San Francisco Film Society Film Grant | Feature, Documentary, Non Fiction

San Francisco Film Society Film Grant

Feature, Documentary, Non Fiction, Narrative

San Francisco Film Society Film Grant

The San Francisco Film Society is dedicated to supporting emerging and established filmmaker by offering innovative support programs for independent storytellers.. Their fiscal sponsorship program is designed to help you step-by-step through the process of getting your film funded, made and seen. SFFFilm has distributed more than $6 million to over 150 films since 2009.

SFFFilm offers multiple funds, including the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund, SFFILM Rainin Grant and SFFILM Westridge Grant.

The SFFILM Rainin Grant program is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the US. Grants support films that address social justice issues-the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges-in a positive and meaningful way through plot, character, theme or setting and benefit the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity.

The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports engaging documentaries in post-production which exhibit compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. Since its launch in 2011, the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund has distributed more than $750,000 to advance new work by filmmakers nationwide.

The SFFILM Westridge Grant is a fund that supports US-based, independent narrative feature films in the screenwriting or development/packaging phase. Grants are awarded twice annually to projects that address social issues and pressing questions of our time through creative and original storytelling.

SFFILM Rainin Grant Program

The San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grants support feature narrative films that through plot, character, theme or setting explore human and civil rights, anti-discrimination, gender and sexual identity and other social issues of our time. This is NOT a documentary grant.

The grants are awarded in the spring and fall of each year. The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants provide tangible encouragement and support to meaningful projects nationally that benefit the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. In addition to the cash grant, recipients receive various benefits through the Film Society’s comprehensive and dynamic filmmaker services programs.


- Applicant must be in a key creative role for the film: screenwriter, producer or director.

- Applicant must be an SFFS member at the Filmmaker Pro level or above or must pay the $25 (early deadline) or $45 (late deadline) fee.

- Applicant must be at least 18 years old.

- Applicant must be actively engaged in a narrative feature film project in one of the following phases: Screenwriting, Development, Preproduction, Production, Postproduction

- Film must significantly feature a plot, character, theme or setting that reveals or explores human and civil rights, antidiscrimination, gender issues, sexual identity and other social justice issues of our time.

- Total Project budget shall be $3 million or under.

- Projects must be consistent with SFFS’s mission and represent an imaginative contribution to the moving image art form.

- Projects and applicants may reapply for additional funding.

- Applicants or project must have a Bay Area filmmaking connection and uplift the community in a professional or economic capacity. Please ask if you are not sure how this might relate to your project.


  • Applicants must apply for the phase of production they expect to reach within three months of receiving SFFS/KRF funds.
  • If requesting Screenwriting or Development: you must reside in the Bay Area during the writing phase or development phase. 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.
  • Filmmaker may not be a SFFS or KRF employee or member of any SFFS or KRF board.
  • Filmmaker may not be a full-time student.
  • Project is not work for hire.
  • Project is not a documentary.

When you apply for fiscal sponsorship you are beginning the process of preparing your project proposal for funding organizations. The Film Society wants to ensure you and your project are likely candidates for funding, and work with you until your proposal is ready. Sometimes this means many proposal drafts before you are accepted for Fiscal Sponsorship, but it will be worth it in the long run.

The program is run by former staff members of Film Arts Foundation, which enjoyed an excellent reputation over three decades as one of the finest fiscal sponsoring organizations in the country. Numerous funding sources put considerable trust in the program and many Film Arts fiscal sponsorship projects went on to considerable acclaim, including winning Academy Awards. The Film Society is now the keeper of that fine legacy and brings an organization-wide dedication to the stewardship of all its Fiscal Sponsorship projects.

The Film Society has a special affinity with Bay Area filmmakers but is also well known and well respected nationally and internationally. In addition to the one-on-one care the fiscal sponsorship team brings to each project, the Film Society has a full suite of professional-development workshops and classes—many of which will be online by mid-2009—for filmmakers interested in learning more about fundraising as well as budgeting, legal issues, marketing, theatrical distribution and ancillary markets.

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List of Film Grants

Do you have a Film Grant to share with our readers? Please post your Film Grant here.

Documentary Film Grants

Short Film Grants

Women in Film Grants

Feature Film Grants

Emerging Filmmaker Grants

Screenwriting Film Grants

Television Grants

Canada Film Grants

More Film Grants

See All: Full List of Film Grants

Film Grant Deadlines Rolling/Various Application Deadlines

Film Grant Deadlines Spring

Film Grant Deadlines Summer

Film Grant Deadlines Fall

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