Film festivals, grants and funding, writing a film budget, creating a cv, maintaining a website, internships

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Film Festivals

Below is a list of film festivals and websites that have additional lists of film festivals. Almost every major city has a film festival. They are all looking for films and videos.

As a filmmaker, you want to make sure that the festival you’re sending your film to for consideration is one that makes sense in terms of your work.

For example, there are 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 easy to find online.

Tribeca Film Festival submissions overview

Brooklyn Film Festival

Mono No Aware 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

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.

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

Sundance Feature Films Program – Screenwriter’s Lab, Director’s Lab, and more  – Development Track

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

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 external hard drive so you can easily access them
  2. Keep your entire Digital Editing Project Folder for each of your films.
  3. Create a high quality, high res version of each of your films (export as Apple Pro Res 422HQ)
  4. Create lower res (H.264) exports for YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive etc.; also for handing out to people and sending to film festivals and granting agencies
  5. Sign up for a free Vimeo account and upload your best work to a Vimeo channel. Write short clear descriptions for each project and include credits for anyone who participated, including music credits
  6. Sign up for YouTube and upload work
  7. Create a web portfolio, embed your YouTube and 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
  8. Create a cv/resume and save it in a folder on your external drive; keep it updated; upload it to your site. Keep personal contact info limited to websites and email addresses – don’t include your street address or phone number on your online cv
  9. Write an artist statement and save it in a folder on your external drive. This should be about one page long and should describe your general interests (film/video, cultural, topical, thematic), what genres you create work in, any maker’s who’s work you feel an affinity towards, what your current specific interests are. You’ll be updating this with a few lines about what your current project is every time someone asks for it
  10. Create a demo reel (.mov or .mp4 file) and keep it handy (on your external drive). Put only the best moments of each project on your demo reel – excerpt a minute max from each film, with lower-third text showing the title and year over the first five seconds of each new excerpt
  11. Keep a file folder of film stills (jpegs) so that you have them handy in case a festival asks for stills for their catalogue. Put these on your website, too. They make good header images and can liven up your site
  12. Send out an email to let people know you have a new website showing your work
  13. Put links to your site on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else people will see it
  14. Put links to your YouTube and Vimeo channels on your website
  15. Submit your film to film festivals. Read the descriptions that film festivals put on their websites and make sure the festival is for you. Some festivals are topic-oriented, some are for/about specific groups or interests
  16. Create a separate 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. Link this to your regular website and to your YouTube and Vimeo channels
  17. Start visiting local independent screening venues to see the kind of independent films that are getting screened.
  18. 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. Attend panel discussions and see films where the director speaks before or after the screening
  19. Start showing your work. If you can’t find a venue right now, create one and invite others to participate, publicize it on social media and via email, and invite people to come. Get someone to write about it and post it.
  20. Put each screening on your cv. Put the review post link on your website and put the review on your cv.

Funding: 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 $100,000-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 supplies
Media – 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, cards, posters etc.

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 total amount requested.

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

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  (such as Camera, Sound, Lighting, Locations, Art Dept, Production Stills, etc.)
b. Specifics (such as Fees and Permits, Wardrobe, Photographer, etc.)
c. Costs (e.g. Camera – 1 week @ $675/week)

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

List a Total, or Grand Total amount of the entire budget, Production + Post-production
List total of funds already raised/received and in-kind amounts (things – such as loan of camera – and services – such as use of a car – you got for free that have a market value)
Translate in-kind services to a monetary value based on what any of those things or 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. Use 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. 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 the item cost for a light kit, so that you’re listing an amount that falls between the lowest and highest amount for equipment.

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, this quote is 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. This makes it clear that you are pro-active about finding what you need to create your film and shows that other interested parties are already involved in the process.

Look for in-kind services from talented friends. If you know a stylist or designer, offer them a credit in your film. Their service gets listed in the budget under “Funding Secured.” The amount of this type of secured funding would be whatever your friend would normally charge for their service or skills, or whatever the going market rate is – remember, choose the middle path, not the highest and not the lowest amount.

If you receive 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 would list for the item’s cost if you were paying for it.

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 edit your film, list the value of that residency as $4,000 under Funding Secured.

Funding Secured includes any grants, funds from crowd-sourcing, residencies that have supplied space for screenwriting or pre-production, or equipment for shooting or editing, contributions from individuals, 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”

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)

Local Places & Opportunities to Know About and Visit

Filmmaker’s Cooperative, 475 Park Ave South, 6th Floor NY, NY 10016

Millennium Film Workshop, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at 2nd St.), NY, NY 10003

Union Docs, Center for Documentary Art, 322 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
NY 11211

Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2BBrooklyn, NY 11237

Mono No Aware, Brooklyn


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

The New School’s Internships web page is at

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.

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. 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.



More from Viacom

Others include:


From NYC,gov:

Reel Jobs NYC

PA Training Program


Pledge Music Internships

CBS Internships