Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Documentary Film Funds: Their Missions. How to Find Them! (Part 2 of 2) Outside North America

We continue our analysis by the Sundance Institute‘s Senior Consultant for its Documentary Program, Bruni Burres, of the opportunities to secure funding from foundations and film initiatives.

This week: Sources outside North America

By Bruni Burres

Select International Documentary Funds

Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation

  • To date, Britdoc grants have enabled over 60 influential documentary films to be made –including To Hell and Back Again.
  • But Britdoc work only begins with documentary development and production grants, Britdoc also trains, informs, and assists in developing and executive outreach (alternative distribution) documentary film campaigns too.
  • UK Broadcaster, Channel 4 is Britdoc’s founding partner.
  • Channel 4 has an option to broadcast any of the Foundation funded films from our UK production fund that can work for their audiences.
  • They view the films once completed and through this mechanism many of our films have been shown on Channel 4 or More4.

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

  • This is a new global fund awarding £10,000-50,000 to documentary filmmakers from any country as a mixture of grants and investments.
  • The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, and bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.

Britdoc Puma.Creative Grants, 5,000 Euros

  • The BRITDOC Foundation and PUMA.Creative Grant.
  • We’ve created a series of awards providing financial support, creative counsel and industry recognition to international documentary filmmakers, whose creative storytelling highlights social justice, peace or environmental issues.
  • 6 Britdoc/PumaCreative awards in total.

Jan Vrijman Fund at IDFA (International Documentary Films Amsterdam

World Cinema Fund

  • The World Cinema Fund works to develop and support cinema in regions with a weak film infrastructure, while fostering cultural diversity in German cinemas.
  • It is an association of the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Goethe Institut, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Welle / DW Academy, the Foreign Ministry and German producers.
  • The World Cinema Fund supports films that could not be made without additional funding: films that stand out with an unconventional aesthetic approach, that tell powerful stories and transmit an authentic image of their cultural roots.
  • The World Cinema Fund has an annual budget of approximately 400,000 EUR and supports exclusively the production and distribution of feature films and feature-length documentaries.
  • The support is focused on the following regions: Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus.

International Documentary Photography Fund:

The Open Society Institute (OSI) of Documentary Photography Fund

  • The Documentary Photography Project uses exhibits, workshops, grant-making, and public programs to explore how photography can shape public perception and effect social change.
  • The project supports photographers whose work addresses social justice and human rights issues that coincide with OSI’s mission of promoting and expanding open society.
  • The project’s longest-running activity is Moving Walls, a group photography exhibition series that features in-depth and nuanced explorations of human rights and social issues. Moving Walls is shown at OSI offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.
  • In addition to organizing Moving Walls, the project’s recent activities and grant-making have included an international tour of past Moving Walls photographers in the Middle East and North Africa that included exhibits and trainings for local photographers and young people.

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project Audience Engagement Grant

Outreach & Engagement Initiatives and Grants

Good Pitch

  • A partnership between The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
  • The Good Pitch brings together filmmakers with NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, brands and media around leading social issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.
  • At each Good Pitch event, 6 to 8 filmmaking teams pitch their film and associated outreach campaign to the assembled audience with the aim of creating a unique coalition around each film to maximize its impact and influence.

The Fledgling Fund

  • The Fledgling Fund seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, families, and communities by supporting innovative media projects that target entrenched social problems.
  • With approximately $1.5 million in funding disbursed annually, The Fledgling Fund makes strategic grants and investments that help fledgling projects take flight.
  • They look for opportunities where their funding can play a key role in the life of a creative media project and potentially ignite social change.
  • Typically, these are grants at a critical stage of a media project where timely funding could amplify its social impact.
  • The Fledgling Fund leverages its resources by funding projects around a cluster of issues that they believe are critical including: girls’ empowerment and women’s leadership, health and wellness, and systemic poverty, among others.
  • In this way we can select media projects that not only highlight the complexity of these social problems but also offer solutions.
  • When possible The Fledgling Fund uses a three-pronged approach that includes funding for an innovative film or media project, funding for a strategic outreach and audience engagement campaign, as well as financial support for the community- based organizations that are committed to the issues raised in the film.

Previous Post

  • Funding sources in North America


About Bruni Burres

Bruni Burres has been working at the intersection between human rights and arts and culture as a curator, producer and consultant for the past 20 years, including serving as the co-founder and director of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.

Hot Docs Forum…

The Hot Docs Forum ended an hour or so ago with a sunny award ceremony outside Toronto’s Hogwarts-style Hart Hall.

  • Coming soon, our notes and Takeaways from 2 intense days of pitches
  • Plus, our conversations about ‘the state of the single doc economy’.



  1. Great! Thank a lot for assembling that list of funding bodies and opportunities to stay independent while delivering quality content…

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