FilmWatch grants support curated screening programs at North America-based film festivals, film societies and other film-related organizations. Targeted programs include those that create culturally diverse viewing experiences, promote motion pictures as an art form, provide a platform for underrepresented artists, and cultivate new and dedicated audiences for theatrical film.

We are in the process of changing our grants submission and reporting system. Due to this change there will be a delay in terms of accessing report forms. In addition, the new applications are delayed as well, but we are aiming to launch sometime next week, the week of September 25th. The official deadline has not been set, but it will likely be at the end of November. We thank you for your patience.

Through the Grants program, the Academy seeks to:
  • Promote diversity
  • Bridge the opportunity divide
  • Attract and engage broad new audiences for theatrical motion pictures 
  • Provide a platform for underrepresented artists, the full range of film genres, and a variety of viewpoints and approaches 
  • Encourage filmmaking as a vocation
  • Illuminate less visible aspects of filmmaking and the film industry through scholarly research, presentations and discussions
Please keep these principles in mind as you proceed through the application process, as we direct our support toward organizations and programs that are aligned with these principles. 
We consider programs that seek to:
  • Nurture theatrical motion pictures in all categories and genres, including silent, ethnic (African/Latino/Asian/Native Peoples), LGBT, short, documentary, animated, and experimental films
  • Provide underrepresented filmmakers greater access to audiences
  • Engage and develop new and dedicated film audiences, especially those from diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds 
FilmWatch grants do not fund:
  • Programming centered on the screening of any particular new film
  • Competitions or awards programs
  • The screening of works produced specifically for television or nontheatrical media, or events or programs that focus on such works 
  • Programs targeting children less than 12 years of age
  • Parties, receptions, luncheons, tribute dinners or similar events; hospitality suites and services
  • The development, production or completion of films
  • Capital expenses
  • Administrative, overhead or permanent staffing expenses
  • More than 50 percent of a program’s cost (some exceptions for small programs)
  • Individuals or for-profit companies or organizations
  • Programs at any one institution for more than three consecutive years
Grants are available only to North America-based film festivals, film societies and other film-related organizations for curated screening programs. Grants must be used to support a specific program or program component.
Applying organizations must:
  • Have nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application 
  • Apply directly on its own behalf (fiscal sponsors for U.S.-based organizations are not allowed) 
  • Have a five-year history of programming 
  • Submit complete, punctual final reports for all Academy grants received, and maintain an excellent submission record (see below for details)
An organization may apply for multiple Academy grants, but will be accepted for no more than one grant during a funding cycle. Parent and subsidiary organizations are considered a single entity. 

Application Requirements

Please follow all instructions. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.


Proposals must be submitted through the Academy’s online application system by November 18, 2016. Under no circumstances will extensions be granted.

Grants awarded during this funding cycle are for programs that will be initiated and completed between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018. All applicants will be notified (via e-mail) of their proposal status in March 2017. Funds will be distributed in March 2017.

Application Materials

In addition to the online application form, a completed application packet will include the following.


1.      Proposal

Using the template below, please address the following points in order. Brevity is encouraged and appreciated.

a) In a single sentence, describe the proposed program and the grant amount requested.  Please note, request amounts can range from $5,000 - $25,000.  However, the request amount should be no greater than 10% of the festival’s overall budget or the overall organization’s budget if applying for a non-festival screening program (unless that would put the amount below $5,000) or 50% of the proposed program’s budget.

b) In much greater detail, describe the program being proposed, explaining how it works, expected results and how participants will benefit from the program. Please include what portion of the program would be funded by the Academy grant.

c) How many times will the program be offered during the grant year or during the festival? What is the time frame for the program? (One day, a weekend, once a month for six months?)

d) Will filmmakers or other industry professionals be involved? If so, who are they? (If you aren’t sure, tell us whom you hope to have involved, or list those professionals who have participated in the past.) What is the planned length of their stay?

e) If this is a returning program, describe what it achieved in previous years, including success stories involving past participants. If this is a first-time program, explain why you think there is an audience for the program, and the need you are addressing in the community.

f) How many people do you expect to participate in the program? What efforts are being made to promote diversity within the participant pool?

g) Please discuss how the program will create a genuinely inclusive environment.

h) Describe the program’s intended impact. Discuss how the audience/community will benefit from the program.

i) How will you measure your program’s effectiveness? Describe the quantitative and qualitative methods you intend to use.  For instance, are there any plans to follow up with participants to gather feedback?

j) Describe the program’s timeline and work plan (what will be happening at each stage of the program, and who is involved).

k) Describe your plans for promoting, publicizing and/or marketing your program.

l) Tell us how this program supports the Academy’s mission and the Grants program’s six guiding principles. You are not required to link the program to all six principles, just the ones most relevant to your proposed program.


2.      Organization Information

         Please describe in no more than three pages.

a) Briefly describe your organization, its mission and its history.

b) Provide brief bios of your organization’s primary executives as well as any key staff that will have a direct impact on the proposed program.


3.      Budget 

a) Please use this template for the organization as well as for the specific program seeking funding. For proposals coming from larger organizations, such as a university, we only need the organization budget from the smaller entity within the larger organization that is overseeing the proposed program.

b) Please provide a brief budget narrative for the past three years. Describe the overall financial health of your organization. If there have been any income or expense fluctuations of 20 percent or more from last year to this year, please explain.

c) Please provide a financial narrative for the program. Address how the program would be affected if the grant amount were to be reduced. Also, please describe how you plan to cover the remainder of the program costs.


4.      Proof of your organization’s nonprofit status

Only registered nonprofit organizations are eligible for Academy grants. If your organization is based outside the U.S., a fiscal sponsor is acceptable, but proof of nonprofit status in your country of origin is still required.


Please note: The Academy reserves the right to amend the requirements and guidelines above to accommodate extenuating circumstances or other unusual situations.

The Academy requires that all organizations that receive grants properly acknowledge their Academy funding. Failure to do so will have a negative impact on their future consideration.

If there are appropriate venues or opportunities to acknowledge the Academy’s financial support of your program, the Academy requires that the acknowledgments be made. These venues and opportunities include:

  • Prominent placement of the Academy’s name (“Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences”) and logo in ads and other promotional materials
  • A press release announcing the Academy’s grant, and mention of the grant in subsequent press releases or articles about the funded program
  • Display of Academy banners at the program (available for loan from the Academy)
  • Projection of the Academy trailer or on-screen slide at screenings or other events
  • Verbal acknowledgment to audiences and assembled guests

When available, the following should also be provided:

  • Full-page ad in the festival/event program, brochure or magazine
  • Recognition on festival/event banners and signage
  • Prominent recognition (the Academy logo is preferred) on any trailer or on-screen slide produced specifically for the festival/event
  • Ability to display an Academy banner or similar signage at the festival/event
  • A certain number of festival/event guest passes and reception invitations
  • All other benefits offered to other sponsors at the equivalent level

In lieu of or in addition to the placement of the Academy logo, the following acknowledgment line may be used: Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Please note: All grants are awarded with the understanding that the Academy has discretion over the type and degree of recognition it receives from the grant recipient.

A final report is required from all organizations that receive an Academy FilmWatch grant. Reapplying organizations whose current programs will not be complete before new proposals are due also must submit an interim report.
Final reports are due after the program has been completed. Interim reports are due on the same date as new proposals. 
All reports must be submitted via separate online forms on the Academy’s website. They must include:
  • A description of the program
  • A discussion of how the program created a genuinely inclusive environment. 
  • The number of participants/audience members, and their demographics
  • The impact of the program
  • A description of how the Academy grant increased the program’s effectiveness
  • An analysis of the outcomes you were seeking, including why they were or were not achieved
  • Any anecdotal evidence describing how individuals received your program
  • Results or findings from research you undertook or participant/audience surveys you may have fielded 
  • A breakdown of how program was marketed, the kinds of outreach you did, and their effectiveness
  • The way(s) in which the Academy grant was acknowledged
  • A final budget breakdown