Doc Society: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: Doc Society, formerly the Britdoc Foundation, offers grants to documentary filmmakers who spotlight unreported and underreported issues; it also offers awards for creative storytellers.

IP TAKE: Doc Society’s programs have varying guidelines. Grant seekers should study these guidelines to find the program that best suits their work.

PROFILE: Founded in 2005, Doc Society (formerly called Britdoc) supports documentary films and connects them to global audiences. It seeks to “bring people together to unleash the transformational power of documentary film” and “stand in solidarity with filmmakers and work to unite them with new friends and allies, building new models globally.” Based in London and New York, this foundation has several funding options for documentary filmmakers.

First is the BFI Doc Society Fund, which seeks to “develop storytellers from all parts of the country and all communities, backing feature projects with bold cultural and social ambitions.” Films must pass BFI’s Cultural Test in order to receive funding. Submissions are accepted three times per year.

Next is the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund, which supports long-form feature journalistic documentaries that draw attention to unreported and underreported issues. This grant program is a partnership between Doc Society and the Bertha Foundation. Grant amounts range from £5,000 to £50,000. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Pulse Doc Society Genesis Fund supports long-form feature documentaries “driven by imaginative and innovative storytelling.” Doc Society awards 10 grants from this program, in the amount of £5,000 each. Projects need to be in the early stages to be eligible for a Genesis Fund grant.

Another funding option is the Doc Society Circle Fund. This fund was formed in response to growing philanthropic interest in fostering independent media. This program’s grants are made by invitation only, and it does not accept unsolicited applications.

The Threshold Fund is a partnership between Doc Society and the Threshold Foundation. These grants go to films that address pressing issues around the world, prioritizing stories mostly ignored by mainstream media. Applications for this grant are accepted by invitation only.

Finally, the Flex Fund is a collective effort between Doc Society, the Skoll Foundation, and the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Program. This fund supports “innovative and creative projects emerging from partnerships between moving image storytellers and social entrepreneurs.” Doc Society announces open submission calls for this fund each year.

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