Grants & Fellowships

Documentary Film Fund

This fellowship is not currently accepting applications. Finalists will be notified in mid-July. Winners will be notified in early August. 

The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports riveting documentaries in post-production distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. Since its launch in 2011, the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund has distributed more than $450,000 to advance new work by filmmakers nationwide. The 2017 Documentary Film Fund will nearly double its total funding thanks to a generous gift from Jennifer Battat and the Jenerosity Foundation.

DFF grants are awarded once each year. Exact amounts of individual grants and the number of grants made will be determined on an annual basis. As with all SFFILM grants, in addition to the cash awards, recipients will gain access to numerous benefits through SFFILM Makers, the comprehensive and dynamic artist development program. The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund has an excellent track record for championing compelling films that have gone on to earn great acclaim. Previous DFF winners include Zachary Heinzerling's Cutie and the Boxer, which won Sundance's Directing Award for documentary and was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature; Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson's American Promise, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the festival's Special Jury Prize in the documentary category; and Jason Zeldes's Romeo Is Bleeding, which had its World Premiere at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival.


For Ahkeem - Jeremy Levine and Landon Van Soest 
For Ahkeem follows Daje Shelton, a 17-year-old Black girl from north St. Louis, Missouri as she strives to graduate from the nation's only court-supervised public high school. Daje fights for her future as close friends are killed, her sixteen-year-old boyfriend Antonio is sent to jail and nearby Ferguson erupts after the police shooting of Michael Brown. Through Daje's intimate first-person account, For Ahkeem explores the complex web between juvenile justice, education and race in America today. For more information visit
The Rescue List - Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink 
The Rescue List
follows the incredible journey of two boys in Ghana as they escape from slavery, spend a year in a hidden rehabilitation shelter, and are eventually reunited with their families. Meanwhile, the man who rescued them goes back on a covert rescue mission to liberate more children. For him, the work is personal.
Dolores - Peter Bratt 
is a film about fiercely passionate and equally courageous Latina woman Dolores Huerta, who completely transforms her life when she embraces the spirit of revolt in 1950's California and goes on to cofound the country's first farm worker's union with the legendary Cesar Chavez. Introspective yet sweeping, both personal and political, Dolores defines how precarious success can be, as impossible choices are made between motherhood and political advancement.
For more information visit