OVERVIEW: In 2012, the Compton Foundation adopted a new mission, which is to "ignite change" and provide support for "transformative leadership and courageous storytelling, inspiring action toward a peaceful, sustainable future." This mission highlights a sense of urgency for the foundation and a "willingness to take risks in order to transform the way we live."
IP TAKE: Support for film is done through a partnership with Impact Partners, so be sure to familiarize yourself with both the Compton Foundation's guidelines and Impact Partners before diving in. Note that their film support is in the form of equity investments, not grants, so eventually the funds must be repaid.
PROFILE: The key driver for all of the Compton Foundation's giving is a desire to support "progressive and democratic social change." They do this through long-term movement building and seizing on opportunistic moments when "transformation and/or real short-term gains are possible." They lend their support to organizations that are building the "long-term capacity to ignite change" and also provide rapid response and emerging opportunity funding. They place a strong emphasis on "transformative leadership" and "courageous storytelling," so the better positioned your project is within that framework, the better off you'll be.
The Compton Foundation defines courageous storytelling as something that disrupts the common understanding of the status quo, or something that gives voice to previously unheard narratives. Their goal is to amplify critical issues and blend the personal with political, and emotional with intellectual. Through their partnership with Impact Partners, the foundation provides financing and guidance for documentary filmmakers to get their films made and also provides ongoing mentorship and support along the way.
What they try to do is connect investors with independent filmmakers and help structure the financial support in a way that's beneficial to both parties. Their goal is to provide "the resources to get films made, the mentorship to make films the best they can be, and the strategic support to achieve the widest possible audience for each film."
They take submissions on a rolling basis, with no deadlines and they welcome unsolicited submissions. For a full run-down of what they require click here. You can also view a full list of past films they've supported here.