Friday, February 09, 2007

Fund Your Film: Grant Money

Just skimming my emails quickly and I came across one from the IFP New York. I don't have any idea who is where in the funding process, but if you are shooting at least 60% NYC, IFP has a grant to pay for a newbie. Up to 10K, I think, to hire a crewmember who has never served in a particular job-title before. For example, a grant like this could be used if you have an art director stepping up to Prod designer or a PA stepping up to AD, etc.

The film's budget has to be under $3 Million.

This may be worthy of a post on its own, but independent film financing can come from any combination of sources. Financiers who specialize in it like Newmarket Capital or Deutsche Bank, "angel" investors who are typically individuals or groups of individuals, loans, self-financing, and whenever you can dig one up, grants. I think New York is smart to put these kind of film dollars on the table because it increases local production which spreads loot all over town, and it also could potentially help to build up local talent. I hope some other film commissions pick up on this idea or similar ones. Reminds me of that Canadian Content tax break (is that even still available?) which made it mandatory for productions to hire Canadian nationals in above-the-line positions in order to get money from the film commission. The details escape me, but as I remember it the money came in the form of a tax "rebate" which essentially added 10-30% of the budget back into your film. All those movies shot in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal took advantage of this -- which explains why New York and Detroit look so much cleaner in movies. :-)

When you are putting together your film, assuming it isn't something that is locale specific (e.g. MY SUMMER AT GRAND CANYON probably can't be shot in Minnesota), the process benefits from a producer with her/his eye on tax breaks, grants and incentives all over the world. Some of these are publicized, some can only be found through word of mouth. A solid working line producer is worth his/her weight in gold when you are rooting around for this information.

I'm always encouraging folks to get out there and put those words you type up on the screen. The best way to learn how to make movies is by making one. So, here's some loot. No more excuses. And then drop a note by the old bloghouse so I know what happened. Good luck.


jimhenshaw said...

I work in Toronto but did some checking last fall on incentives offered in Florida, Louisiana, Tennesee and North Carolina for a film I'd written about Golf. The deals and options offered by those states all equalled or bettered what Canadian locations offer -- and from what I could tell without the massive amounts of duplicated and triplicated paperwork.

I've always been opposed moving a project where it doesn't fit to save a little money because you always end up spending more on accomodation, airfare and the bits and pieces you just can't find locally -- not to mention the increase in "recreational aids" you need to survive in some places.

But if your project can travel there are some amazing deals to be had and most local film commissions are both online and eager to help.

The Film Diva said...

I agree with you about moving projects that don't need moving. The worst is when you're on a movie that gets moved to accomodate an actor's lifestyle... ugh. Do you know of any web resource with a collection of information about tax incentives? I've been looking for one, but so far haven't found anything I can point people to.

jimhenshaw said...

The CFPTA has a comprehensive Canadian database, but you need to be a member to access it. I believe AMPTP also has one with the same conditions.

Because so much of this depends on the elements that are unique to your particular production, I've found the best approach is to target 3-4 possible locales and then work with the local commission.

anotherfilmmaker said...

May want to check the budget levels for these incentives. Sometimes, the film has to be over a couple million dollars to take advantage of those breaks...

jimhenshaw said...


I found the docs you were looking for and can send you pdf's. Write me at