IFP/New York to Award Doc Production Grants
by Brian Brooks
IFP/New York will begin funding independent documentary productions through the Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund, the organization announced yesterday. For the first time since its founding 25 years ago, the group will award development grants twice a year beginning in June for new feature length non-fiction projects by American filmmakers. Unlike many organizations that give “seed money,” this fund will not restrict eligibility based on subject matter or due to the state of residency of the filmmaker.
Grants of $10,000 annually will be awarded to six to ten filmmakers, with the initial three to five grants slated to be given out this June. Additional cash awards will then continue on a six-month cycle. The fund is named for the late Emmy Award-winning documentary producer, Anthony Radziwill. Lee Radziwill, as well as current IFP/New York board member Carole Radziwill, originally established the fund in 2000 as part of the IFP Gotham Awards to provide an unrestricted award annually to a New York documentary filmmaker for “outstanding achievement in a documentary feature.” Going forward, the fund will work like a foundation grant for documentary filmmakers and there will be no fee to apply.
In the first three years of the grant, awards were given to Aiyanna Elliott’s “The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack,” Edet Belzberg’s “Children Underground,” and Whitney Dow & Marco Williams for “Two Towns of Jasper.” IFP/New York decided late last year to redirect the focus of the grants to independent documentary production, which the organization deems “an area of documentary funding more in need of support.”
“All independent film financing is difficult, and documentary funding is generally acknowledged to be the most difficult,” commented IFP/New York executive director Michelle Byrd in a statement. “For documentarians seeking funding for a project, it is generally the early stages of development — for research, preliminary interviews, treatment development, building sample reel material, and to secure further funding — for which it is most difficult to find money from outside sources. It is at this stage that most amounts of funding can go a long way.”
The deadline for the current grant cycle is March 1st.