Documentary Emergency Fund FAQ

If after reading this you still have questions, please email

Is the Documentary Emergency Fund now accepting applications?

We start accepting applications as of January 1, 2023. 

Who eligible to apply?

Sponsored by From the Heart Productions, the Documentary Emergency Fund (DEF) seeks to help documentary producers or directors who are suffering “dire financial emergencies”.  They must have created at least one short or feature documentary film that has been released and distributed. 

Distribution can include any of these: theatrical screenings, sale to online streamers, significant community screenings, and can also include TV broadcasts as well as TVOD, AAVOD, and SVOD. 

Applicants must also be currently involved in the field of documentary filmmaking.  They must show they are now engaged in the research, development, pre-production, production, or post-production of a documentary film.  

Who is not eligible to apply?

Students who are currently enrolled are not eligible.  Board members or employees of From the Heart Productions and their relatives are not eligible for the fund.  Funding is available to domestic (U.S.) filmmakers only.  Filmmakers need not be US citizens, but they must be residents who can legally work in the US.   

How much is the grant worth?

We will be giving one $500 grant each month to a documentary filmmaker in need.     

Can more than one filmmaker receive funds?


Do I need to apply every month?

You can apply up to three times if not selected for funding.

What is the deadline for applying each month?

To be considered for funds, you must submit an application by the 14th of the month.  

What if my application is submitted after the 14th of the month?

If you submit your application after the 14th, it will be considered for the next month of funding.  

If I receive funds one time, am I able to receive them again?

No.  While you can apply up to 3 times, you can only be a recipient of the DEF once.

What documentation do I need to provide?

Per the application, you will be asked to submit proof of professional documentary activity such as your IMDB page, film review, or a direct link to a project that shows professional work in the field.  You will be asked for links to your website and social media.

You will also be asked to write in 100-400 words about the “dire financial emergency” you are experiencing and why you need these funds. 

How do I send the documentation required by the fund?

You will be able to enter it on the application and attach any other required documentation.

Can international filmmakers apply?

Not at this time.  Grant is restricted to domestic (U.S.) filmmakers only. Filmmakers need not be US citizens, but they must be residents who can legally work in the US. 

What is the timeline for applications and selection?

Submissions for monthly funding are accepted at the beginning of each month.  Deadline for submissions is the 14th of each month.  Recipients of the funding will be chosen before the end of the month and checks mailed to them at that time.

Is there an application fee?

There is no application fee.

How do I receive the funding?

From the Heart Productions will mail you a check to the address you provide on your application.

Do I have to be a documentary filmmaker?

Yes, funding is available only to professional documentary filmmakers. 

Where does the money come from?

Currently the funding comes from the sale of the book, Extraordinary Filmmakers.  This is on sale in our store.  It is 13 essays by filmmakers who donated the income to this Documentary Fund.

What is From the Heart Productions?

From the Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 1993 to help filmmakers get funding for their films.  We do this through our fiscal sponsorship program, Roy W. Dean Grant, and Intentional Filmmaking Classes.

Why are you doing this?

As part of our mission, we seek to help create films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  The work of many documentary filmmakers fits that description. 

Also, documentaries often take the longest to make and sometimes have the most difficulty getting funded because of the topics they cover and the film industry’s perceived lack of commercial prospects for non-fiction projects.  The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected documentary filmmakers’ ability to make ends meet and we want to help them.

Is the subject matter of the films I make relevant?

No.  We are seeking to help those who have created and distributed documentaries. We are not judging them on the subject matter.

Should I send information about my current or past projects?

Information on your experience, which includes past projects will be part of the application.

What if I’ve made films in the past but I currently have no projects?

You need to be currently active in some form or at some stage at creating a project.

Who are the judges?

Recipients of the funds will be decided by DEF Funding Committee.  The committee is made of caring, compassionate people who are documentary filmmakers.

Why do you need my Social Security Number or Tax ID Number?

As this is funding and not a grant, you may be required to pay tax on the funding based on amount received.  The IRS requires we send you a 1099 for this income.

Will these awards be taxed?

Yes, the IRS must be notified of this income, and you will get a 1099.

What criteria are the judges making selections based on?

This is a non-competitive process. The funds are not being given out on a first-come first-served basis.  At the close of each application period, the DEF Funding Committee will make decisions based on the submitted needs of the filmmaker and if they fit the guidelines of the fund.

Are there any budget limitations for the projects considered for the grant?

No because the fund is providing money for the filmmaker and not the project.

How long after the submission deadline will winners be announced?

Deadline for submissions is the 14th of each month.   Recipients will be announced before the end of the month in which the application was submitted.

I won the Roy W. Dean Grant or another film grant. Can I still apply?

Yes, the funding is for filmmakers and not for a specific project.

Will the monthly amount increase or will the timeframe of the grant increase?

We are currently seeking additional donations for the fund. Please stay tuned for updates here and on From the Heart’s social media for additional funding.

What If I need help or have questions, who can I contact?

Please email  We will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours. 

Do not call From the Heart Productions. The employees of From the Heart are not able to help.  Please use the email provided for all correspondence.


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