Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Grants for Writing

OVERVIEW: This funder supports projects that encourage filmmaking, promote the film industry, and contribute to an understanding and appreciation of motion pictures.

IP TAKE: The Academy prioritizes funding for projects that promote diversity and highlight the role of underrepresented groups in film. Grant seekers will want their project to align with this initiative.

PROFILE: Created in 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded by Louis B. Mayer and other influential members of the film industry. It is most widely known as the organization that hosts the Oscars and presents the Academy Awards each year. As an organization, the Academy seeks to “recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.” It makes grants to support filmmaking and filmmakers, promote an appreciation of motion pictures, and further an understanding of the production process.

FilmWatch grants support film festivals, film societies, and other organizations featuring curated screening programs in North America. The Academy prioritizes funding for programs “that create culturally diverse viewing experiences, promote motion pictures as an art form, provide a platform for underrepresented artists, and cultivate new and dedicated audiences for theatrical film.” Selected programs must be completed within the calendar year. Apply here.

FilmCraft grants support educational programs that promote burgeoning filmmakers with “nontraditional backgrounds.” The grants prioritize programs that encourage film appreciation and programs that allow for hands-on learning. Funded programs include craft workshops, artist residencies, and training programs. FilmCraft only supports nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations with a minimum three-year history with film programs.

Academy Film Scholars grants support established film scholars seeking to complete a new work of film scholarship. Applicants must have at least one published book. The Academy prioritizes proposals that examine underrepresented elements of the film industry. Current students are ineligible. To apply, grant seekers should submit a project statement, bibliography, and curriculum vitae, Apply here.

Created in 1985, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition funds up to five screenwriting fellowships of $35,000. Only amateur screenwriters, who have not earned more than $25,000 writing for film or television, are eligible. Applicants must submit a feature length screenplay, the entry fee, and complete the online application to apply. The submitted screenplay should be between 70 and 160 pages; however, the foundation strongly suggests the true page count should range from 80 to 125 pages, and “scripts exceeding 125 pages may have their length counted against them.” Applicants are allowed to submit up to 3 scripts in a grant cycle. The Academy will ask finalists to write to the fellowship committee explaining “the writer’s personal and professional interests” if selected. View past grantees here and winning scripts here.

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