John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: One of the most prestigious awards in its field, the Guggenheim Fellowship is considered a mid-career award for those who are well established in their area of expertise.

IP TAKE: Grant seekers should be confident that they are at the absolute top of their field before applying for this fellowship.

PROFILE: Created in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was founded by United States Senator Simon Guggenheim to honor the memory of his son who died 1922. It seeks “to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed.” There are two separate fellowship competitions each year, one for citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada and one for Latin America and the Caribbean, which has been temporarily suspended until the foundation better determines the specific needs.

The fellowship supports "men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Grant amounts vary according to the needs of each fellowship, depending on the resources required, and the purpose and scope of work, but past fellowships have averaged roughly around $45,000 each.

The foundation receives around 3,000 applications for their fellowships each year and awards an average of 200 fellowships out of these. The selection process for these coveted fellowships is incredibly rigorous. In the first round, applications are paired with an expert in the related field (art, science, history, etc.) from the Foundation's several hundred different advisors who are also former Guggenheim Fellows. These advisors rank the applicants and submit reports which are then forwarded along to the Committee of Selection, which then determines the ultimate number of grants to be made in each area.

Within the creative arts, Guggenheim routinely supports film/video, poetry, fiction, visual art, and the performing arts. The number of fellowships in each area depends on the determination of the Committee of Selection each year.

Application information for each year's competition is generally available in June, with applications due in September and work samples for those contacted due in November. The foundation announces final results and winners the following April. Grant seekers will need to provide everything from references, to supporting documents, to examples of past work in order to apply, and the list of what is needed is quite comprehensive, so those looking to apply need to do their homework before moving forward.

Fellowships support individuals only; organizations, institutions, and groups are ineligible. They also will not support the "creation of residencies, curriculum development, or any type of educational program, nor are they available to support the development of websites or blogs." View past grantees here.

Grant seekers should consult the website for further details about application resources and submission materials for the United States & Canada Competition, as well as FAQs.

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