Filmmaking Grants

Each year, SDF is proud to award 20 cash grants to filmmakers telling stories they are connected to, that fully represent the complexity and nuance of the American South.


  • Applicants must reside in one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • The grant cycle for 2020 is now closed.


These grants are made possible thanks to generous support from The MacArthur Foundation. For questions regarding eligibility or the application process, please email:

Previous Grantees for Production and R&D are listed here. The North Carolina Grant winners are listed here.

We will be awarding at least 10 grants in the amount of $5,000.

Yes, we are looking for Southern Makers. You may collaborate with a key team member who resides in another state, however, the primary Maker must reside in the South. 

Makers who are enrolled in an academic or degree-granting program at the time of application or during the grant period are not eligible; however, school faculty are eligible to apply. 

No, you can not apply separately, we will accept one application per project, per grant cycle.

You do not have to be a non-profit or have an LLC to apply.

Yes, as long as you are able to document your hours and the work that you’ve done. 

We hope that you use the research and development process to help you determine the length and scope of your film.

There is not a turnaround time for a completed project. 

It’s not about how long it is, but how the piece represents you as a filmmaker.

First time applicants often do not address these questions:

-Why am I passionate about making this project?

-Who is my core audience?

-Is your film journalistic or advocacy in nature?