The Southern Documentary Fund offers fiscal sponsorship for documentary projects made in or about the American South. Having a fiscal sponsor allows artists to solicit funds from government agencies, foundations, trusts, individuals, and other philanthropic sources that require IRS nonprofit status in order to contribute to a project. These contributions are then tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Comprehensive applications are required for each project seeking sponsorship (see submission info below). All submissions are reviewed by our New Projects Panel, and accepted or denied based on artistic and editorial merit, the artist’s ability to complete the project successfully, and the need for fiscal sponsorship and mentoring services. Sponsored projects range from broadcast-quality feature-length documentaries with budgets close to one million dollars, to relatively modest projects with budgets in the thousands. We sponsor first films by passionate and talented novices, as well as works of mid-career professionals or veterans. In addition to films, SDF is proud of our distinctive collection of sponsored photography and audio projects. The range of subject matters is broad and diverse, including projects about social justice, the environment, history, and the arts.

SDF’s fiscally sponsored projects receive annual in-depth project consultations; crowd-funding consulting and campaigns through our partner platforms; rough cut reviews and public work in-progress screenings; pro-bono legal, distribution, and engagement consultations with entertainment attorneys, distribution executives, and impact producers; and unique pages on SDF’s website (including a donation button). SDF charges a modest 5% administrative fee for any monies contributed to projects through our Fiscal Sponsorship program, plus credit card or other payment processing fees incurred for online donations.

Submission Instructions

Artists are invited to apply to SDF for fiscal sponsorship on a quarterly basis—deadlines are January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15. The application fee is $50. If you have an urgent need for sponsorship that falls outside our established deadlines, please contact SDF staff for information regarding an out-of-cycle application. The fee for out-of-cycle applications is $75. All applications for sponsorship are accepted through our online form at submittable.com.

  • Click here to apply.
  • The required fee must be paid separately through PayPal here.
  • Download a budget template here.

If you have questions regarding fiscal sponsorship or the application process, please contact us at info@southerndocumentaryfund.org.

New Projects Panel

Chair
Vivian Bowman-Edwards

Panelists
Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich
Jim O’Brien
Loren Smith
Rachel Raney
Nicole Triche
Monique Velazquez

Deepest thanks to former panelists over the years:
Mark Barroso
Dawn Dreyer
Sandra Jacobi
Eric Johnson
Michelle Lanier
Eric Martin
Marc Maximov
Bruce Orenstein
Tom Whiteside
Judy Van Wyk