In September of 2012, journalist Barrett Brown wasn’t just pursuing a story—he became the story.

Brown is the founder of Project PM, a onetime associate of hacktivist collective Anonymous, book author and writer for outlets such as Vanity Fair, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He was arrested in Dallas County for threatening an FBI officer via YouTube, and subsequently indicted on 12 federal charges related to the email leak of Stratfor, a private intelligence company. Most of those charges were eventually dropped, but he was eventually sentenced to 63 months in prison. From prison, he wrote a series of articles for The Intercept that won a National Magazine Award.

As he says in the below interview, filmmaker Alex Winter has tracked developments at the intersection of journalism and hacker culture for over 25 years. Though he’s most popularly known for early-career work as an on-screen actor (The Lost BoysBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), his expertise in this field led to two recent documentaries, Downloaded (2013) which detailed the evolution of Internet filesharing, and Deep Web (2015), which focused on the politics of the dark web and covered the trial of Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht. Winter’s attempts to film Barrett Brown in prison were rebuffed by the Bureau of Prisons, leading to a series of phone interviews that factor into his new Field of Vision short, which also recounts Brown’s arduous, time-sensitive journey from jail to halfway house with his parents—a journey that transpired less than a month ago. In the below interview, Winter recounts the logistics and challenges of that shoot, the value of turning a film around at a breakneck pace, and how he identified with Brown’s plight.  

When did you first hear about Barrett Brown?

Winter: I became aware of him before he was arrested, when he was doing Project PM, the web-based news organization that he founded, and then through the work that he did with Anonymous. These were people that I’ve been either associated with or have been very well aware of for many years. The intersection between journalism and hackers, and people using the Internet to disseminate and leak information—I’ve been very involved in that world since the late 80s, since the BBS Usenet era. Barrett kind of showed up on my radar as soon as he showed up on the general radar. I started approaching him about two years ago, trying to get an interview with him [while he was] in jail, and like many things with Barrett it was both grave and hilarious. The Federal Bureau of Prisons staunchly refused to let me in, even though I was just filing the regular media requests, which were supposed to be perfectly acceptable. They kept finding hilariously byzantine reasons for why each one was being rejected, and it became so comical that he ended up writing about my ill-fated attempts in one of his articles.

And so instead of interviewing him at the prison you started doing it over the phone?

Winter: Yeah, I decided to do weekly audio recordings with him, which I began over a year ago. I’ve got a mountain of really great discourse with Barrett that I got every week up until his release.

Did you intend to do anything in particular with those recorded interviews, or did you feel it was important to just keep doing them and figure it out later?

Winter: I felt it was important to just keep doing them. He’s an extremely important journalist, his situation is significant, and I felt his experience needed to be documented. I wanted to give him the opportunity to go beyond what was going to appear in print—which is amazing, which is why he’s won these awards—but just to let him riff. I was interested in covering his biographical history as well as his day-to-day life in prison. I didn’t have a very mercenary agenda. At some point I would like to make a long-form film about Barrett. It may or may not happen and I may or may not end up using that audio for it. But I did use some of it for this Field of Vision piece.

So you’ve got the audio interviews, which, as you said, you’ve been recording for the past year, and yet the majority of what’s in the film was filmed very, very recently. Normally there’s a much longer lag time between filming and publishing for a documentary like this. How did this come about?

Winter: I knew the date that he was being released, and he and his family both approved of me going to film him being released, and it occurred to me to pitch the idea to Field of Vision because it felt like something that would be potentially of value as journalism, as a filmmaker-driven journalistic piece. So I contacted them and said look, I’m going to shoot him regardless—I just need your sign off and your oversight and I’ll go get it done. I have my own gang here, so I knew that we could get it through a pipeline quickly. Our turnaround was pretty quick, but it was no different than making a news piece that has to get out. Frankly it helped having made Deep Web, which was like this times a thousand in that it was made during breaking news. So we’re really used to moving ahead at a breakneck speed.

Yet Deep Web was a feature you spent years making, and you shot this footage, what—two weeks ago?

Winter: Deep Web premiered literally the day that Ross Albrecht was sentenced. Which was a coincidence. We made it for a major cable network, EPIX, and they already had a date set. They had all their people standing by and I literally came out of the courtroom and went directly into their post—the actual cable post—and typed up what the sentence was and it aired across the U.S. like three hours later. So it was pretty identical to that experience. In some ways it was less hair-raising because there weren’t uncertain outcomes here. I mean, there were uncertainties, but it wasn’t like where I didn’t know that [Ross] was going to get a double life [sentence].

Speaking of uncertainties in this film, let’s talk about the absurdly short time in which Barrett was supposed to make it from the prison to the halfway house. Was your filming factored into the terms of the journey, for either the authorities or Garrett and his family?

Winter: Not really. I mean, I knew in advance that there was no way I’d be able to film him in prison—I’d been rejected, I gave up on that, and so I didn’t attempt to film on their property. I kept a distance and just documented a guy coming out into the world, extracted from one institution and then dropped into another. I was more concerned that his dates would change—they’re constantly changing things on him. His sentence doesn’t end until March, and because he’s still under the care of the Bureau of Prisons I thought anything is possible.

And so, even though you’d bee talking to him by phone for a year, the first time you met him was when he came out of the prison?

Winter: Yeah, it was bemusing. It was a very emotional day for him and his mom and dad, and a physically demanding day. He hadn’t been in a car in four years. He hadn’t been beyond the prison yard in four years, and he hadn’t really eaten food other than the prison food, so he got sick immediately. He’s a pretty stoic guy, but also he’s an emotional person like anybody else. But what I love about Barrett is that he’s got this razor sharp sense of humor, and he’s able to see the humor in his own situation. I also have a sense of humor about fairly grave things—you kind of have to—so we hit it off in that regard right away. We’d bonded over the phone all these weeks and so we just fell into that rapport. We know each other, we just hadn’t physically met. Which is actually not an uncommon set of circumstances. I dealt with Sean Fanning on my Napster story for ages before we ever met. So I felt like we’d known each other by the time I started working with him on the ground. In the age of the Internet that’s not altogether uncommon.

The idea of getting into a car for the first time in four years and then having to spend the whole day in a car—its unbelievable. Considering the conditions of the shoot, were there any moments where any of them expressed or hinted that, “I get why this is important but I really would rather you not being here shooting this?”

Winter: No. No, he was great. Barrett had been living in a fish bowl for four years. And though I had developed a good rapport with his mother—it was the first day I met his father—I think it was more unsettling for them. It was a fairly intrusive thing for me to be doing, even though I keep a small footprint and we’re pretty stealthy about getting out of everybody’s face. But there were definitely times during the course of that day when it was awkward to have this film crew on this very tense and very emotional journey that they were on, because not only had they not had him in their care for all this time, but the Bureau of Prisons gave them very little time to get from one end of Texas to the other. It’s not hyperbole—they would have been a flight risk if they’d been fifteen minutes late. So they had this unnecessarily high-pressure time issue, which made the drive really stressful for everybody. And then there’s me asking, you know, “Can I get another shot of this? Oh, can you not get out of the car yet? And oh, you got out on the wrong side. Could you lower your head so I could get the shot of this building?” I mean, that was the day.

It winds up being really dramatic and cinematic, with the bulk of the film happening inside the car, in a race against the clock as they drive across the state. And because of that very pronounced confined space, you become very aware of when the camera is next to him versus when it’s behind him, all of that. What guided those decisions, and how did you negotiate adding more bodies to that small space?

Winter: Well, we had a fairly big SUV, which had a front seat, a middle bench and back bench. There was my DP and sound guy, and I lived in the very back. And we had a GoPro running all the time in the very front seat to get shots of his mom. Now, I’m mostly a narrative filmmaker—I’ve only been doing doc stuff for a short while now—so I just treated it like a narrative, like I was going to shoot a car sequence. I knew going in that I wanted the whole thing to happen in this confined space. I thought it would give the narrative some momentum and some shape. But also, because the guy had been in jail, I liked the idea of shooting in a confined space. I thought it would convey some of the essence of how he has been living for the last four years. So we basically constructed the day like I would if I were shooting a narrative car sequence. And my guys were really sensitive, and we weren’t barking orders. We set everyone up with lavs and just kind of faded into the background. And that allowed us to get a lot of genuine, not guarded, and not manufactured stuff out of them, especially Barrett. As I said, he has been under scrutiny by strangers for years.

There’s a subtle move, after he gets sick, with the camera pulling back from the second to the third row, and in a sense it’s almost comical—you’re giving him extra room, which means like two extra feet. But it makes a real effect when you’re watching it. You too want to give him that extra room, and it creates a tone of accommodation rather than voyeurism.

Winter: I like changing up the angles and I also like what those angles tell us. We’re just here observing this guy in this really vulnerable moment. I like that shot a lot too, over the back bench of the car, and also the shot of him sleeping. Passed out and just so exhausted from the whole experience. Because of the length of the journey obviously we were able to give him time. I think he was asleep for an hour and a half. And we just chilled out.

With this piece, and with your dealings with Barrett in general, you’re in effect a journalist observing and telling a story about another a journalist—he’s basically both subject and colleague. And a colleague that shares some of the same preoccupations and concerns that you do. Are there things you had to negotiate in terms of that?

Winter: I have never experienced that before, you’re right. Barrett and I do share a lot of similarities, even though I am older than he is and come from a different generation. And I am more of a filmmaker than a journalist. In negotiating the story I wasn’t trying to exonerate him—what he did was outrageously wrong. Even though he was out of his mind going cold turkey off heroin—he still made [those threats]. But I really identify with the level of anger that can come from being targeted. I look at his case, Aaron Swartz’s case, and at people who have been targeted for actions that are not actually illegal. Barrett was targeted. And his reaction to being targeted was inappropriate. Aaron Swartz’s reaction was ultimately tragic. I feel an enormous sense of identification. I wouldn’t call it sympathy or empathy, because I don’t think it’s appropriate to threaten people’s lives and I don’t condone that at all. But I do feel enormous identification with the depth of the emotional response to “I was practicing journalism and I was getting information out to the people it needed to get out to and I was being unjustly targeted for that.” Barrett’s a very interesting person for that to have happened to because he’s so articulate and so dogged. I have not been in a place with a subject like that before.

Do you feel fully comfortable going out with a piece like this, knowing that it’s going to dovetail a bit with his own reporting?

Winter: I have enormous regard for his journalism. He’s a brilliant writer. I think he’s honestly one of the best we’ve got. We need people like him. But I don’t see much crossover happening otherwise. I just respect it. And I would be very interested in following his path, in terms of seeing where he goes and documenting it.

How about working again at this breakneck pace? Obviously you’ll be working on features, but might you make more of these short pieces that can enter right into the conversation?

Winter: The longer form stuff I’m doing takes forever. I’m making a Frank Zappa film, and it’s probably going to take me at least another two years. Given the state of the country, the political climate and the president-elect, I am very eager to keep telling stories and getting out these filmmaker-driven news pieces. I have a couple others in mind that I am tempted to jump into. I think that it’s really important that all of us do whatever we can with whatever we’ve got.

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


More to Watch

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Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya

Scenes from a Dry City (12 min.)

Simon Wood and François Verster

The Trial (15 min.)

Johanna Hamilton

Crooked Lines (11 min.)

Monica Berra, Yoruba Richen and Jacqueline Olive

Nuuca (12 min.)

Michelle Latimer

44 Messages from Catalonia (18 min.)

Anna Giralt Gris and Ross Domoney

CamperForce (16 min.)

Brett Story and Jessica Bruder

Graven Image (10 min.)

Sierra Pettengill

Our 100 Days 7/7

American Carnage (9 min.)

Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert

The Town I Live In (10 min.)

Matt Wolf and Guadalupe Rosales

Captured in Sudan (28 min.)

Phil Cox, Daoud Hari and Giovanna Stopponi

Timberline (12 min.)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Duterte’s Hell (8 min.)

Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag

Conditioned Response (6 min.)

Craig Atkinson and Laura Hartrick

Our 100 Days 4/7

Here I’ll Stay (10 min.)

Lorena Manríquez and Marlene McCurtis

Our 100 Days 3/7

An Uncertain Future (11 min.)

Chelsea Hernandez and Iliana Sosa

Our 100 Days 1/7

An Act of Worship (9 min.)

Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy

The Moderators (20 min.)

Adrian Chen and Ciaran Cassidy

Clowns (7 min.)

Alex Kliment, Dana O'Keefe and Mike Tucker

Project X (10 min.)

Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke

Hopewell (3 min.)

Lorena Manríquez

The Vote (12 min.)

Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko

Like (9 min.)

Garrett Bradley

Concerned Student 1950 (32 min.)

Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj and Kellan Marvin

Peace in the Valley (15 min.)

Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher

Homeland is not a Series (7 min.)

Arabian Street Artists Heba Y. Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl aka Stone

#ThisIsACoup 4/4

Surrender or Die (16 min.)

Theopi Skarlatos and Paul Mason

Eric & “Anna” (14 min.)

Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway

Birdie (14 min.)

Heloisa Passos

The Above (8 min.)

Kirsten Johnson