Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation tasks itself with supporting artistic work created by, presented to, and engaged with its geographic region.

IP TAKE: Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is primarily focused on bringing artistic expression into its region, but it wants that artistic work to come from all around the world. This includes supporting the travel, accommodations, and appearance fees for filmmakers to share their work with the region.

PROFILE: The name Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation leads you to make assumptions about the organization's focus. Those assumptions you’ll make are partially right and partially wrong.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is a vigorous funder of the arts, supporting creators who live and work all over the United States—and the world. So why the “Mid Atlantic” name? It’s because the foundation’s focus is bringing this diversity of artists and artistic expression into its region for performances, showcases, and community engagement.

In need a bit of a geography refresher? The Mid Atlantic region consists of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The foundation also intriguingly includes support of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has a lot of wheels turning when it comes to supporting and showcasing artistic expression, but only one of them relates to film. It's the On Screen/In Person program, which is a well-titled initiative: It provides funds for films to be screened and for the filmmakers behind those films to engage with the audience. You can sign to the newsletter here.

There are two application aspects of this program. Filmmakers apply for their film to be screened. Filmmakers can reside anywhere in the U.S., but they must not be students at any education level. Their film can be a documentary, fictional narrative, animation, or experimental so long as it's between 45 minutes and 120 minutes in running time. Films must be complete, but not more than three years old, and cannot yet have distribution. Interestingly, MAAF provides no commentary whatsoever in terms of what it seeks in a film's quality; like any festival submission process, filmmakers know that their films must be really good, but that "really good" is also tremendously subjective.

What differentiates MAAF, and makes this a funding opportunity, is that it pays filmmakers to show their product ($400 per screening), and covers filmmaker's travel, accommodations, and daily expenses during their Mid Atlantic two-week tour of presenting the film and engaging in pre- or post-screening Q&As.

Where in the Mid Atlantic filmmakers will travel to showcase their work is also a competitive process; presenting organizations apply for the right to showcase the films.

Touring seasons are 1 1/2 years long (with each film making a two week trip), and the application cycles for this program are timed with this unusual calendar. MAAF profiles its films on tour, and also keeps a blog about the touring experience.

This isn't a grant program where filmmakers will haul in a lot of cash, but they will receive cash, plus expenses paid, which can be a rarity in the world of showcasing independent film.

You can find the latest grants here.

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