Funding Bodies: Indie Film Production – Part 1
Life can be tough. Work, paying the bills, relationships, maintaining friendships, eating healthy, keeping fit, and generally just looking after yourself, can all be tough, and even more so if you have kids to look after. Now, try doing all of that when you’re an independent filmmaker also, and it takes things to whole other level.
The hours can be long and varied, jobs come through inconsistently and sometimes less frequent than you’d hope, friendships are left at the door due to said long and crazy hours, and the same can often be the case with relationships, eating becomes more routine than healthy with the often subpar on-set meals, and keeping fit becomes a thing of the past.
With all those challenges, you can often ask the question why. Why do this to ourselves? Well, simple answer is that we love it, and for those doing it only for the money are few and far between, though the public often don’t see it this way. But if they knew just how hard it is to make films, and maintain a career doing so when you’re not in the ‘system’, they would know our reasons are more pure than at first glance.
One of the main hardships that every, and I mean EVERY, indie filmmaker comes across, is financing their projects. Be it self funding through part time jobs, or even a full time job, as there are many weekend filmmakers running around when everyone else is off enjoying themselves with friends and family. Or maybe you’re trying to find the funds through aforementioned friends and family, which over a course of a career, could be one of the reasons why relationships with them are now strained.
There are of course the wealthy type investors you can find, or maybe even patrons of the arts willing to fund your pet project, but both of these are also hard to find and complicated in their own right. But one major source for the funding of independent films is local or national funding bodies. These bodies could be city run initiatives to help build cultural awareness within the city, a regional programme, or maybe even a wider reaching national one, but either way, this is one crucial source for financing, and will be the focus of this article.
Where Can You Find Funding
Let’s start at the beginning, or at least at the closest place to where you might be based, and that’s the city you live in. Within your city, you might be lucky to find various funding bodies, that may not even be film based, but either cultural or business focused, of which both can still be approached with a film idea, if approached correctly.
These funding bodies will most likely be run by the city council, or an organization run in conjunction with the council, as often these initiatives can be both funded with public and private money. So contact the local council for information on any of these types of opportunities, and they may even be able to inform you of other ones in the city. Other places to check are arts boards, universities, techs, libraries, or even the local papers, as you never know where these opportunities will be advertised, and don’t take for granted that you’ll find out about them just by being a filmmaker.
The next level of funding to look for is regional, be that state, or just a wider grouping of cities that make up a region of your country. Often just like your own city council, they will have funding bodies helping various projects, and often for either cultural reasons alone, or to help facilitate business in the area. There will of course be more competition for this funding, and from many various types of groups, but it’s still an important piece of the puzzle of independent film financing.
National funding bodies are the crème de la crème when it comes to film financing, as this is often where you can pick up decent amounts of money for projects, though as the amount of money increases, so does the competition for it and the amount of work to prove you’re deserving of it. But at its root, it’s dealt with just like the regional and city funding, and in fact, if you’ve gone through the lower rungs first, and picked up funding, it will make your last step of funding easier as your project has already been validated.
The last way to look for funding is through the 100% cultural funding groups, and I mean this as more than just art culture, but more based on the native heritage of your region or country. Now, the very first thing to take into consideration here is that not all projects can apply under this type of funding, as for one, your project needs to be culturally focused enough to justify funding. But if it does tick the boxes, apply, as often this money can help validate your project more than any other, as in the politically correct world we live in, this can have great weight behind it.
Check out Part 2 here! (Coming Soon)