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

The Next Step Media Fund was created to respond to this crucial need. The NSMF will provide up to $25,000 in production and post-production funding to filmmakers who are already in the Documentary Lab to complete innovative nonfiction 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 NSMF 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 grant from the fund will allow them to move their project to a significant next phase. The NSMF is made possible by the generous support of the John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.