The 2017 BFF Grant Cycle is now closed.
Thank you to all the applicants!

The next cycle begins April 2018.

All applicants must live or work in the cities of Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, and Oakland.

BFF accepts applications from filmmakers in Production, Post-Production or Distribution.
BFF requires a maximum of 10 minutes of edited footage to be submitted with your application.



The Berkeley FILM Foundation (BFF) is pleased to announce the 2017 film and video grant program. Once you have read through the grant guidelines and find you are a qualified candidate, we invite you to submit an application from April 3 to May 5, 2017.

The mission of the BFF is to nurture, sustain and preserve the thriving local film community and provides grants for social, historical and innovative documentary, animation and dramatic work(s).

Grant Description
The BFF fund will support Bay Area emerging and established independent filmmakers whose work combines intellectual clarity with creative use of the medium.

2017 Funding Guidelines
Berkeley FILM Foundation awards grants in the production, post-production and distribution stages. We do not fund pre-production projects. For ITVS funded films, we can only accept applications for distribution.  Maximum grant request is $12,000. Applicants may submit one project for consideration per funding cycle.  If you are a previous grant award winner, you may not reapply in consecutive years. In a non-consecutive year, if you are reapplying for the same project, it should be for funding in another category.
(i.e. If you received production or post production funding, you may reapply for outreach and community engagement funding.)


  • Filmmaker must work or live in Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond and Oakland.
  • Must use a valid street address for application, no P.O. Boxes accepted.
  • Applicant must be the Director or Producer of the film.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be residing or working in a qualified city for at least one year prior to the application deadline.
  • Be the primary creator of work submitted.
  • BFF will not consider a new film proposal from a former grant recipient until the prior funded film is completed.

Eligible Genre:

  • Short Form Animation (30 minutes or less)
  • Short Form Narratives (30 minutes or less)
  • Short Documentary (40 minutes or less)
  • Long Documentary (over 40 minutes)

Not Eligible:

  • Broadcast news journalism
  • Broadcast reality entertainment
  • Advertising Commercials
  • Trailers, Clips or Proposal for a longer film
  • Industrial or Corporate Media
  • Animation over 30 minutes
  • Narratives over 30 minutes
  • Music Videos

What We Do Not Fund:

  • We do not cover costs retroactively.
  • Media projects other than film or video.
  • Organizational projects for internal or promotional use.
  • General operating expenses of companies or organizations.
  • Student Projects.

(Guidelines Continued)


Applicants will be required to submit the following items:
Grant Applications: Only the online application will be accepted, do not submit hand written applications. (Application, resume and budget MUST be in PDF Format)

Current Resume
Please attach a current resume for the director and producer of professional activities and achievements (maximum 1 page each) with the application. Other key personnel on the project may be listed on the resume.

Please attach your project budget for consideration. If applying for a distribution grant, please provide a detailed distribution budget and include the total production cost.

Work Samples
Animation, Narratives, Short & Long Form Documentaries:  Provide a maximum 10 minute clip as a VIMEO LINK to your project. If a password is needed, use: BFF.

*For Animation or Narratives- provide a PDF storyboard and up to 20 pages of script as a PDF*

Distribution:  Provide a maximum 10 minute clip of your finished project as a VIMEO LINK if a password is needed, use: BFF.

Application Review
Grants will be approved by the Berkeley FILM Foundation Board of Directors acting upon the recommendations of the Grant Review Panel. The Grant Review Panel is comprised of six industry media professionals distinguished in their respective artistic fields including one Civic Arts Commissioner.

Application review procedures are as follows:

  • Official applications and support documents must be received VIA EMAIL: appberkeleyfilmfoundation@gmail.com on or before 3:00pm, Friday, May 5, 2017.
  • Resumes, project description and accompanying materials are forwarded to members of panel for review. 
  • Panel convenes and makes award recommendations.
  • Panel recommendations reviewed and approved by BFF Board of Directors.
  • Applicants will be notified of award decisions in July, 2017.
  • Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

Note:  The Berkeley FILM Foundation anticipates receiving more deserving applications than can be funded.  Not being funded does not necessarily reflect unfavorably on the worthiness of an application, nor does it preclude future applications.  All films that are awarded grants need to be made available for one community screening following completion, taking into consideration signed distribution contracts.

Only the official online application will be accepted.  It will not be considered complete until accompanying documents are received at appberkeleyfilmfoundation@gmail.com on or before 3:00pm, on Friday, May 5, 2017.  No exceptions.

Grant Awards:
Up to $12,000 for general awards.
Up to $5,000 for student awards.
The Saul Zaentz award is $25,000* and The Al Bendich award is $20,000*.

* These awards will be determined by the Grants Review Panel, there is no application for either award.