Funding continues to be one of the greatest challenges for emerging diverse filmmakers. Even when producers have great ideas and experienced mentors attached to their projects, a lack of funds can stall or completely halt their progress. Often, producers just need a small grant to keep them moving towards the next stage and keep their projects alive.

The Next Step Fund was created to respond to this crucial need. The NSF will provide up to $25,000 in production and post-production funding to five to seven filmmakers who are already in the Producers’ Lab to complete innovative documentary films that tell stories about people, places, and issues that are underrepresented in the mainstream. Funded activities may include travel, shooting, editing, and other mid to completion phase activities.

The goal of the NSF is to help filmmakers advance their projects even in the absence of major funding. Grantees will be selected on the quality of their project and their ability to demonstrate how a small grant from the fund will allow them to move their project to a significant next phase. The NSF is made possible by the generous support of the John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.