For several days in November, the nation’s eyes were turned to Columbia, Missouri, a modest-sized, leafy town between St. Louis and Kansas City, and the home of the main campus of the University of Missouri. In response to several incidents of racist harassment on campus, which many black students viewed as merely the tip of the iceberg, a group called Concerned Student 1950 — a reference to the first year black students were admitted to the university — began a series of public demonstrations. Catalyzed by student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike on November 3, and the football team’s threat to stop playing five days later, the president of the Missouri university system, Timothy Wolfe, resigned on November 9. As protestors celebrated their victory in a tent city on a university green, a secondary conflict arose between supporters of Concerned Student 1950 and members of the media, many of them students at the university.

As debates mushroomed in the news and on social media, a small group of student filmmakers began capturing the entire series of events from the inside. The first students in the Documentary Film sequence at the new Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism, studying under department director Stacey Woelfel and filmmaker Robert Greene (Actress), these junior-year students grabbed their cameras, gained access, and captured footage that no other outlet could, operating — and learning — utterly on the fly. Field of Vision spoke with the three credited directors of “Concerned Student 1950” — Varun Bajaj, Adam Dietrich, and Kellan Marvin — about the challenges of access, collaboration, emotional investment, and making a film about their complicated university community.

When did you start tracking the developing story on campus?

Varun Bajaj: We had all heard about the incident with Peyton Head, our student body president, being called a racial epithet on campus. We’d all heard about the swastika that was drawn in a bathroom, we’d heard about our LBC court — which is the Legion of Black Collegians — being berated with racial epithets by drunk men. And so there were all these things happening on campus, and I think people in the black community on campus were really getting fed up with what was going on. The protests started, and the rest of campus didn’t really start putting together that this was going to be something bigger until JB [Jonathan Butler] started his hunger strike.

Adam Dietrich: I remember it was Tuesday, November 3. Bill Ross, who worked on Western and 45365, was doing guest lectures in all of our classes that week. Stacey [Woelfel] brought up the hunger strike that had started a day earlier, [and he said] to Bill, “What would you do? How would you go about shooting something like this?” And [Bill] said, “I would literally get up out of class right now, go get a camera, and start shooting immediately.” So as soon as we were done with class, that’s exactly what I did. I grabbed Varun and we headed out toward the campsite. At first they were really apprehensive to let us do anything. They just brushed us off and said, “Here’s an email address, let us know later what you want to do and we’ll get back to you.” They really didn’t seem like they were going to give us access at all. So I spent the next 24 hours asking through friends of friends, looking for someone I knew that might be able to connect me with some of the people that were part of the original organizers of the protest. Finally I found a girl I work with who was able to send a text message to Jonathan Butler himself and say, “Hey these guys are serious and they’d probably do justice to the story and try to tell it right.”

Bajaj: Once Adam got the access through JB, they just opened up to us and allowed us kind of free reign. We just hung out at the campsite for a few days — we weren’t even really rolling, we were just meeting people. And from then on, I didn’t really have any problems with anyone. Everyone was just so welcoming and open once they realized that we weren’t just there to stick our cameras in their faces.

Did you discuss that specifically with them?

Bajaj: Yeah, they had conversations with us about how they felt more comfortable with us. And after a few days, they started to put up “No Media” signs at the campsite, until they just had us [around]. Then as things started to escalate and protests started to happen, they were giving us the protest routes to help us with our shooting. The daytime media wasn’t getting that — I think right off the bat everyone knew we were doing something longform, something deeper. They trusted us, and we are so grateful that they did. Because there’s no way we could have gotten the story without that.

Dietrich: It wasn’t so much a First Amendment approach that we took. They really understood that we’re not from some newspaper or website trying to get a few pictures to put on the internet and make a paycheck. They really understood that we were there to be there, to really absorb as much as we could. And then Kellan kind of took a different path.

Kellan Marvin: I was just there, camping out and going to prayer groups and everything. One night, everyone made Adam and Varun go home and actually get some sleep, so overnight I filmed some stuff. Then Adam approached me because he said they needed an editor because I guess have a reputation for that, and so I started filming with them more. And it was easy for me — people recognized me around camp. But there’s still so much footage of people coming up to us and being like, “Can you guys not be here with your camera?” And I’m like, “I’m with Adam.” And they’re like, “Oh! Adam. OK.”

You got some great footage, a lot of it at close range. Not only did you get access, you were able to capture the sort of intimate, close-up shots needed for this kind of storytelling. Did you have to negotiate that degree of proximity, or did it come naturally as events unfolded?

Dietrich: It was a bit more natural. Earlier on they’d come to us and say, “It’s really cool that you’re doing a documentary. What kind of stuff are you looking for?” Then [at other times people would say], “This is a really emotional time for a lot of us and we’re all probably going to be crying.” And we were very upfront, saying, “Well, if you’re crying, I’m going to bring the camera and put it in your face because those are moments we need to tell your story. But also, if you’re ever at a point where I’m in your face and you’re letting me film you crying, and you’re like, ‘This is too much, I just need a second,’ just say, ‘Adam, go away.’” And I’d turn the camera off and walk the other direction to let them have their time. I can only imagine how grueling some of these things were for them, emotionally and mentally. It was a combination of acquiring access for moments like that and also just being human.

Bajaj: We weren’t afraid to put our cameras down. We filmed a few prayer circles here and there, but there were other times when we joined in on the prayer circles, and times when we cried with them. And cried while we were shooting.

I don’t think there’s a right answer to this, but I’m curious about the degree to which you felt like you were participating in what was going on. You needed to be somewhat removed from it in order to do your job, but you’re also there as a person and fellow student.

Bajaj: I actually think I got a little bit too involved. I’m a student of color, I’m of Indian descent, but I don’t go through nearly the same things that the black students on our campus go through. But we were spending 18, 20 hours a day with them, so it was impossible, for me at least, to not consider myself part of the movement. But I did understand that I had a different role in the movement than anyone else because we were there as filmmakers. I still consider the people we met to be some of the greatest people I’ve met at Mizzou, and some are great friends now. For me, it got very, very personal.

Marvin: Actually, one of the original members of one-nine-five-oh is in sociology class with me. We would have conversations about this all the time, so I felt way more involved in all of the activism from the beginning, and kind of had a hard time when I was I expected to be a student journalist, because I saw how many journalists were out there just hoping it was their big break. Obviously, I’m never going to be able to entirely separate myself from how I feel about these issues, and the fact that I actually do want to participate in being part of the change, not just capturing it.

Dietrich: There were a few things that I did intentionally through the process to keep myself as objective as possible. You know, I’d put the camera down and hang out and sit with them and just be another student, and then I’d pick the camera up and use the lens as a shield between me and them, to keep me a little bit more objective. But it was really hard. There were a lot of times, especially early on, when it was really emotional. Varun and I would have to pull each other back. I’d see him crying and chanting into his microphone, and I’d go to him and say, “You know, take a second, go calm down so you can appropriately shoot.” And he’d do the same thing for me.

Bajaj: This was such a huge thing on campus. This involved a university president, the highest educator in our university system, so this consumed campus. I didn’t really get to see my friends, [but] when I did talk to them, like via text, I would say, “I can’t talk about anything other than one-nine-five-oh. Is this affecting you guys in the same way?” And everyone was like, “Yeah. No one is talking about anything but this.”

Lets shift over to another aspect of this, which I would imagine was a real challenge considering the personal and emotional toll this was taking on all of you. Amid the developing events, were you strategizing for shot making? Were you considering yourselves, like, camera one, camera two, and camera three — planning out how to cover events on particular days or during particular moments?

Dietrich: Very quickly, Varun and I got really good at talking without talking. We’d see each other in the middle of a crowd and give each other this little look or hand gesture. But we also planned things out beforehand. We established our main eight or 10 characters who were going to pull this thing through when we [got to] the editing process. Depending on the event that we were shooting, Varun would say, “OK, I’m going to take characters. Adam you’re going to take the crowd as a whole and shoot reaction-type stuff or large group shots.” And then when Kellan came on a little later in the process, we would put her on detail stuff — hands, leaves, tightly focused stuff. So we did a lot of talking about it, but it’s really hard to plan how to shoot a protest when they’re marching through campus and the entire thing is live and happening in the moment.

Bajaj: Adam’s great at finding the right people in a huge crowd and getting their eyes, getting what they’re feeling. Kellan is amazing at detail shots and inserts and things that are more metaphorical. For me, I was definitely not afraid to be up front, and to be in the rest of the media’s photographs, so I was inches from people’s faces while they were leading the protest. After a little while, I think all of us realized our strengths. But everything goes out the window once [the action] starts. Then we just do our best, and try to feel the moment.

Marvin: Yeah, I hate group projects, but this actually worked out really well.

Do you feel any anxiety about putting this out there now? A sense of responsibility because of the access that you received?

Dietrich: Definitely, there’s a big feeling of responsibility. Because at this point, I feel it’s our job to do a really good job of telling this story. And then there’s this kind of backhanded piece to it, where I’m a white guy and I don’t want my voice to speak louder than theirs, because that completely dilutes their message, you know? I don’t want this to be whitewashed in any way, I don’t want to be able to see our fingerprints on it very much. I want to tell their story the way they’ve been telling it, because that’s literally the point of their movement.

Marvin: My anxiety is whether or not it’s as clear as we think it is. I’m with my grandparents right now, and I’ve been having a lot of conversations about this, and no matter how clearly I think I’m putting everything, as black and white as I can make it, it’s still not changing minds, it’s still not changing hearts. And so I’m just concerned that we’re not doing as big of a favor as we would like to.

Bajaj: For me, the anxiety comes from the fact that they didn’t want the media there because they knew students were only there to get their big break, and now we’re putting our names on this project. That’s something I’ve had to grapple with every day while working on this. I still don’t know how to feel about that. But this is my role in the movement, getting this footage out there. I guess I feel, the word I would use is a little dirty, that we’re being interviewed right now rather than them. But that’s something that I’m just going to have to deal with.

Everything you’re working through sounds just like the issues at play for filmmakers who’ve made numerous documentaries — the logistical challenges, the personal struggles, the dynamism of collaboration, the anxieties over doing your subjects justice. Yet since all three of you are new to nonfiction filmmaking, what do you feel that you’ve learned? Are you different filmmakers than you were just a few weeks ago?

Dietrich: Every other project, even in the documentary class, has been four- or five-minute short pieces where I could really visualize what the end result was going to look like before I even shot anything. Then one night, Varun and I were unsure of ourselves — like really, really unsure of ourselves. It was the first night that national media had gotten on the scene and CNN was in town, and the New York Times was there, and we started to feel like small fish again.

Bajaj: It was when we found out about the football team [threatening to refuse to play]. We were just like, “What are we doing?”

Dietrich: Then we got on the phone with Robert [Greene] and he’s like, “You guys were stupid enough to pick up the camera and get started on this thing, so finish it.” And that was the thing that we needed — to understand that we didn’t know what we were getting into. Even though I thought I did, I truly had no idea, and to think that I would have some idea of what the outcome would be when I started was just ignorant of me. So I learned to take projects like this in bite-sized pieces, truly just one step, one day at a time. You know — let’s pick up the camera and figure this out. I’m going to shoot here, Kellan’s going to do this, Varun’s going to do that. To spend more time behind the camera, more time with subjects and people that we’re working with, more time working in a team. The kind of things they want to teach us in school, but at this point, I believe you can’t learn that stuff in a classroom, you have to just go out there and do it.

Marvin: There were two big things for me. The first one was — and this is such a cliché — I learned what I need to learn. I need to learn how to shoot like Varun and find the real action, and I need to learn from Adam how to get access to people who might not necessarily want to be on film. And the other thing for me was, before documentary was even an option at Mizzou, I was like, I guess I’ll just work at [local TV station] KMU and eventually go from investigative into documentary making. I spent a lot of time in that newsroom, which is a very stressful environment, but it’s also very routine. I guess my problem with it was that you never got to develop those [close] connections. But documentary is very different from journalism, and it’s kind of re-learning everything I’ve come to think about what capturing real life should be.

Bajaj: This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. They were grueling days — it was emotionally and physically exhausting. But I found my passion through this process. I didn’t know that I knew how to shoot. I found that out while I was out there. We started this program in August, four months ago. I had no idea what I was doing. I had taken one multimedia journalism class. I’d watched a bunch of documentaries and I’d gone to True/False [Film Fest], but I didn’t know it was something that I could actually do. Adam and I always talked about projects that we wanted to do, and they always seemed so huge and impossible, but now I know that they’re not going be impossible, they’re just going be very, very hard. But if you put your head down and work your ass off, it’s something that you can do. So for me, I have the confidence that I can be a part of something that can mean something. I mean, the story literally landed on our front door, and we just picked up our cameras and went.

Field of Vision is partnering with Lawyers for Reporters to launch a free legal clinic for freelancers working in documentary in the United States. This program will provide legal information about specific topics and possible referrals to pro bono legal counsel.

Lawyers for Reporters is a joint project of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund that provides pro bono legal assistance to local journalists and media organizations.

Our volunteer lawyers can provide people working as freelancers in the documentary film community in the U.S. with information about the following subjects:

  • Newsgathering rights and potential legal exposure from newsgathering (but we cannot advocate on your behalf regarding Freedom of Information (FOI) requests).
  • Legal risks of publishing content, such as defamation, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement
  • Licenses, releases, and other content- and distribution-related contracts, but excluding film financing and other complex agreements
  • Risk assessment for filmmaking and security issues

If you are interested in receiving information and a possible referral to pro bono counsel, please fill out the intake form below. After your request is received, a member of our team will let you know whether an information session with our volunteer lawyers can be scheduled.

Intake Form Here.

Please note:

  • This program can only provide information, not legal advice.
  • Completing an intake form does not automatically qualify you for an information session.
  • Submitting an intake form and discussing a matter with a volunteer lawyer does not create an attorney-client relationship that would protect confidential information from disclosure in a legal proceeding.
  • A referral to pro bono counsel is not guaranteed even after a consultation.
Image from The Trial by Johanna Hamilton.

IF/Then Shorts, in partnership with Hulu Documentary Films calls short-documentary filmmakers based in North America to take part in the Inaugural IF/Then x Hulu Short Documentary Lab. This lab will channel Hulu and IF/Then’s shared vision of creating a new pipeline of diverse talent and incubating strong voices who will be the next class of non-fiction storytellers.

Program Details:

Four filmmaking teams will be chosen to participate in a one-year lab focused on short-documentary production and career training. For the first six months, filmmakers will be individually mentored through production by IF/Then staff and take part in monthly virtual cohort trainings, consisting of keynotes from industry heavy-hitters and edit consultations. Upon rough cut of their projects, filmmakers will be invited to debut their works-in-progress to an invitation-only audience and receive feedback. For the remainder of the program, filmmakers will finalize their cuts and receive high-level festival and distribution strategy consultations, along with guidance creating their publicity materials, and pro-bono legal support. Hulu will have the right to review the projects for potential acquisition or further development.

Each team will receive a $25,000 grant to use for the production of their film.

This opportunity will be open to individuals living in/from North America, with an emphasis on Black and/or Indigenous filmmakers, people of color, women, LGBTQ+, recent immigrants, and individuals who identify as having a disability. We will welcome any and all stories from underrepresented voices, with a strong preference around subjects related to gender, the LGTBQ community or issues unique to the BIPOC community.

Project Eligibility:

  • In addition to the identity eligibility of the maker and the theme, eligible IF/Then Shorts projects must meet the following criteria:
  • Be an original short documentary with a final duration of 10-20 minutes
  • Be completed within six to nine months of receiving the IF/Then Shorts grant
  • Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be designed for a U.S. audience
  • Be driven by (a) compelling character(s), with access to the character(s) secured
  • Be presented in English or subtitled in English
  • Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in the IF/Then Shorts distribution initiative
  • All stories and storytellers coming from countries and territories in North America. This includes the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa,) Canada, Greenland, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela, and countries in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Clipperton Island, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Andres and Providencia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands.


The application portal will open on January 15, 2021 and close at 11:59pm EST on Feb 15th.

  • January 15, 2021: Open call for IF/Then x Hulu Short Documentary Lab
  • March 31, 2021: Finalists announced
  • April 5, 2021: Virtual Program Kickoff


Submissions are now closed.

Please direct any questions regarding this application to

Starting July 22, IF/Then Shorts has a new home at Field of Vision. Joining Field of Vision will be IF/Then Shorts Program Director Chloe Gbai and Supervising Producer Caitlin Mae Burke. Founded in 2017 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, IF/Then Shorts is a fund and mentorship program that supports storytellers in breaking barriers to access, exposure, and sustainability in the media landscape. IF/Then works with creators who experience inequity based on factors such as race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, age, citizenship, and/or geography.

IF/Then Shorts taps into the need for broader geographical representation in the stories that get told through its regional pitch events. It holistically supports short documentary storytellers in their creation of compelling, character-led, community-inspired stories that embody the breadth and diversity of the people and places they represent.

The program addresses the imbalance of representation, perspective, power, compensation, and career longevity among independent filmmakers and media artists. IF/Then Shorts leverages access, expertise, network, and brand to address these challenges. Through grants, mentorship, industry connections, and professional development, IF/Then Shorts helps to ensure that storytellers from a multitude of backgrounds have access to the resources and tools they need to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and thrive in their careers. IF/Then Shorts was previously part of the Tribeca Film Institute, which is planning to pause operations indefinitely in September. "IF/Then Shorts is an incredible program, and one that’s vital to the field," said Charlotte Cook, Field of Vision's Co-Founder and Executive Producer. "We’re so glad that they can find their new home with Field of Vision. The program’s values align perfectly with Field of Vision, and further our overall commitment to shorts and advocating for filmmakers. Chloe and Caitlin are phenomenal, and I feel so lucky that they’ll be joining our team."

IF/Then Program Director Chloe Gbai said of the move: "We’re so excited that thanks to the MacArthur Foundation and Field of Vision we can keep this funding and development pipeline open to diverse, creative nonfiction talent past TFI’s pause this September. This program will have a new life and is ready to uplift the voices that we need to champion during these interesting times."

Supervising Producer Caitlin Mae Burke added: "As a former Field of Vision filmmaker myself, I know how beneficial it is to work with these trailblazers in the short documentary space. I'm overjoyed that all of our active projects and future supported filmmakers will benefit so immensely from this move, and we look forward to the tremendous growth potential for IF/Then possible under the Field of Vision umbrella." IF/Then is currently holding an open call for the North Shorts Grant and Fellowship, in partnership with Points North Institute, The Screening Room, Jigsaw Productions, and the LEF Foundation, for regional filmmakers in the American Northeast. About Chloe Gbai Chloe Gbai is the Director of IF/Then Shorts. Previously, as the POV Shorts and Streaming Producer, she launched POV Shorts, which earned POV its third documentary short Oscar® nomination, two News & Doc Emmy nominations and an IDA Awards nomination for Best Short Form Series.  She has previously worked at Teen Vogue and Viacom, as well as served on review panels and juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, Sheffield Doc/Fest, ITVS, IDA Awards, Black Public Media, Creative Capital, and various other film organizations. She is a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia and a member-in-residence of the Meerkat Media Collective.

About Caitlin Mae Burke Caitlin Mae Burke is an Emmy-winning producer. Her films have screened and won awards at top tier festivals including Sundance, Berlinale, and Tribeca Film Festival and have been broadcast across the US and around the world. Her work has screened at MoMA, The Museum of the Moving Image, and in movie theaters internationally. She is an inaugural inductee to DOC NYC's "40 Under 40" and alumna of Berlinale Talents. IF/Then currently has funding opportunities available for filmmakers. Please find more information here.

Field of Vision has partnered with Doc Society and Sundance Institute to launch Independent Documentary: Filming in the Time of Corona, a new Risk Assessment Guide for independent documentary filmmakers who are considering starting or resuming production during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Many filmmakers are asking themselves — and others in the documentary field — the big question: Should I be filming at all?

As our field discusses and debates this particular question — and its ethical and and public health implications — Field of Vision, Doc Society, Sundance Institute, and our co-signatories are offering a “living document” that provides guidelines, a checklist, and questions for independent documentary film teams to ask themselves, each other and their partners. It is our hope that this guide will help filmmakers make informed decisions and help keep everyone safe.

We’d like to acknowledge our gratitude to all of the the co-signatories of the Risk Assessment Guide, who helped consult on, and improve the guide: Asian American Documentary Network (ADoc), Asociación de Documentalistas de Puerto Rico (ADocPR), ACOS (A Culture Of Safety) Alliance, Ambulante, American Documentary/POV, Black Public Media, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Chicken & Egg, DOCUBOX, Impact Partners, Indian Documentary Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, National Association of Latino Producers (NALIP), Pacific Islanders in Communications, Perspective Fund, Scottish Documentary Institute, Topic, Vision Maker Media: Native Stories for Public Broadcasting, and others.

This is a rapidly changing situation as well as a long-term reality. Those of us in the documentary field will need to be mindful, flexible, and diligent as our risk assessment continues to evolve in order to keep not only our community safe but also the communities we collaborate with in the stories we tell. This new normal is unprecedented, but our documentary community is nothing if not committed to responding to this profoundly unique situation.

The guide will be updated as the situation develops and as we receive additional feedback from filmmakers and support organizations.

This list has been compiled as a guide to help documentary filmmakers in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on the filmmaking community.

We’re going to keep adding to this document as we find any more support available to the community.

We’re also hoping to provide more initiatives and services ourselves, and you’ll be able to find all of those as we add them on this page.

This guide is separated into the following sections:

  • Field of Vision Resources
  • General Data and Preparation
  • Industry Work Information
  • Relief Funds for Filmmakers & Small Business
  • Current Project Funding
  • COVID-19 Financial Help: Resource Lists and Guides
  • Industry COVID-19 News
  • Festival Status & Updates
  • Other Resources

This is a living document and will be updated as more information becomes available.

We'd like to acknowledge and thank the organizations who have made their own compilations of resources available to the community, including: Creative Capital, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Washington Filmworks, Coronavirus Resource Kit, Collective Care By State, Dear Producer Blog, and Independent Cinema Office.

If you know of any other support available to filmmakers, please email with information.

Field of Vision Resources

Mentorship & Consultation Service

Our virtual "office hours" service is available for filmmakers, and offers consultation on a variety of areas. We’re prioritising filmmakers who’ve been affected by festival postponements and production changes, but will also be available to offer a range of mentorship and consultation around a variety of areas.

We have booked up our first 200 allocated meetings, but are running a waitlist and hope to open up more slots asap. The waitlist is here.

Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund

A $250,000 fund to provide grants for freelancers working in the Documentary field. The fund distributes unrestricted grants of up to $2000 to support personal financial needs during the COVID19 pandemic to freelancers who have experienced hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a result of the pandemic.

The fund is open to freelancers working. worldwide

The fund will open next on May 6th from 9am ET until May 8th at 6pm ET or until we reach 750 applications.

Information about the fund can be found here.

Field of Vision Project Funding

Field of Vision provides funding for both Short, Feature-length and Episodic projects at all stages of development, production and post-production. We have no deadlines and commission and fund on a rolling basis. We are looking for a strong artistic vision and approach and films that tell the stories of our world from new perspectives.

To see our criteria please visit our submissions guidelines here


Features & Episodic

General Data and Preparation

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, it is important to stay up to date with information related to public health and civic engagement. Below are sources for general information and statistics about the outbreak:

COVID-19 Data Pack from Information is Beautiful

Symptoms and Statistics

Emergency Kit- Al Jazeera

Legal rights in a quarantine

Industry Work Information

The nature of our industry makes work stoppage and social distancing difficult. Below are resources for filmmakers who have to travel, work on location, or work from home for the first time:

The Economic Impact of Coronavirus Survey

Travel and On Set Information

How to travel during the international coronavirus outbreak

On Set Tips: From Washington’s Film Worker (bottom of page)

Film and TV Charity Covid-19 Advice

Working from Home

Work from home securely

These are the internet providers offering free Wi-Fi during coronavirus

Avid free 90-day licenses

FREE Temporary Licenses and More to Help You Work from Home

How to Disinfect Camera Equipment and Spaces

Series of webinars for the suddenly remote workforce

Other Industry Resources

What You Should Know About Online Tools During the COVID-19 Crisis

Pro Bono PR Services for Films with Festival Cancellations

Ways to Help Artists and Creatives During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Ideas for responding to COVID-19 in the Film Industry

Cash Flow for Filmmakers Webinar

Please note: Specific filming restrictions can vary from state to state, country to country, and so on. You should check with your local film office regarding filming on location at this time.

Relief Funds for Filmmakers and Small Business

Below are new funds set up specifically to relieve filmmakers during this time:

Artist Relief - This fund will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19. It was designed by Americans for the Arts to better identify and address the needs of artists.

BFI and the Film and TV Charity’s Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund - BFI and Film and TV Charity have partnered to create a new industry-backed Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to help support the creative community in the UK.

Covid-19 Freelance Artist Resource - A list specifically designed to serve all types of freelance artists and those interested in supporting the independent artist community during this time

COVID-19 WOC Artists Relief Fund - This fund is specifically for women of color working artists or creatives that have been directly impacted financially in light of COVID-19.

Disability Arts New Commissions - Disability Arts Online is a UK-based small organisation, committed to supporting their community during this time they’ve allocated £8,000 to new commissions for artists with disabilities.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program - Facebook is providing assistance in cash grants and ad credits.

Freelancers Relief Fund - Freelancers Relief Fund will provide financial assistance of up to $1,000 to freelancers who are experiencing sudden hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether as a result of illness, lost work, or caregiving responsibilities.

Global Open Call for Art - Amplifier has created an open call for work that focuses on public health, flattening the curve, and mental health during this global crisis. The organization will award $1,000 apiece to 50 artists, with new winning works announced each week, starting the first week of April.

NYFA Emergency Grants - Resources for arts and cultural organizations based here in New York and elsewhere.

PEN Writers’ Emergency Fund - PEN America will distribute grants of $500 to $1,000 based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants Program - Expected to be rolled out in late May or early June the grant will provide visual artists, media artists, and choreographers up to $5,000 worth of assistance for medical emergencies.

Relief Fund for Hollywood Support Staff - The entertainment organizations #PayUpHollywood, Scriptnotes Podcast and YEA! have teamed up to create the Hollywood Support Staff COVID-19 Relief Fund, aimed to assist LA-based support staffers affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

SAG-AFTRA Disaster Relief - Financial help to SAG-AFTRA members who have been impacted by this pandemic

Current Project Funding

Compiled Lists of Project Funding

American Documentary’s Filmmaker Resources - An extensive list of US and international funding sources

Doc Society Resource List - These links and documents are designed to connect you to the organisations you need to know to get your doc funded and make it all happen.

The EDN DOCalendar - The EDN DOCalendar provides an overview of what's happening in the international documentary industry.

International Documentary Association - Fiscal Sponsorship & Grants - A searchable database of available grants and fellowships

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Here are a few upcoming deadlines for key funding opportunities. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, but we’ll be adding to it over time


SFFILM Documentary Film Fund

The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports engaging documentaries in post-production which exhibit compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach.

Deadline: April 30th, 2020

Stage: Late Production and Post-Production

Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund

Provides funds to feature-length documentaries which highlight and humanize issues of social importance from around the world.

Deadline: April 30th, 2020

Stage: Production or Post-Production


Rogovy/Miller Packan Doc Fund

Supports Docs that address social issues that inspire others.

Stage: Advanced Development, Production or Post-Production

William Greaves Fund

Firelight’s William Greaves Fund is a research and development grant that supports nonfiction filmmakers of color based in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Brazil.

Stage: Development


IDA/Pare Lorentz

2020 funding focus is on criminal justice.

Stage: Early Production

Sundance Doc Fund

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for feature-length projects that display artful and innovative film language and techniques, rigorous research, originality, project feasibility, contemporary cultural relevance, and the potential to reach and connect with its intended audience.

Stage: Development, Production & Post-Production


ITVS Open Call

The documentary can be on any subject, viewpoint or style as long as it is in active production already, as evidenced via a ten to fifteen-minute work in progress sample. *not a grant, co-production agreement.

Deadline: July and then re-opens again in Feb 2021.

Stage: Production

NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theater

NYC Women’s Fund provides grants to encourage and support the creation of digital, film, music, television, and live theatre content that reflects the voices and perspectives of all who identify as women.

Deadline:*Opens Summer 2020/check site for updates.

Stage: Post-Production/Finishing Funds


ITVS Diversity Development Fund

The Fund looks to support exceptional stories by filmmakers from diverse backgrounds: stories that take creative risks, inspire dialogue, and are rarely seen on public media.

Stage: Development

Puffin Foundation

The Puffin Foundation has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.

Stage: Any


Tribeca Film Institute Doc Fund

The TFI fund sponsors documentaries that spotlight contemporary themes with unique, creative filmmaking.

Deadline: Opens in the fall.

Stage: Any stage of development or production

Fledgling Film Fund

Most recently interested in climate change, but social justice/impact is at the core of the fund.

Deadline: Re-opens in the Fall. *check site for updates

Stage: Typically Post

Rolling Deadlines

Perspective Fund

Perspective provides grant support to independently produced documentary films that highlight social justice and human rights issues, that align with our priority areas.

Stage: Any stage of development or production

Catapult Film Fund

Catapult is not tied to any specific social issue agenda. We support and encourage filmmakers to tell a full range of stories on film in whatever form fits the film and artist.

Stage: Development

Cinereach Feature Film Fund

Cinereach awards grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to support any stage of feature film production

Stage: Any stage of development or production.

COVID-19 Financial Help: Resource Lists and Guides

Creative Capital List - Creative capital aggregated list of resources for artists working in all disciplines, as well as arts philanthropists, and arts professionals.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance - The US Department of Labor’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides temporary benefits to people who, due to a major disaster, lost or had their employment or self-employment interrupted.

Emergency Funds for Freelancers - A list of mutual aid funds that distribute emergency grants to artists, creative professionals and freelancers facing financial hardships

Firelight SBA Loan Consultation - With the support of the Perspective Fund, Firelight Media is offering 30 minute one-on-one consultations for filmmakers of color who are applying for US Coronavirus Federal Relief.

IFP Resources for Filmmakers - Independent Filmmaker Project has curated a list of resource pages and opportunities we’ve found particularly useful and inspiring in these uncertain times.

ITVS: Applying for Federal Coronavirus Relief as a Filmmaker - Firelight Media, IDA, and ITVS are hosting a series of hour-long webinars to learn the basics of applying for the various SBA programs.

National Endowment for the Arts: COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations - A list of organizations that are currently providing frequently updated news and resources for artists and arts organizations.

New York State: Resources for New York State Arts and Cultural Organizations - The New York State Council on the Arts is compiling and daily updating resources to support New York State's artists and arts organizations, including emergency funds, small business support, learning opportunities, management support, and discipline-specific resources.

NYC Assistance & Guidance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus - Applications for the NYC Business Continuity Loan Fund may be paused for now, but there are other resources here for businesses operating in the five boroughs.

Southern Documentary Fund: Resources for Southern Filmmakers - A list of the websites, emergency funds and resource listings for Covid-19 response to artists and freelancers from the twelve Southern states that SDF serves

Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources - The US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) page for coronavirus funding options, CDC guidance for businesses and employers, and more.

Women Arts Media Coalition - A glossary and links to many resources, brought to you by the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition with the assistance WomenArts

Women Make Movies: Regional Resources - Many organizations are providing resources and support on the local level. Check out WWM’s list of regional resources to see if your local arts organization can help.

Remote Work Sites, Opportunities, Resources

Remote Work Opportunities

Remote Film Jobs Bechance



Creative Commissions

Industry COVID-19 News

Break COVID-19 Industry Cancellations

Privilege and Pandemic: How COVID-19 Reveals the Documentary Sustainability Crisis

Most SXSW Shorts Are Streaming Free Thanks to Oscilloscope and Mailchimp

A Way of Life in Peril

Select Film Festivals and Indie Movies Figure Out Online Access

Alamo Drafthouse relief fund for furloughed staff members

Festival Status & Updates

Below you’ll find links to the latest festival news. Many festivals are still scheduled for the fall; we've included submission dates for several below. We’ve also included links to updates from festivals that have been cancelled and postponed. Please feel free to send updates to help our community stay informed.

And please check out our Google calendar for upcoming festival deadlines:

Festivals: Upcoming Deadlines

Toronto International Film Festival

Regular Deadline - May 29

Final Deadline - June 12

AFI Festival

Late Deadline - June 5

Open City Documentary Film Festival

Regular Deadline - April 24

Late Deadline - May 8

Camden International Film Festival

Regular Deadline - April 27

Late Deadline - May 26

Extended Deadline - June 29


Late Deadline - May 1

Extended Deadline - July 1


Early Deadline - May 1

Late Deadline - August 1

New Orleans Film Festival

Late Deadline - May 8

Extended Deadline - June 19


Late Deadline - May 31, 2020

Extended Deadline - July 31, 2020

DOK Leipzig

Deadline - July 7

List of Festivals that have been affected by the pandemic:


Full Frame


Sun Valley Film Festival

TCM Classic Film Festival

International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

European media arts festival

The Miami Film Festival

San Diego Latino Film Festival

Ashland Independent Film Festival

Watsonville Film Festival

Indie Grits

Provincetown International Film Festival

International Uranium Film Festival (Almeria)

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival

San Francisco International Film Festival


Cleveland International Film Festival



Garden State Film Festival


Sydney Film Festival

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival


Riverrun International Film

Fargo Film Festival

Columbus Documentary Week

Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival

Sun Valley Film Festival

Online Only

Thin Line


Garden State Film Festival

Films on Art Festival (FIFA) Montreal

Movies that Matter film festival

DC Environmental

Hot Docs

Vilnius IFF

Visions du Reel

Environmental Film Festival (Washington, D.C.)

Cinema du Reel


Greenwich International



Canadian Film Fest

New Directors New Films

Montclair Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Film Festival

Prague International Film Festival

Bentonville Film Festival

Red Sea International Film Festival

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Blackbird Film Festival


Dox on the Fox

Oxford Film Festival

Havana Film Festival New York

Cannes Film Festival

Sarasota Film Festival

Edinburgh Film Festival

Sonoma International Film Festival

International Uranium Film Festival (Rio)

Newport Beach Film Festival

Doc10 Film Festival

American Black Film Festival

Sofia Film Festival (Bulgaria)

Red Sea Film Festival (Saudi Arabia)

Seattle Jewish Film Festival

St Patrick's Film Festival London

Calgary Underground Film

QDoc Film Fest


AKS International Minorities

Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival


Denver Women + Film

Cinema St. Louis Qfest


Atlanta Film Festival

Salem Film Festival

Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival

Princeton Environmental Film Festival

Millennium Docs Against


Sebastopol Documentary

ACT Human Rights Film

IFF Boston

Maine Jewish Film Festival

OutShine Miami LGBT Film

Other Resources

Watch free IDFA movies

Tired of Netflix? Stream Experimental Films and Video Art

Sundance Collab Master Classes

Netflix Party

Ten Free Ebooks from Haymarket Books

Free Quarantine Ebooks

New Day Resources for Educators

Home Grown Home-Based Child Care (HBCC) Emergency Funds


Women Make Movies Virtual Film Festival

2500 Museums Online/HYPERALLERGIC


Mononoaware Film Care Package


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Like (9 min.)

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#ThisIsACoup 4/4

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The Above (8 min.)

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