William Greaves Fund

The William Greaves Fund resources talented, mid-career nonfiction storytellers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the United States, as well as filmmakers from Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia with a particular interest in those who identify as being of Indigenous and/or of African descent.





Firelight Media's William Greaves Fund supports mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the United States and filmmakers in Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia, with particular interest in those who identify as Indigenous and/or of African descent.

The Fund is dedicated to resourcing and supporting talented storytellers with grants ranging up to $40K each to support research and development on a feature-length nonfiction film. The Fund also provides grantees with limited coaching hours, as needed and based on the particular requirements of each project. The international nature of the call reflects Firelight’s commitment to nurturing transnational solidarity among filmmakers and artists.

To address the devastating toll that the pandemic has had on the independent film community, and how unstable work in the industry can be for filmmakers of color in general, the William Greaves Fund includes a basic care stipend that can be put toward any essential need grantees have, from healthcare and childcare costs to any other necessary resources. Firelight Media recognizes that reliable support like this is fundamental to producing creative work. The basic care stipend reflects Firelight Media’s commitment to ensuring underrepresented communities are actively cultivated, participating in, and influencing the nonfiction space and a broader discourse. Our criteria for selection (see below) reflects our commitment to creative rigor, imagination, ethics and accountability to impacted communities in filmmaking practice.

The application to the William Greaves Fund is currently closed. Stay tuned for announcements concerning the 2022 Fund.

William Greaves Fund criteria from 2021 are listed below for reference.

  • We will consider projects that address a range of themes and issues.
  • We will consider projects with a range of aesthetic approaches (verité, essay, experimental, investigative, personal, historical, etc.).
  • We will consider projects that are ambitious or narrowly focused.
  • We will consider submissions from filmmakers based in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Brazil.

We value and will consider submissions from filmmakers of all refugee and immigration statuses, recognizing that migration flows are necessitated by the global challenges and forces we seek to overcome.

We take notice when projects are socially relevant, formally innovative, address or engage underrepresented issues or communities, and are accountable to the impacted communities their films represent.

  • Filmmakers must self-identify as being from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community
  • Filmmakers must be based (i.e. living and working) in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, and/or Brazil
  • Must be a mid-career* Director**
  • Must be for a feature-length documentary film in the pre-production phase
  • Our starting point is to define a mid-career filmmaker as someone with an established track record or substantial body of nonfiction cinema works, including but not limited to the completion of 2 feature-length documentaries to date and 7-25 years of experience. But given the variable backgrounds filmmakers often have, particularly when facing structural barriers in the industry, we will consider proposals that necessitate a different definition of “mid-career.” We expect a clear articulation of why your career trajectory positions you as mid-career if you do not fit this definition of mid-career.
  • **Producers applying on behalf of a Director should apply in collaboration with the Director. Please note the funds will go towards the Director and not the Producer. Collectives that apply should note that the majority of their collective should identify as being from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community and should be majority mid-career as per the definition above.


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