SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants

SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants program: Eligibility

The SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants program provides support to meaningful projects internationally that benefit and uplift the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. The grant is open to filmmaker internationally whose films explores social justice and can commit to spending time developing the work in San Francisco, with priority given to SF-based filmmakers. Please note, this grant does not support documentary films.This grant is open to filmmakers who meet the following criteria:

  • Filmmaker may not be a SFFILM or KRF employee or member of any SFFILM or KRF Boards.
  • Filmmaker must be at least 18 years old.
  • Film must feature plot, character, theme and/or setting that explores social justice issues.
  • Film must represent work that reveals or explores human and civil rights, antidiscrimination, gender issues, sexual identity and/or other social issues of our time.
  • Film must NOT be a documentary.
  • Funds must be spent directly in ways that support the Bay Area as outlined in the application guidelines.
  • Projects must be consistent with the SFFILM mission and represent an imaginative contribution to the moving image art form.
  • If the project is fully funded and/or has distribution, it is NOT eligible.
  • This grant is not solely for Bay Area residents. It is open to filmmakers internationally who are able fulfill the qualifications related to the Bay Area component of the grant application - spending part of the time upon receiving the grant, developing or shooting the work in San Francisco. These grants aim to uplift the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. Please ask if you are not sure how this might relate to your project.
  • Applicant must be in a key creative role for the film: screenwriter, director or producer.
  • All primary applicants in preproduction, production and postproduction must be the writer/director. If there is a cowriter or producer they must be the co-applicant(s).
  • Applicant must be actively engaged in a narrative feature film project in one of the following phases: Screenwriting, Packaging, Preproduction, Production, Postproduction.
  • Screenwriting applicants must be the writer/director. If there is a cowriter or producer they must be the co-applicant(s).
  • Packaging grant applicants must have the primary applicant be the producer and the writer/director as co-applicant(s).
  • Filmmaker, or any other applicant or co-applicant must become a SFFILM member at the Filmmaker Pro level or above prior to SFFILM releasing funds from the Grant.
  • Filmmaker understands that projects applying for production phase will not receive funds until shoot dates have been set.
  • Please note that while we encourage filmmakers to apply for to the SFFILM Festival and other SFFILM Makers programs, winning a grant from SFFILM does not guarantee acceptance into any of the above programs.
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 Funds must be spent in the following ways: 

  • Applicants must apply for the phase of production they expect to reach within three months of receiving SFFILM/KRF Filmmaking Grant funds.
  • If requesting Screenwriting or Packaging: you must reside in the Bay Area during the writing phase or packaging phase for a minimum of two non contiguous months (no less than two weeks at a time). If applying for screenwriting: you may apply if you are co-writing a screenplay.
  • If requesting Production Funds: 60% of grant monies must be spent in the Bay Area or on Bay Area crew, talent, equipment or services.
  • If requesting Pre- or Postproduction funds: 80% of grant monies must be spent in the Bay Area or on Bay Area personnel or services.
  • PLEASE NOTE: If you are unable to spend the money to fulfill the grant requirements you must notify SFFILM in writing.  Failure to meet these requirements might result in a nullification of funds awarded or funds may need to be returned if already dispersed.
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If you are unsure if you meet the requirements or have any questions regarding what phase you are in, please email grants@sffilm.org.

Priority will be given to:

  • Projects that are vibrant, intelligent, original, moving and innovative.
  • Projects that illustrate a sense of hopeful transformation or a movement towards positive social justice.
  • Projects that demonstrate viable financial support and promise a high likelihood of being brought to completion.
  • For first-time filmmaking applicants, projects with team members that demonstrate track records of filmmaking success.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Project has strong and recognizable social value, contributing, for example, to a greater public appreciation of a disenfranchised group, identifying an area where social change is needed or bringing to light a difficult or inspirational story, condition or issue.
  • Filmmaker has clearly articulated his or her intended goals for the grant, how those accomplishments will be measured and what the next steps will be for the project.
  • Filmmaker demonstrates how the project will impact short- and long-term professional and artistic goals.
  • Applicant directly answers all questions on the application and does not go over the word count. Applications that go over the word count will be considered ineligible.

Restrictions: 

  • Filmmaker may not be a SFFILM or KRF employee or member of any SFFILM or KRF Board.
  • Project is not work for hire.
  • Project is not a documentary.

To Note:

  • Filmmaker agrees to sign an agreement with SFFILM. Changes to the contract cannot be made. You may request to review the contract prior to committing to it.
  • All grant funds are to be used solely for the purpose of supporting the project. Spending must be consistent with the budget submitted to SFFILM (screenwriting applicants excluded).
  • Please provide updates to the budget as needed (screenwriting applicants excluded).
  • Project budgets shall be $3,000,000 or under including all phases of production.
  • Upon completion, a copy of the film will be made available to SFFS.
  • Filmmaker shall provide acknowledgement to SFFILM with a "Produced in association with SFFILM/KRF" credit. SFFILM will provide logos.
  • If the grant represents 25% or more of the project budget, credit will be above-the-line.
  • Offer SFFILM a "first look" and first right of refusal for potential Bay Area premiere at SFFILM Festival and/or other SFFILM exhibition venues.
  • While we encourage filmmakers to apply to the SFFILM Festival, and SFFILM Makers project development program, winning a grant does not guarantee acceptance into any of the aforementioned programs.
  • Filmmaker agrees to submit a progress report detailing how the funds were spent, and a new work sample at three and six months.
  • Filmmaker understands there will be a press release for the finalist and the winner phases of the grant review process. Unless otherwise specified for confidentiality reasons, the submitted bios and logline will be used in press releases.
  • Filmmaker agrees to submit a progress report detailing how the funds were spent, and a new work sample at three and six months.
  • Projects and applicants may reapply for additional funding.

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