and salary costs as “Production” expenses
List editing, final cut, marketing, festival fees etc. as Post-production

Production expenses can be further divided into “Above the Line” (Script, rights, salaries) and “Production” (all other production costs)

Post-production expenses can be further divided into “Post-production” and “Distribution” (festival fees, marketing, shipping)

Divide your budget costs into three columns:
a. Category (e.g. Camera, Sound, Lighting, Locations, Art Dept, Production Stills)
b. Specifics (e.g. kit items, fees and permits, wardrobe, photographer)
c. Costs (e.g. camera – 1 week @ $675/week)

Add up and list a Subtotal for Production Budget
Add up and list a Subtotal for Post-production Budget

List a Total, or Grand Total amount of the entire budget
And list total of funds already raised/received and in-kind amounts
Translate in-kind services to a monetary value based on what any free services would cost if you were to pay for them.


Where do I find the costs to enter into my budget?
Visit the websites of places in or near the locations where you will be working. If you’re in New York, find a few places that rent equipment and compare prices for the kinds of equipment you will be listing in your budget. come up with an average amount for each item based on the range of current rates. Do not put the highest or the lowest amounts in your budget – either of these will seem unrealistic and make it look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Choose the middle path, always, when writing a budget.

For example, Hello World Communications in Chelsea rents light kits on a weekly basis from between $275 and $525. They also rent expensive individual lights that may cost about $450 per week. Go for the light kit and not the individual light, and list $400 as item cost for lights.

For each item, find a couple of local suppliers, see what their prices are online or call them and ask. This goes for car rental, catering, a stylist – every item on your budget list.

Production Insurance
You can buy short-term insurance for your production shoots. If you’re shooting in NYC with a permit, you are required to have insurance. Here is the page on film project insurance, including a list of insurers:

For student films, quote from the site:

Student Films: Students must obtain a letter from their school, on the school’s letterhead, stating the student’s name, their status as a student (i.e. full-time, in good standing) the date(s) of the shoot and the signature of the appropriate representative from the school. For students whose schools are located outside of New York City, please check with our office to see if your school’s insurance is on file with us.

Fractured Atlas is a not-for-profit organization that has services, including insurance, for freelancers, including artists and filmmakers. You have to join to get their services.

Fractured Atlas is at

Production insurance can be purchased for just the amount of time you are shooting – a few days or a week, for example. It is basic liability insurance that covers equipment and people as well as locations.

In-kind Funds, Services & Other Sources of Funding
If you’re applying for a grant or public funding for your film project, it’s important to include in your budget any funds or services you’ve already received.

If you’ve received funding or any offers of free assistance from any source, list this in a “Funding Secured” row, after your budget totals have been listed. The dollar value of in-kind assistance is the same amount you list for the item’s cost.

For example, if your editing budget is $4,000, and you were given a week to edit for free from an artist’s residency program where you will completely edit your piece, list the value of that residency as $4,000 under Funding Secured.

Funding Secured includes any grants, funds from crowd-sourcing, residencies that supplied space (for scriptwriting) or equipment for shooting or editing, individual contributions, or any in-kind offers of equipment, the loan of a car or truck, waiver of location fees, free food for production shoots etc.

Crowd-sourced funding

“10 Best Crowdfunding Sites for Movies”

“4 Top Crowdfunding Sites for Film, Video & Web Series”

“Indiewire’s Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding for Filmmakers”

Kickstarter Tips for Sharing Your Project

“Six Tips from Kickstarter on How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign”

“Essential Tips for Running an Indiegogo Campaign, Part I” (with a link to Part 2)


The New School
Contact Lisa Romeo <> who handles internships for the university.

Some internships are unpaid. Don’t accept an unpaid internship unless the jobs or assignments given are in actual production or post-production. In other words, don’t accept a film internship where you are going to be placed in an office if what you want is to work on a production.

If you are asked to provide a letter of recommendation, ask a recent teacher or employer who is likely to give you a good recommendation. Make sure you give them all the details: name and address of the company, proposed internship title or position, and application deadline.

Login to The New School and check The New School Daily Digest at, which lists jobs and internships. Occasionally, there is a listing for production or post-production.

Contact local production studios and media outlets to see if they are looking for interns. lists local film and TV production internships, some of which are paid:,-NY-jobs.html

Viacom lists internships as well. These include positions with BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, comedy Central, VH-1 etc.



Comedy Central

More from Viacom

Others include:


From NYC,gov:

Reel Jobs NYC

PA Training Program


Pledge Music Internships

CBS Internships

If you know a place and are interested in working there, contact them – email, call, visit – and ask if they are looking for interns. Make sure the internship is for some aspect of production, and not working in the office, if what you want and need is experience on the production team.