OVERVIEW: The Catapult Film Fund offers grants to documentary filmmakers who tell compelling stories driven by powerful characters.
IP TAKE: Grant seekers creating survey films should look elsewhere for funding.
PROFILE: Lisa Kleiner Chanoff and Bonni Cohen co-founded the Catapult Film Fund as a way to “fill a gap in the documentary funding landscape” and seeks to “help story-driven and cinematic documentary films get off the ground.” Chanoff, who has a history in investments and philanthropy, is co-executive producer of the film Fruitvale Station and executive producer of the documentary film, Watchers of the Sky. Cohen is a filmmaker who operates the company Actual Films alongside husband Jon Shenk.
The Catapult Film Fund offers development funding to help documentary filmmakers advance their projects. The $20,000 grants support activities such as “enabling the first shoot and editing pieces for production.” Grantees also get an informal mentorship with Chanoff and Cohen.
The fund seeks compelling and unique projects to support. In the past, it has backed films such as Tashi and the Monk, The Reagan Years, and Charm City. To learn more about the films Catapult has supported explore the films page on its website.
Catapult accepts unsolicited grant applications through an open call process. There are no deadlines; grant decisions are made throughout the year. The fund accepts applications from filmmakers and nonprofit film organizations based in the United States and abroad. International filmmakers may need to obtain a fiscal sponsor to be eligible for a Catapult grant.
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