Film Project Grants at a Glance

Films that explore humanities themes may be eligible for an award of up to $15,000. Preference will be given to projects that address Massachusetts topics.

Mass Humanities makes a limited number of grants each year to support films that explore humanities themes and in which humanities scholars are actively involved. Our goals in doing so are: to support the involvement of humanities scholars in film projects, to support the viability of documentaries that explore humanities questions and issues, and to facilitate the distribution and use of such films. As a result, we support specific aspects of film projects, most of which are not what is usually seen as film “production.” However, filmmaking is no longer a linear activity with a beginning, middle, and end, so we offer the following guidance for those who wish to explore whether a project is a good fit for Mass Humanities funding. Additional questions should be directed towards one of our program officers. We encourage filmmakers to simply submit an LOI form early to start a conversation with a program officer.

Applicants may request up to $15,000 for projects that pursue the following objectives (formats are suggestive rather than restrictive):

  • Development of the project’s contours in conversation with a humanities scholar or scholars, as well as initial footage and research-based products (be they a trailer, a web page, or other format) that help with fundraising.
  • Development of crowd-sourcing and/or audience engagement practices for the project.
  • Third, the building and implementation of distribution possibilities through websites, distribution materials, shorter or school versions, shorts for discussion, discussion guides, and teacher training.

Deliverables for these grants must include substantial original material, both products of humanities-based research and video files, such as script development, trailers or shorts, or interactive websites. They can include the creation of interactive web and social media outreach strategies and work plans incorporating the use of web-based social tools such as Facebook, YouTube, online film festivals, and other platforms; the production of short films or film excerpts to be made available on a project website or used in discussion; or the development of an interactive or crowd-sourcing aspect of a project website where an outreach plan is already present. Distribution materials can include but are not limited to the development of promotional and instructional material, subtitling, television broadcast, public screenings with discussion, festival fees, and other outreach activities.