Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers

Women in Film & Video DCSeed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers

The WIFV Board of Directors is pleased to offer a Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers to support the work of its members.  Grants may be used in the research and development phase of any documentary project and must be spent within 12 months of notice of the award.  The grant will be distributed in two parts – 50% upon notice of award; 50% after receipt of progress report (that can be submitted at any time after 30 days of the initial grant) and within 12 months of the original award.  The application deadline for the 2024 grants will be Wednesday, April 17.

The first Seed Fund grants were made in 2016.  Recipients of the Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers include Cintia Cabib, Susanne Coates, Charles Cohen, Emily Cohen, Betsy Cox, Susan Donnelly, Gabrielle Ewing, Stephanie Flores-Koulish, Kristin Reiber Harris, Vanessa Johnston, Katie Lannigan, Carolyn McCulley, Kimberly McFarland, Krystal Tingle, and Emily Wathen.

Few Seed Funds exist for documentary filmmakers.  WIFV understands the importance of first-in support and is grateful for the many contributions it has received from its members to support this program.  In addition to a grant of $2,500, WIFV will offer a mentoring component with accomplished WIFV members and the Executive Director, and bring the power of our programming to address key education needs.

Any mediamaker who receives a Seed Fund Grant will be eligible to have their project accepted into the WIFV Fiscal Sponsorship Program to assist with bringing their project to completion and distribution with no additional application materials after payment of the $50 fiscal sponsorship program application fee.  More info on the WIFV Fiscal Sponsorship Program is here.

If you don’t find the information you are looking for here or on the FAQ or Application links, please give call Melissa Houghton at the WIFV office (202) 429-9438, and we will do our best to get you the information you need.

Program eligibility requirements

Applications will be accepted from current WIFV members only.  WIFV membership is open to anyone making screen-based media.  Information on membership is available here.  The proposed project must be a documentary project.  Narrative projects will not be eligible for seed funding.  Documentary projects that include re-creations or re-enactments or animation are eligible for funding.

If a member is selected to receive a Seed Fund Grant, they must remain a WIFV member in good standing for the duration of the project.  Three letters of recommendation are required for the Seed Fund application.

NOTE: current sitting WIFV Board members may not apply for a Seed Fund Grant.

The application and selection schedule

There will be one call for Seed Fund Grant applications per calendar year.  The 2024 application deadline is April 17, 2024.  The application form is here.  The application checklist is hereFAQs are here.  A Budget Template is provided.

Upon the application deadline, applications are reviewed by the WIFV Executive Director for completeness and eligibility.  Following review of your application for completeness, it will be forwarded to the WIFV Seed Fund Grant Selection Committee.  The Selection Committee will meet within 60 days of the application deadline and notification of the results will be forwarded to you within one week of that meeting.  If you have been selected for a Seed Fund Grant, your first payment will be part of the notification.

Please do not contact any WIFV staff or Board Member with an inquiry about your application status during the selection process.  You will be notified as soon as the selection committee results are known.

The selection of Seed Fund Grant recipients

A WIFV Seed Fund Selection Committee is responsible for evaluating applications and selecting the projects for which WIFV will provide a Seed Fund Grant.  This Selection Committee includes WIFV Board Members and may include non-WIFV professionals from national media associations or film-related companies.  The Selection Committee is coordinated by the WIFV Executive Director.  The identity of the selection committee members will not be revealed until selection decisions are distributed and only upon request by Seed Fund Grant recipients.

Costs and Fees

There is no application fee for the WIFV Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers.

If your application is accepted and it is determined that WIFV fiscal sponsorship makes sense for your project, you will need to pay a $50 fiscal sponsorship application fee, but you will not need to resubmit an application.  More info on the WIFV Fiscal Sponsorship is here.

Seed Fund Contributors


Start-up funding for documentary projects is tough to raise, and many worthy projects never get off the ground.  Your tax-deductible contribution is a seed that will help a film grow.  Support the WIFV Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers with a gift of $35, $50, $100, or more. Our contributors since the start of the fund are listed below.  We would love to add your name! You can make your donation here.


Ben Abdul-Haqq
Sandra Abrams
Nikki Webber Allen
Yolanda Arrington
Carolyn Bain, PhD
Karen Baker
Leslie Baldwin
Jane Barbara
Dylan Graves Barbeta-Comstock
Felicia Barlow Clar
Susan Bodiker
Nancy Breslin
Via Buksbazen
Rebecca Bustamante
Cintia Cabib
The Callaway Golf Foundation
Sandy Cannon Brown
Caitlin Carroll
Frank Cevarich
E. Samantha Cheng
Randi Coblenz Cohen
Jennifer Cortner
Denene Crabbs
Alyscia Cunningham
LeeAnn Dance
Kathy Dismukes
Hugh Drescher
James Dunn
Erin Essenmacher
Joe Fab
Richelle Fatheree
Karyn Folan
Mary Frost
Jon Gann
Cynthia Gayton
Jerry Gietka
Erica Ginsberg
Carmella Gioio
Heather Godwin
Cecilia Gonzales
Scott Gordon
Terrance Green
Grace Guggeheim
Judith Dwan Hallet
William Harper
Henninger Media Services
Melissa Houghton
Carletta S. Hurt
Jane Ingalls
Interface Media Group
Cynthia Iris
Tara Jabbari
Keisha Jackson
Anna Jhirad
Amy Johanson
Cathy Kades
Andrea Kalin
Martha Karl
Aviva Kempner
Rachel Kennedy
Judy Kimel
Lance Kramer
Steve Lack
Jennifer Lawson
Mary H. Leahy
Hilary Linder
Lois Lipman
Scott Lunt
Debbi Mack
Irene A. Magafan
Emma Mankey Hidem
Carolyn Marie
Mark Maxey
Mary May
Pippa McBride
Rhonda McDaniel
Melanie McDonald
Vicki McGill
Regina Meeks
Beth Mendelson
Jill Merrick
Judy Meschel
Brianna Morgan
Emily Morrison
Michael Moser
Martha Newman
Robin Noonan-Price
Elisabeth Noone
Sandy Northrop
Catie O’Keefe
Ott House Audio
Kathi Overton
Dianne D. Perrote
Robin Phillips
Roberta Pieczenik
Jacqui Porth
Matthew and Anne Radcliff
Nora Rappaport
Rosemary Reed
Alikia Reeves
Marsha Rehns
Robert Remy
Linda Robbins
Cathie Saadeh
Lizzie Sams
Amita Sarin
Carol Savoie
Jennifer Schwerin
Glenn Scimonelli
Hillary Shea
Delancey Skinner
Robin Smith
Sheila Smith
Sharon Sobel
Harvey Solomon
Ross Stansfield
Flo Stone
Sheri Ratick Stroud
Carsten and Ellen Tripler
Vicki Warren
Monda Raquel Webb
Chris Weber
Marilyn and Hal Weiner
Diane Williams
Rebekah Wingert-Jabi
Bart Woodward
Word Wizards
Catherine Wyler
Tatiana Zaharchenko